People in Fylde and Wyre are being asked to give their opinions on the availability of gluten-free food from the NHS.
Currently patients in Fylde and Wyre who have been diagnosed with coeliac disease – a digestive condition where a person has an adverse reaction to gluten – are able to access some gluten-free products through a prescription from their GP.
These foods include bread, cereals, flour, oats and pasta, and are dispensed by pharmacists.
Gluten-free food prescriptions began in the 1960s when it was difficult for coeliac disease sufferers to get hold of, however in recent years a wide and growing range of gluten-free foods has become available in supermarkets.
Prescribed gluten-free bread can cost the NHS up to £8.70 for the product alone, with handling and delivery charges adding to that cost. A supermarket gluten-free loaf of bread usually costs between £2 and £3.
NHS Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has launched a survey to find out what patients in the area think about the current gluten-free prescriptions policy as it looks to conduct a review.
Fleetwood GP Jackie Panesar, the CCG’s clinical lead for medicines management, said: “As a CCG, our commissioning decisions and policies are based on five key principles. This means that we will only commission treatments or services which are appropriate, effective, cost-effective, ethical and affordable.
“In order to meet increasing demands for costs of healthcare we are reviewing what we currently commission in accordance with these principles.
“We are always looking at getting the best value for money for our patients and, in an ever more demanding climate, working towards a more cost-efficient way of providing healthcare services for patients in Fylde and Wyre.”
To complete the survey, which will remain open until Friday, 26 August, visit www.fyldeandwyreccg.nhs.uk/gluten-free