NHS cuts for gluten free food

NHS cuts to prescriptions for gluten free food are shortsighted … according to Sarah Sleet, CEO of Coeliac UK. And I agree.

Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust has announced that people suffering from coeliac disease will only be able to get bread and flour on the NHS. This is a cost-cutting move – and as we all know, there are financial issues in the NHS at the moment. Northamptonshire PCT has a £40million deficit in its budget, apparently, but not all the savings will be coming from coeliacs (!)

Food available on prescription at the moment includes bread, flour, pasta, pizza bases, crispbreads and crackers, and a few plain sweet biscuits. Prescriptions aren’t free for most people, although buying a season ticket helps – but of course all these foods are hugely expensive in the shops. Many are five to eight times more expensive than standard products, and for many people, these will simply be too expensive.

Cutting availability of gluten free foods is a mistake because if people with coeliac disease don’t stick to the diet then they will acquire other medical problems and need additional medical help, which does of course cost money. People who comply with the diet usually recover and are just as healthy as other people. Making it more difficult to stick to the diet is short sighted, therefore, because it may lead to more medical expenses further down the road …

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Lucy is the mother of a coeliac, and has been managing a gluten free diet for her daughter for 20 years - though, to be fair, she does do most of it herself now...

10 thoughts on “NHS cuts for gluten free food”

  1. Hi just to let you know East Riding Yorkshire PCT have just announced the same cuts ie biscuits and cake mixes.Thanks Gail

  2. Oh dear… Thanks for letting us know Gail. I expect this is only going to get worse as the government tries to cut the budget deficit over the next few years.

  3. I do appreciate that people have different views BUT wait a minute,NHS are at present doing a survey to see how help for coeliacs can be done more efficiently,so before condemning them as being short sited please ponder on this for a mo.
    [1]To buy a >500gramKILO<,so bake 3 loafs a week for a year (78 1kilo bags x £2 = £156.So in my opinion if the NHS gave a voucher to a coeliac pateint for say £500 (dreaming maybe)they would save £592 on that prescrition.In anybody's world a £59200.00 saving on every £1,000,000 is a BIG saving.

  4. Is this sponsored by a gluten free flour firm? I just posted a comment on this site and much has been omitted,bread mix issued on prescription costs app £14 a kilo so bake 3 loafs a week using that it cost’s to nhs around £1092 per year.

  5. Hi D. Kingerley – thanks for your comments. The NHS – like all government departments – is going to have to look for savings in the future, so I guess all aspects should be considered!

    I’m not sponsored by a gluten free flour firm; I’m just another customer. I do accept adverts on this site, to help cover the costs, but the words are all mine…

    I’m not sure what you mean by ‘much has been omitted’, as I haven’t deleted anything, (perhaps there was a glitch?) but I’m glad you took the time to add the information again.

    Do you have a link for the NHS survey for coeliacs? It would be good to get as many people as possible to do the survey.

  6. My full comment here,unless there’s another glit? Hi, Re NHS cut back on Prescritions for coeliacs.I would welcome your views on the following,I used to buy DOVESFARM GLUTEN FREE WHITE BREAD FLOUR (1kg) and make 3 loafs a week.[1] At todays prices (RRP£2.40) but available at ASDA @ £1.79 so 3 loafs a week for year = 78 kilo’s x £1.79 =£139.62,Plus yeast = in round figures £200.00.[2] I now get my GLUTAFIN GLUTEN FREE WHITE BREAD FLOUR on prescrition for free (whoopee)>> BUT<< at what cost to NHS,I still make 3 loafs a week so a 500gramm pack advertised @ £9.10 x 156 = £1419.60 (wow) hopefully the NHS get at least a 30% discount but it still makes cost to them app £1000. If the NHS want to cut their costs to me by 50% They could scrap my prescription and give me a voucher for £500.00, job done,everybody's happy. Kind Regards, David.

  7. I’ve got to say that cakes and biscuits and pizza bases are not essential foods and so I don’t think it can be fair to prescribe them – there are plenty of people who cannot afford ‘treat’ items or even basic essentials like vegetables because they have other illnesses which affect their income. Yet food is not subsidised for them.

    What about prescribing vegetables for those with cancer? Or oily fish for those with depression or arthritis?

    I think one loaf a week per person is more than enough – we dont eat more than that in our household and we live on a very small budget.

    It is perfectly possible to have a heathy diet without consuming bread or bread substitutes, Nevermind shortbread!

    There are many illnesses for which the NHS cannot afford to provide treatment but for which there is NO SUBSTITUTE – I would feel tremendously guilty enjoying my free NHS organic gluten free pizza base knowing that the cost deprives someone else of an esssential treatment.

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