Friday, 08 February 2019 11:39

Gluten Free Food on Prescription in the United Kingdom

The Coeliac society in the United Kingdom is one of the best in the world.

They are very supportive and active in taking on the issues that need to be addressed. We export many of our premium products to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and we are delighted with the reaction to our range especially the Cookie Shots, Bars and cereals with a lot of interest in the seasonal Christmas range as well. 

(I have referenced the Coeliac society website for this blog as they are an excellent source of information.  Could I suggest that you also have a look at this article in the Guardian from Lyndsey Jenkins Why coeliacs like me need gluten-free food on prescription as it is a great short read).

Over 90% of British coeliac patients receive gluten-free food as part of their prescription for the gluten-free diet

Sarah Sleet is the CEO of Coeliac UK and she talks about why it is so vital for those with coeliac disease to have access to glutenfree food on prescription.

"Well, this is a very difficult area. Because we know that people find it very difficult following the gluten free diet, they need to have substitute staple foods like breads and pastas and flours in order to make that diet practical. So much of the British diet is based on those kinds of foods.

The problem is that in supermarkets, those foods can cost around three to four times more than the gluten containing equivalent. So, thats a really expensive diet. Over the year that can add up to hundreds of extra pounds on your shopping bill. Thats if you can find them.

We know from research that a lot of supermarkets in the smaller stores or if you are having to budget, shop in a budget store or go to a convenience store then you won`t even find these products.

So, prescriptions play a really important role in bridging that gap for patients and thats why we continue to make the case with healthcare commissioners and healthcare professionals about the importance of access to prescriptions" 

CoeliacUK opt

Here are the key points to note from Coeliac UK:

  • If you are diagnosed with coeliac disease by a doctor, in some parts of the UK you can receive gluten free staple foods via prescription from your GP
  • The National Prescribing Guidelines make recommendations on the amounts of gluten free staple foods you can expect to receive on prescription each month
  • With NHS budget cuts we are seeing some areas restricting or cutting gluten free prescribing but around 60% of CCGs in England continue to recommend that GPs prescribe gluten free foods
  • We are campaigning for gluten free prescribing to remain an NHS support for people diagnosed with coeliac disease.

Your GP can write a prescription for gluten free food which is then dispensed by a pharmacist, the same as the process for medicines. 

 Only gluten free staple foods that are approved by the Advisory Committee on Borderline Substances (ACBS) can be prescribed for people with a medical diagnosis of coeliac disease.

This is an independent body that advise the Department of Health in the UK. The products with the star are available in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales but are not available on prescription in England which is a great pity.  These are staple foods for a greta majority of people with coeliac disease.

approved gluten free foods ACBS

Bread / rolls
Flour mixes
Breakfast cereals*
Crackers and crispbreads*
Pizza bases*

Coeliac UK have a Prescriptible Products list that helps you identify all of the gluten free staples that have been approved for prescribing. They also have an excellent Food and Drink Guide which is updated regularly.

Your dietitian will be able to give you advice on your gluten free diet. If you're newly diagnosed, check that you have been referred to a dietitian. Your GP or hospital doctor can arrange this.

gluten free picture

Are Prescriptions paID OR FREE

Prescriptions are free of charge in the Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland which is fantastic however they are not  free in England unless you qualify for free prescriptions. There is a useful link here to check this out - Prescriptions NHS

In England you are usually required to pay one prescription charge for each item on your prescription. As of the 1st of April 2018, the charge is £8.80 in England.

You can save money on prescriptions if you have to pay by purchasing a PPC or pre payment certificate. You can then pay a set feee for between 3 to 12 months. You can speak to your pharmacist about one, call 

0300 330 1341 or you can buy the NHS Prescription Pre payment on this link. It costs £29.90 for 3 months or £104 for 12 months with a direct debit option of £10.40 payable in 10 installments. 

Thanks for reading the blog and I know if you got this far you would be interested in seeing what we have to offer you from our award winning Gluten Free range.


Last modified on Thursday, 14 February 2019 11:54

Capital and other initiatives in this company are co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Enterprise Ireland under the Border, Midland and Western Regional Operational Programme 2014-2020. The aim of the initiatives was to purchase assets to allow the company to increase productivity resulting in improved competitiveness, and to recruit a key manager bringing skills that are critical to future growth.

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