GPs to be told to stop prescribing gluten-free pizza bases and custard creams in bid to save NHS £17million
- Doctors will be instructed to only prescribe gluten-free ‘staples’ to patients
- GPs had been prescribing gluten-free versions of cakes and custard creams
- NHS England is also considering ban on prescribing bath oils for skin conditions
Doctors will be told to stop wasting money by prescribing silk stockings, bath oils and gluten-free pizzas.
They will be issued with guidelines today stating that NHS patients should be given gluten-free ‘staples’ only. These include bread and flour mixes.
Doctors had been prescribing gluten-free pizza bases, Battenberg cakes and custard creams to patients with digestive disorders such as coeliac disease, which affects up to one in 100.
NHS England is also consulting on whether to ban eight other items including silk stockings and bath oils for those with skin conditions.
Doctors had been prescribing gluten-free pizza bases, Battenberg cakes and custard creams to patients with digestive disorders such as coeliac disease, which affects up to one in 100
GPs will be issued with guidelines today stating that NHS patients should be given gluten-free ‘staples’ only, including bread and flour mixes
Bath oils for eczema and dermatitis cost £15.8million a year while silk stockings and under garments add an extra £1.2million.
Officials point out that patients can buy these items from chemists, without taking up GPs’ time or incurring delivery charges. Simon Stevens, chief executive of NHS England, said: ‘It is essential the NHS should not be paying for anything which has been proven to be ineffective or where there are safer or cheaper alternatives.’
In July last year NHS England announced it would be banning homeopathic and herbal remedies, describing them as ‘at best a placebo’.
Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK, an independent charity, said: ‘The result of the consultation is that prescribing of gluten-free bread and flour mixes should continue due to the high cost and availability.
‘Highlighting the curtailment of prescribing gluten-free cakes and biscuits is a total red herring and sensationalism.’
The guidelines are part of an ongoing crackdown on ‘low priority’ items to ensure there is more money for cancer care, A&E units and mental health.