Gluten-free products on Dudley prescription cut

The range of gluten-free products available through an NHS prescription in Dudley has been scaled back as part of cost-cutting plans.

More than £200,000 was spent on food for coeliac patients in the borough in 12 months, health bosses say. It included bread, pasta, pizza bases, crackers, biscuits and cakes.

The Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees healthcare in the borough needs to cut £1.4million from the prescribing budgets in the current financial year.

It has now introduced new rules for the amount and range of gluten-free products that will be available on prescription.

It estimates that £20,000 a year will be saved by ceasing the prescribing of gluten-free cakes and biscuits.

Limitations on the number of staple food items people can get per month have also been introduced. Adults aged 19 and over will be restricted to a maximum of 10 gluten-free units per month.

Dudley CCG's accountable officer Paul Maubach said: "Gluten-free products can be very expensive when obtained via an NHS prescription and the products are often considerably more costly than the price of a similar gluten free product purchased in shops.

"In the current economic climate tough decisions have to be made to ensure we can meet the health needs of all our population fairly whilst balancing the books.

"Hence, Dudley CCG in discussion with local GPs and dieticians has taken the decision to restrict the range and quantity of gluten-free products that are made available on NHS prescription.

"We recognise that gluten-free products are more costly than their gluten-containing equivalents from the supermarket and thus remain committed to continue to support gluten-free prescribing in part, rather than stopping the prescribing of all items altogether."

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