DHSC to restrict the availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescriptions

DHSC to restrict the availability of gluten-free foods on NHS prescriptions

February 5, 2018

In March 2017, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) launched a consultation to seek views on proposals on whether to make changes to the availability of gluten free (GF) foods that are prescribed on NHS prescriptions.

Following the consultation, DHSC have announced that the Minister’s preferred option is to retain a limited range of gluten-free bread and mix products on prescription. This means that GF foods from the following categories will no longer be available for prescribing; biscuits, cereals, cooking aids, grains/flours and pasta. The majority of consultation responses were in favour of this.

DHSC has said that they will commence work on amending the National Health Service (General Medical Services Contracts)(Prescription of Drugs etc.) Regulations 2004, Schedule 1, and then removing these products from the Drug Tariff. PSNC will notify contractors when these changes are implemented. If contractors hold stocks of GF products, they may want to review their stock holding policy on products which will in future not be prescribable.

In PSNC’s response to the consultation, it recognised the financial challenge that the NHS is currently facing and it consequently suggested that gluten-free prescribing should be restricted to the prescribing of staple products for patients who cannot afford or cannot buy gluten-free products in the local food outlets they are able to access.

DHSC has published the formal response document, impact assessment and equalities impact assessment on the GOV.UK website.

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