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Gluten free prescribing

We talked to local people about our guidance for prescribing gluten free products in 2016/17.

Prescribing in Sheffield

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group’s (CCG) responsibilities include paying for the medicines that patients in Sheffield receive on prescription. With demand for NHS services continuing to increase and with an ageing population, we are seeing increased levels of prescribing and rapidly rising medicines costs.

Our latest figures showed prescribing in the city is nearly 10% higher than it was at the same time last year and we are looking at a number of areas where a lesser expensive alternative is available, or where products are available over the counter, but the NHS is paying premium prices for them.

We have reviewed prescribing in the city and are making some changes that we think are common sense measures to bring down the cost of prescribing without significantly impacting on patient care. Asking GPs to make changes to prescribing is one of the ways we think we can ensure that spending is prioritised to best effect.

Faced with ever increasing levels of demand, it is vital that we use the NHS resources as effectively as possible in order to provide the best quality of care for all patients.

Gluten free prescribing

Gluten free products can be prescribed by the NHS for people with coeliac conditions. We don't intend to stop that, but we do need to manage the cost of gluten free prescribing.

Gluten free foods are now much more readily available to buy in supermarkets than they were 5 or more years ago. It also costs the NHS far more to prescribe these products for patients than to buy straight over the counter. For example, gluten free bread costs around £6 per loaf to the NHS, but can cost less than half of that in supermarkets. Many foods are also naturally gluten free.

We have received widespread support from GPs around the recommendation to limit the prescribing of gluten free products to 8 units per month per adult patient (non-pregnant and non-breastfeeding) and we have issued new guidance to GPs asking them to take the new prescribing recommendations into accounts.

NHS Sheffield Clinical Commissioning Group

722 Prince of Wales Road
S9 4EU

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