Which gluten-free foods can I access on Prescription?
If your doctor has diagnosed you with coeliac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis, you might be able to access gluten free staple foods on prescription. If you live in an eligible area, your GP can write a prescription for gluten free staple food which you can collect from your pharmacist, just like getting medicine on prescription. In Scotland, the process is managed through your local pharmacy and in parts of Wales you may be able to access support in the form of subsidy card. You can read about these other schemes here. This recognises that a strict gluten free diet is the only treatment for coeliac disease and is there to support you as the gluten free diet can be expensive and staple foods aren’t always easy to find in local shops. Read more about the importance of prescribing.
Prescriptions policies across the UK
Prescribing guidelines differ across the UK and within England so what you can access will depend on where you live.
Search your postcode using our tool below see what you can access in your local area:
In England, gluten free prescriptions are limited to bread and flour mixes only and some local areas may restrict further. For example, your local area may limit what is available based on your age or other factors like pregnancy. In some places, it has been withdrawn altogether and is available only on a case by case basis.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, anyone with a diagnosis of coeliac disease can access gluten free staple products such as bread, flour and pasta in line with national prescribing guidelines. How this is provided differs between the nations though. For example, in Scotland prescriptions are delivered through your pharmacy as part of the Scottish Gluten Free Food Service while if you live in Hywel dda health board, in Wales, there is a top up card scheme available. All other eligible areas use the GP led approach laid out above.
Commissioning in your area
Integrated Care Boards (ICBs) are responsible for the commissioning of NHS services locally In England. Local Health Boards in Scotland and Wales, and Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland are responsible for local prescribing policies.
In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, prescriptions are free of charge.
In England, most people will need to pay for prescriptions. However, some people can qualify for free prescriptions so it’s worth checking if you qualify. You can find out if you qualify for free prescriptions by visiting the NHS website.
Usually, you will need to pay one charge for each gluten free prescription item (e.g one per type of food. Multiple loaves of bread incur a single charge). The prescription charge in England is £9.65, as of 1 April 2023.
If you pay for prescriptions, it may save you money to purchase a pre payment certificate (PPC) which allows you to pay a set fee for either three months or 12 months. A PPC costs £30.25 for three months or £108.10 for 12 months.
A PPC covers you for all of your NHS prescription costs, no matter how many you need. To find out more about PPCs, speak to your local pharmacist, call 0300 330 1341, or you can order one online.
For further enquiries please get in touch.