For over 40 years the NHS has prescribed gluten-free foods, like bread, flour, cereal and pasta, to patients who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease and therefore need to follow a gluten-free diet. The NHS began prescribing gluten-free foods when products were expensive and difficult to source. Today these foods have become widely available and sold at prices much lower than those paid by the NHS. In this context, North Derbyshire, Erewash, Hardwick and Southern Derbyshire Clinical Commissioning Groups have been reviewing their policies on prescribing gluten-free food and over the period 27 February 2017 – 15 August 2017 sought views from the public and health and social care professionals on the prescribing of gluten-free foods.
The consultation feedback report is available here
Following the conclusion of the public consultation, the consultation feedback report was submitted to the four Governing Bodies of the CCGs for discussion and a decision. These took place in November and December 2017 and their individual decisions all supported the option to no longer routinely commission the prescribing of gluten free foods. You can read more about this here.
Derbyshire CCGs Confirm No Change to New Prescribing Policy for Gluten-Free Foods
On Thursday, 1 February the Department of Health and Social Care published a report which detailed the outcome of their own consultation into the future prescribing of gluten-free foods. In their report the health minister stated that their preferred option was to restrict prescribing to gluten free bread and flour. We published a statement acknowledging the report on Thursday 8 February and communicated that there were no immediate plans to change our local policy. We welcomed their view that ‘it is for CCGs to decide how they commission local services to best meet the needs of their populations’ and announced that our next actions were to make each of the four Derbyshire CCG Governing Bodies aware of the findings of the DHSC report.
All four Derbyshire Governing Bodies have now met and reviewed the DHSC report in the context of their original conversations and their obligation to ensure NHS resources are used equitably and distributed according to the needs and priorities of our local population. The conclusion of these discussions is that we will continue with our policy change to no longer routinely commission the provision of gluten free food supplements on NHS prescription. The Joint Area Prescribing Committee also considered the DHSC report at their February meeting and stand by the original decision.
When the original decision was made each Governing Body committed to reviewing the decision six months post-implementation and when considering the DHSC report each has maintained their commitment to this. As part of this, feedback from our patients, clinicians and other health and social care professionals will be evaluated and presented to the Governing Bodies in autumn 2018.
If a member of the public has any questions about this matter they can contact the Derbyshire CCGs Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) via any of the following channels:
Post: Patient Advice and Liaison Service
1st Floor East, Cardinal Square
10 Nottingham Road
Derby, DE1 3QT.
T: 0800 032 32 35
Text mobile facility number: 07919 466 21
More information about the changes to prescribing policy in Derbyshire is available at any of the following Clinical Commissioning Group websites: