I wanted to share the link to a survey I received this week from Coeliac UK, which you’ll have received if you are a member. But it’s an important one, so I’m passing it on as well. The clinical commissioning group (CCG) in Sheffield are proposing to stop prescriptions for gluten free food for people over 18 years of age, and they are asking local people for their views.
Coeliac UK are campaigning against such restrictions, but there are many other CCGs who have already taken this action and I suspect it’s a foregone conclusion. However, the consultation is an opportunity for the public to have a say.
The link to the survey is here and it’s open until 20th October.
You can read about the CCG’s proposals here.
Of course, gluten free foods are now widely available, with increasing choices, but they are just so expensive and still three times the cost of regular products. And it’s not just bread that has to be bought gluten free – it’s pasta, flour, oats, breakfast cereal, soy sauce, as well as treats like pizza, biscuits, cakes and snack bars. It’s a long list that makes our shopping bills cost a fortune. And for many people, it’s unaffordable.
I’m not sure that prescribing is the answer though. I’d much rather see a voucher scheme, as as been trialled in York. Even if it was means-tested and I didn’t get any vouchers, there are plenty of people who really rely on the financial support for gluten free food and would benefit hugely.
We also need to see the prices of gluten free staple foods driven down to a more affordable level. I understand that gluten free products are harder to produce, but the prices of many GF staples are obscene. £2 to £3 for a 500g gluten free loaf, instead of 40 to 50p for a regular 800g loaf.
An unusually political post for me, but I feel strongly that something needs to be done, so please take your opportunity to feed into the survey. It only takes a couple of minutes and you don’t need to be coeliac to fill it in.