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Edenbridge project update – July 2018

Gluten free food on prescription – NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to discuss at Governing Body meeting Tuesday 25 July

User AvatarPosted by Amanda Crawford at 24/07/2017 17:56:22

The results of a consultation held at the beginning of the year, that looked at whether NHS West Kent Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) would stop routine prescriptions for gluten-free products for people with coeliac disease, are due to be discussed at the CCG’s Governing Body meeting on 25 July.

For the past 30 years, the NHS has been prescribing gluten-free products to patients who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. NHS West Kent CCG spends over £100,000 a year on these prescriptions. This started when gluten-free foods were not as readily available as they are today.

With a limited budget and an increasing demand for services, the CCG is evaluating every service it pays for and making decisions about the best value for all its patients. Proposals to stop providing gluten-free products on prescription for people diagnosed with coeliac disease and some other gluten-sensitive illnesses were put to the public earlier this year.

Between June 2015 and May 2016, 9,800 items of gluten-free products were prescribed by the 61 GP practices in west Kent.

There are several conditions which require specialist diets as part of the treatment (for example, lactose intolerance or nut allergies). Coeliac disease and gluten-sensitive illnesses are the only ones to receive specialist diet foods on prescription.

The Department of Health ran a consultation on the availability of gluten free foods on prescription https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/availability-of-gluten-free-foods-on-nhs-prescription

The consultation closed on 22 June. The Department of Health received nearly 8,000 responses (7941) and is currently considering them all. A response will be announced in due course.

Dr Bob Bowes, Chair of NHS West Kent CCG, said: “The CCG faces substantial budgetary challenges. In reviewing our prescribing budget to ensure we are spending it in the most effective and equitable way, we need to decide whether the money spent on gluten-free prescriptions can be spent on other services without having a significant impact on the health of those affected. We had intended to wait for the Department of Health decision but, as a date has not yet been set for this, we are of the opinion that we must have this discussion now. We will, of course, take the findings of the national consultation into account, when they become available.”

The meeting will take place at 1.30pm on Tuesday 25 July at the Village Hotel in Maidstone. An update on the results of the Edenbridge consultation will also be given and the Local Care Plan will be presented for approval.