Clincial group considers stopping prescribing of gluten-free products for patients

NHS Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) could stop prescribing gluten-free products for patients over the age of 18.

Tuesday, 13th December 2016, 9:37 am
Updated Wednesday, 14th December 2016, 12:50 pm
Gluten free cakes

Gluten-free bread, flour and pasta can currently be prescribed for patients with a confirmed diagnosis of Coeliac Disease.

However, the cost to the Scarborough and Ryedale CCG is almost £60,000 a year.

The proposed revision to the policy could potentially affect around 240 adult patients in Scarborough and Ryedale who are currently entitled to gluten-free products on prescription.

Those under 18 would not be affected and GPs would also have the discretion to continue to prescribe gluten-free products in exceptional circumstances for patients that are considered to be the most vulnerable in society, such as those with severe learning disabilities or an inability to access or maintain a safe and healthy diet as a result of psychosocial problems.

The changes would bring the Scarborough and Ryedale CCG broadly into line with other North Yorkshire clinical commissioning groups which have already taken steps to restrict the prescribing of gluten-free foods and would save an estimated £40,000 a year.

The Scarborough and Ryedale CCG wants to consider the views of patients who currently receive prescriptions for gluten-free food, as well as the wider population and has compiled on online survey for people to fill in:

Dr Greg Black, family GP and Prescribing Lead for the Scarborough and Ryedale CCG, said: “In recent years there has been a vast increase in the availability and range of gluten-free products in supermarkets and the price gap between gluten-free food and similar products containing gluten has narrowed.

“Given the current financial challenges facing the NHS, commissioners need to ensure a fair use of resources for all patients and think carefully about the things we can and can’t provide.”