Background

For some health conditions, a gluten-free diet can make a significant difference in the quality of life.  People in the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon have been prescribed gluten-free foods if they had a confirmed diagnosis of coeliac disease or dematitis herpetoformis.  In 2015/2016, the Northern, Eastern and Western Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG) spent more than £560,000 on prescribing gluten-free foods.

In recent years, as awareness of these conditions has grown, gluten-free products have become more readily available to buy from supermarkets and online.  Whilst these products can be more expensive than their gluten-containing equivalents, they cost significantly less than the NHS versions.

What we did

NEW Devon CCG wanted to see views on the prescribing of gluten-free foods for adults and children.  We helped to develop a survey along with feedback from Coeliac UK’s Exeter and East Devon group.

Read our report about gluten free prescribing

Read our report about gluten free prescribing

Our findings

621 people responded to our survey.

  • The majority of respondents (63%) were people with ceoliac disease of dermatitis herpetiformis (DH).  Half had been diagnosed within the last 10 years.
  • Two-thirds (64%) received gluten-free products on prescription.  The most common reason given was that supermarket alternatives were too expensive.  The most common prescription foods were flour, pasta and bread.
  • One-quarter (26%) did not get gluten free products on prescription. Over half said they did not agree with these items being prescribed or were happy to pay for them in the shops. Over a quarter (28%) said there was greater choice in the shops than on prescription.

Read our full report to NEW Devon CCG.

Follow-up

In June 2017, following our engagement exercise and their own consultation with GP’s and clinicians, NEW Devon CCG announced their new prescribing guidance for gluten free products.

The new guidance recommends that patients less than 18 years of age should be able to receive a limited range of gluten free bread, flour, multipurpose flour mixes and pasta on prescription.  Patients aged 18 years and over should no longer receive gluten free products on prescription. This decision will bring NEW Devon CCG’s prescribing in line with other CCGS in the South West.

The decision will come into effect on 1st July 2017.  Further guidance on their decision can be found here.


Further guidance

A range of resources for a gluten free diet are available on the Coeliac UK website.

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