Our work on prescriptions

We know that gluten free foods can be significantly more expensive and harder to get hold of than the same foods that do contain gluten; this can be even worse for budget items. 

For this reason, we work with policy makers  across the UK to make the case for support more people to access the gluten free food that they need. We believe gluten free prescriptions play an important role in supporting people overcome this challenge and continue to make the case for provision across the UK.

Supporting a new approach to prescribing

We’ve been working with commissioners in West Wales to support their development of a new model of support for people with coeliac disease. Following a successful trial, it is now set to become an exciting option for all those with coeliac disease in Wales.

Rather than providing gluten free food on a prescription, a pre-paid subsidy card is issued to everyone with coeliac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis. This subsidy card is pre-loaded with credit equivalent to the difference in the costs of gluten free food compared to similar gluten containing food. The card can be used at any outlet that sells gluten free food with a card reader system e.g. supermarkets, local shops, community pharmacies, or online.

The card can only be used to purchase gluten free food but offers flexibility for the user, whilst saving GP time. The scheme is currently available to all Hywel Dda residents alongside traditional prescribing and discussions are ongoing to roll out the scheme across Wales. For more information, check out the scheme web page.

Fighting cuts to provision

In recent years gluten free prescribing has been limited or withdrawn by local commissioners in much of England. We believe gluten free prescriptions play an important role in supporting people overcome the challenges of increased cost and limited access and availability of gluten free staple foods.

We made this case strongly to the Department of Health and Social Care as part of their review of gluten free prescribing in 2017 and as a result they opted to maintain access to gluten free bread and flour mixes on prescription. Unfortunately they left it to the discretion of local commisioners to set more restrictive policies if they chose to and as result we have seen the withdrawal of gluten free prescriptions across much of England. We continue to oppose such restrictions wherever they are proposed.

For example in the case of Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes, we successfully argued for measures to ensure the most vulnerable, including children, are still able to access gluten free food on prescription.

To find out more about prescribing in your area, visit our prescriptions page.