With the Department of Health set to publish the outcome to its consultation on whether gluten-free foods should be available on prescription, the British Specialist Nutrition Association has said prescriptions may actually save the NHS money in the long run.

In a newly published BSNA survey of 4,000 patients with coeliac disease and their carers, 86 per cent of respondents said they felt the provision of gluten-free food on prescription helps them adhere to their diet. Dietary adherence could potentially reduce long-term costs to the NHS, the BSNA says.

In addition, 75 per cent of respondents who received a gluten-free prescription regularly access the customer care services provided by product manufacturers – and of these respondents, a half felt that this support was another factor aiding adherence.

The BSNA called on the government to protect patients’ health by maintaining prescriptions, with director general Declan O’Brien saying: “These findings clearly highlight the importance a prescription has in supporting patients in adhering to a gluten-free diet and facilitating regular monitoring and review. 

“It is vital that the Department of Health and NHS England, along with CCGs, recognise and continue to make available essential gluten-free foods on prescription to those medically diagnosed with coeliac disease.”

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