Remember all the brouhaha over prescriptions in Northamptonshire a while ago?
The Northamptonshire Primary Care Trust has now come up with a great new scheme to help coeliacs get gluten free prescriptions directly from the pharmacist rather than via the GP.
When coeliac patients ask for a repeat prescription, they will get a referral letter which should be handed to their local pharmacy in order to register for the new service. Once registered, patients will then select with the pharmacist their gluten-free products using local guidelines approved by the Coeliac Society.
The previous difficulty was a cost-cutting measure; it’s not clear how this new scheme helps cut costs, but it ought to reduce the workload on doctors a bit, and possibly give coeliacs a little more choice over what is prescribed. For example, if Juvela are having a problem supplying enough bread this month, then the pharmacist might know this, and suggest requesting Glutafin instead, rather than having to request a revised prescription – or go without.
How flexible the new system will be will depend on the pharmacist now, who will become the new gatekeeper to gluten free prescribable goods.
At the moment, I take the paper repeat prescription request to the pharmacist, who takes it to the doctor, collects it some days later when the doctor has issued a new prescription, and then orders the goods. (This is an improvement on the old scheme, where I had to take the request to the doctor, wait 2 or 3 days to collect it and then take it to the pharmacist, who would order the goods). When the gluten free bread/flour/whatever has arrived, the pharmacist calls me. I then go to the pharmacist again, to collect the goods. The middle steps will disappear, and therefore the whole process should be quicker, too. After all, it’s only food – it doesn’t need input from a doctor every time.
It will be very interesting to see how this pans out. I’d go for it!
For more, see the Northamptonshire Chronicle and Echo
I’ve written a book summarising what we’ve learnt over 20 years of dealing with the gluten free diet, and it might be just what you’re looking for. It packs the lessons we’ve learned into what I hope is a helpful and straightforward guidebook. It’s available on Amazon, as a paperback or for your Kindle…