Changes in Prescribing Gluten-Free Products

Posted by: julieriley - Posted on:

Across the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) there is an inconsistency in the provision of gluten-free products. As part of the work to harmonise policies, and following patient and public involvement earlier this year, an ICB commissioning statement has now been ratified which states that the ICB does not routinely commission or fund the NHS prescribing of gluten-free products

Therefore, no new patients should be prescribed gluten-free products from 27th November 2023 and all prescribing of gluten-free products should be stopped by 1 April 2024. This does not apply to patients who require low protein gluten-free foods due to phenylketonuria (PKU) for example.

Exceptions – There are a very small number of patients who currently receive low protein GF food on prescription, and they will be unaffected by this change. They do not have coeliac disease but have illnesses which require them to eat an extremely restricted diet for which specialist foods are not available on the high street.

What happens next?
All gluten-free prescriptions (except for those patients who need low protein gluten-free foods) will be stopped from 1 April 2024. Gluten-free prescriptions will not be available for those newly diagnosed with coeliac disease from 1 November 2023.
A wide range of gluten-free products are now readily available in supermarkets, other shops and online. However, the main theme from the patient and public feedback was the cost of these products compared to cheaper, gluten-containing alternatives. Many low-cost foods, including potatoes and rice, are naturally gluten-free so it is possible to follow a gluten-free diet without prescription products.

How will I be supported?
The ICB is developing patient information to support people through the transition period. There is already a lot of dietary advice online that you may find helpful, including Coeliac UK’s Food and Drink Information which gives product suitability for nearly 150,000 gluten-free and mainstream foods. Click here for more information

Further information
Demand for NHS services continues to increase and the ICB needs to make sure that funding is used appropriately and fairly across West Yorkshire. There may be exceptional clinical circumstances where a GP or other healthcare professional believes a patient should have a treatment or a procedure that is no longer routinely available. If your healthcare professional believes that your circumstances are clinically exceptional, and that you should still receive gluten-free products on prescription, they can ask the NHS to pay the costs. To do this, your healthcare professional would need to complete an individual funding request on your behalf.