The restriction for prescribing gluten-free foods on NHS takes effect today (4 December).
The government has decided to restrict gluten-free prescribing to bread and mixes only, and to remove access to all other gluten free foods, following a consultation launched in March 2017.
Department of Health and Social Care cited the increased availability of gluten-free products in supermarkets and other food outlets as the reason for change. The annual cost to the NHS of prescribing such items was £15.7 million.
NHS England has issued a guidance for clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) on prescribing of gluten-free foods, along with a Frequently Asked Questions document.
The guidance states that CCGs could further restrict the prescribing by selecting bread only or mixes only. CCGs could also choose to end prescribing of gluten-free foods altogether.
PSNC has published a briefing to support community pharmacy teams on the topic.
A gluten-free diet for life is the only medical treatment for Coeliac disease, a serious medical condition where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue when gluten is eaten.