BDA pleased by decision to retain gluten free staples on NHS prescription01 February 2018
The British Dietetic Association (BDA) is pleased that the government has today (1 February) recognised the importance of gluten free prescribing for patients with Coeliac Disease, and decided to retain breads and flour mixes on prescription.
The decision recognises the important role these prescriptions play in helping patients maintain a gluten free diet and avoid damaging and expensive complications in the long run.
Although it is disappointing that some staples, such as pasta, were not retained, overall this has to be seen as a positive decision, given that many local areas have removed gluten free prescribing entirely.
The BDA now hopes those Clinical Commissioning Groups that have already removed gluten free products from prescription will reconsider their policies in light of the government’s decision.
Gluten free products
The BDA continues to believe a wider range of gluten free products should be made available for children and more vulnerable patients who might otherwise struggle to access or afford gluten free foods.
Evidence submitted by the BDA, Coeliac UK and others clearly indicated that maintaining prescriptions was important for reasons of affordability, availability, adherence to a GF diet and the quality of the products available.
Equally, patients with Coeliac Disease must continue to have ready access to dietetic expertise to support them to maintain a healthy diet.
Lisa Vokes RD, Chair of the BDA’s Gastroenterology Specialist Group welcomed the news:
“This is a positive decision by the Government and we are pleased that the Department of Health has taken on board the evidence we submitted.
"While we recognise that CCGs are under financial pressure we continue to believe that the relatively low cost of Gluten Free prescribing is money well spent. Adherence to a strict gluten free diet is the only treatment available for patients with coeliac disease and the long term complications of the disease can be serious.
“We believe that gluten free prescribing can be made more efficient and outcomes from patients improved if dietitians are more closely involved in the process. Dietitians have the real expertise in dietary management and can ensure that patients receive the right products and adhere to a healthy gluten free diet.”
The BDA will now look to engage with the Department of Health as they look at the detail of which products should remain in Part XV of the Drug Tariff. We will also work with our partners such as Coeliac UK to ensure patients are informed of the outcome.
Notes to editor
- The British Dietetic Association (BDA), founded in 1936, is the professional association and trade union for dietitians in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is the nation’s largest organisation of food and nutrition professionals with over 9,000 members.
- Dietitians are highly qualified health professionals that assess, diagnose and treat diet and nutrition problems at an individual and wider public health level. They are statutorily regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), alongside other Allied Health Professions.
- 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. They work in the NHS, private practice, industry, education, research, sport, media and government. Their advice influences food and health policy across the spectrum from government and global industry to local communities and individuals.