Gluten Free Advice
Gluten Free (GF) foods will no longer be prescribed on the NHS for patients in East Lancashire. Patients requiring gluten free food are expected to purchase these items themselves.
Why have the changes to GF prescribing on the NHS been introduced?
When GPs were first able to prescribe GF foods in the 1960s, the choice in shops was limited. It was therefore appropriate for GF foods to be prescribed. With NHS finances stretched, we have to make some hard choices. We always prioritise based on what is an essential or necessary clinical need. We have made the choice to discontinue gluten free (GF) foods on prescription following a consultation with patients, and consideration of the following reasons:
• A wider range of GF products are now available at supermarkets, health food shops and online.
• Many carbohydrate foods are naturally gluten free, such as potatoes, rice and some noodles. These products can be bought from supermarkets.
• GF products are often more expensive when prescribed on the NHS, than the retail prices in the shops and online.
• Food items are generally not available on prescription for other conditions.
Where can I get specialist advice?
You can get specialist advice on how to follow a GF diet from your dietician. It is very important that you make sure you have the recommended amounts of specific nutrients, such as calcium and iron. Patients are urged to attend annual review appointments when they are offered.
Which foods are naturally gluten free?
There are a variety of foods which you can eat that are naturally GF, such as fruits, vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, eggs, cream, milk, rice, potatoes, pulses and beans. Please see appendix 1 and 2 for a list of common foods that do and do not contain gluten.
Many of the supermarket chains in the area stock a gluten-free range. Some companies that provide gluten-free products include:
Free From, Juvella, Glutafin, Genius, Ener-G, DS-gluten free, Warburtons, Proceli, Barkat.
Some companies offer free starter packs, so you can try a range of products and find ones that you prefer.
Where can I get more information about a gluten free diet and lifestyle?
Coeliac UK is an excellent support group for patients who need to adhere to a GF diet. For more information visit www.coeliac.org.uk.