From December, Somerset are set to cut prescriptions for gluten free food in an attempt for the NHS to save money, Is this a wide move or will it lead to more issues for Coeliacs.
From December 1st the entire county of Somerset will be stopping all gluten free prescriptions. According to the BBC
the county clinical commissioning group stated more than £350,000 is spent on food for people with Coeliac Disease every year, so in order to cut the cost the prescriptions will be dropped.
Coeliac UK are countering the plan to stop and stated that "Gluten free food prescribing is a low cost NHS prevention strategy" and that it "risked longer term costs to the NHS".
There have been plans in place for many months now to drop gluten free prescriptions all over the UK, some counties (primarily Yorkshire) have even trialled using a voucher scheme where the Coeliac sufferer receives a certain amount of funds in the form of vouchers to spend in supermarkets, redeemable against certain gluten free products.
Vale of York trialled the voucher scheme for 6 months with a selection of participants, since the trial we haven't really heard much in how it did and whether it would be an effective way of eliminating gluten free prescriptions, hopefully we will hear more on this in the coming months.
We're not sure whether there is going to be a replacement for the prescriptions in Somerset, Norfolk stopped gluten free prescriptions from July 2015 and never replaced it with the proposed voucher scheme leaving sufferers to fork out for gluten free staple foods they used to get on prescription.
This is sure to hit Coeliac sufferers in Somerset as hard as it did in Norfolk, leaving those on tight budgets with more expensive spending on products they could get cheaper on prescription.
With Coeliac UK fighting the Coeliac sufferers corner it's hard to see where this will end up but no doubt the clinical commissioning group plan on dropping all gluten free prescriptions in the UK eventually in an attempt to save NHS spending, whether this will work is another matter since gluten free prescriptions only covers a small part of NHS spend.
What are your thoughts on the gluten free prescriptions cuts? Are you one of the people that will be affected? Let us know what you think in the comments.