BDA Gluten Free Foods on Prescription Policy Statement

BDA Gluten Free Foods on Prescription Policy Statement

17 February 2016

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) released a new version of its policy regarding gluten-free foods on prescription in September 2015, to coincide with new coeliac disease guidelines produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The BDA, founded in 1936, is the professional association for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation's largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 8,500 members. The BDA is also an active trade union.

Coeliac disease is a serious and lifelong autoimmune disease caused by an abnormal immune response to eating gluten. If left untreated, it can have damaging effects on a patient’s health including an increased incidence of osteoporosis, fractures, some cancers and infertility as well as nutritional deficiencies.

The BDA’s updated policy states that a gluten-free diet is the sole treatment for coeliac disease and therefore warrants the continued provision of gluten-free staples on prescription. The BDA supports the innovative models for the provision of gluten-free foods using dietetic or pharmacy-led schemes. These schemes reduce the cost to the NHS of the provision of gluten-free foods on prescription, whilst maintaining an excellent service to patients with medically diagnosed coeliac disease.

The BDA is delighted to note that the newly updated NICE guidance clearly signposts dietitians and other health professionals towards the BDA’s own Centre for Education and Development course Coeliac disease: an overview of management.

The ‘Implementation: getting started’ section of the NICE guidance advises that: “Commissioners and providers of coeliac services should work together to develop a local service model for coeliac follow up care, which could include access to specialist dietitians, group clinics or pharmacy based support.

 “This may involve developing the skills and knowledge of their dietitians (and other healthcare professionals) in coeliac disease through training, such as attending the British Dietetic Association course, Coeliac disease: an overview of management, or the coeliac section of the Centre for Pharmacy Postgraduate Education's The Learning Pharmacy website (both having been developed in conjunction with Coeliac UK). The NICE resource impact assessment tool can help to inform this.”

The next BDA Coeliac disease: an overview of management course will take place on May 4 2016 in Birmingham. Find out more information about the course.


More Information:

For more information / interview requests, please contact the BDA Press Office or telephone on 0800 048 1714.

Notes to the Editor:

  • Visit the BDA website at
  • Dietitians are the only qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. Uniquely, dietitians use the most up to date public health and scientific research on food, health and disease, which they translate into practical guidance to enable people to make appropriate lifestyle and food choices.
  • Dietitians are the only nutrition professionals to be statutorily regulated, and governed by an ethical code, to ensure that they always work to the highest standard. Dietitians work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media, public relations, publishing, Non-Government Organisations and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government, local communities and individuals.
  • BDA produce free Food Factsheets at

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