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Prescribing of Gluten-Free Foods


There have been some changes to the prescribing guidelines for Gluten free foods.  The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has written to all GP practices to endorse the use of Gluten-Free foods: a revised prescribing guideline 2011”. 


There are two areas of the guidelines that might affect patients.


The range of gluten free products available on prescription.

  • Coeliac UK says about the prescribing of non-essential food items, that, “We cannot make a special case of support for prescribing biscuits and cake mixes.  They are not staple foods and their use is not consistent with healthy eating recommendations”.
  • Coeliac UK also states that people with coeliac disease should include naturally gluten-free staple foods (e.g. potato and rice) in their diet as well as gluten-free specialist staple foods (e.g. gluten-free bread and pasta)  


The quantity of gluten free products available on prescription, counted in “units”

  • Coeliac UK states that, “the numbers of units recommended in the guidelines should be treated as the norm and should only be exceeded in exceptional circumstances for clinical reasons e.g. if patients are underweight or unable to meet nutritional requirements”   The number of units available for each patient depends upon age and gender.


In order to ensure that the practice is prescribing in accordance with these guidelines we have recently carried out a review of our prescribing.  This will result in a change to future prescriptions for gluten-free foods:


The practice will continue to prescribe gluten-free staple foods including:


Prescribable food item

No. of units

400g Bread


100 – 250g Rolls / Baguettes


250 – 400g Rolls / Baguetts


500g Bread mix / Flour mix


100g Savoury Biscuits /Crackers


200g Savoury Biscuits / Crackers / Crispbreads


250g Pasta


2 x 110 – 180g Pizza bases


500g Oats


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