In 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) undertook a national consultation on the availability of gluten-free foods (GFF) on prescription in primary care in England. A thorough review of the evidence base, a comprehensive impact assessment (IA) and a fully costed Quality-Adjusted Life Year (QALY) assessment was undertaken as part of the consultation and led the DHSC to conclude that gluten-free (GF) prescribing should be restricted to bread, rolls and mixes for all age groups.
Following the consultation outcome, the Drug Tariff was updated and an amendment to the Prescribing Regulation was made in December 2018 to reflect this decision. This regulation only applies in England.
Has the recommendation regarding quantities of GFF prescribed changed?
GPs are ultimately responsible for the clinical decision making regarding the amounts of GF staple products prescribed. However, local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) policies in relation to the prescribing of GFF often exist, which GPs may use as a guide.
Coeliac UK has long-standing prescribing guidelines for GFF to assist healthcare professionals in the decision-making process, which include recommended amounts of GFF to be prescribed per month for different age groups. These are based on consumption data from the UK national diet and nutrition surveys, the EatWell plate model and the presumption that GF prescribable products may provide approximately 15% of total energy,with the remaining coming from naturally gluten-free food sources.
Following the recent changes to national prescribing policy in England, Coeliac UK has included additional guidance for prescribers in England, based on national data relating to bread consumption.
What does this mean for prescribing in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
Scotland, Wales & Northern Ireland all have their own national policy on GF prescribing, specifically in relation to products. The devolved administrations have sought to understand the implications of this policy change in policy in England, and have worked with the DHSC to ensure continued access to the full list of previously approved ACBS staple products in these countries going forward.
The Coeliac UK Prescribing Guidelines continue to provide the basis for the recommendations around unit allowance in the devolved nations.
What does this mean for Glutafin?
As a dedicated manufacturer of specialist GF products, Glutafin is committed to continuing to provide both products and additional services to help support patients. Our range of bread, rolls and mixes will continue to be available on prescription in all areas of the UK.
In addition, whilst there will be a reduced demand for items other than GF bread, rolls and mixes, Glutafin is pleased to confirm minimal changes to its product range in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
For further information regarding Glutafin products and services, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our careline on 0800 988 8470. Sign up to receive our monthly healthcare professional newsletter and access our professional resources, research summaries and expert webinars by visiting: www.drschaer-institute.com/uk