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Craven and Wharfedale GPs to stop prescribing gluten-free food

Craven and Wharfedale GPs to stop prescribing gluten-free food

Published at 6:39am 7th September 2017. (Updated at 6:40am 7th September 2017)

GPs in Craven and Wharfedale are being advised to no longer prescribe gluten-free products.

This decision was reached following a public consultation run by The NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven Clinical Commissioning Group on prescribing gluten-free food, which took place earlier this year.

It means doctors' surgeries will stop providing gluten-free food on prescription for patients of all ages from September 2017.

During the consultation the CCG says over 600 responses were received from a wide range of people, including many living with coeliac disease.

For more than 30 years, the NHS has prescribed gluten-free foods like bread, flour, cereal and pasta for people with coeliac disease.

Health bosses say the policy was created at a time when gluten-free foods were not as readily available as they are today.

In recent years, the range of gluten-free products in supermarkets has increased dramatically.

Dr Colin Renwick, Executive GP and Prescribing Lead at NHS Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven CCG, said: "We would like to thank people for taking part in the consultation and giving such excellent feedback.

"This has been a hard decision that we have certainly not taken lightly; we know this will affect many people with coeliac disease who have received gluten-free food on prescription for a long time.

"However, the NHS is still spending £25m a year to provide gluten-free products on prescription.

"In Airedale, the total annual spend is over £100,000.

"With an increasing demand for services, the NHS must look at prioritising where it spends the available resources to maximise the benefits for the whole population."

The CCG is directing people to advice published by the charity Coeliac UK which publishes an an annual list of naturally gluten-free foods - like rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables - which can be included in a regular grocery shop.