People are being urged not to miss out on their chance to have their say on whether some foods should be available on NHS prescription.
A survey on prescribing gluten free foods closes at midnight on Sunday February 9. It can be accessed via this link.
Currently the NHS across Stafford, Cannock Chase, Lichfield, Tamworth, East Staffordshire and South Staffordshire spends more than £280,000 per year on gluten free (GF) alternative foods for people who have coeliac disease and related gluten intolerances. This requires GPs to write more than 16,000 prescriptions.
The proposed new policy advises GPs to prescribe gluten-free bread and flour mixes only for children and adolescents under the age of 18 diagnosed with coeliac disease, other gluten-related enteropathy or dermatitis herpetiformis. This is already the policy in Stoke-on-Trent and North Staffordshire.
Dr Paddy Hannigan, local GP and Chair of Stafford and Surrounds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “You can have a perfectly balanced diet by eating food without gluten like meat, fish, rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruits.
“Many people have intolerances to different foods, with nut allergies having a particularly high profile. The standard advice is to avoid food that makes you unwell.”
Findings from the survey will be analysed before being presented to the CCGs’ Governing Bodies later in the year for a decision.