Gluten-free food on NHS prescription in England

Closed 1 Oct 2018

Opened 21 Aug 2018

Results Updated 19 Nov 2018

We asked respondents 3 questions:

  1. Whether the Regulations would be understood by prescribers, patients and suppliers - 71% of respondents said 'Yes'
  2. If the Regulation definitions would achieve the desired changes - 44% of respondents said 'Yes'
  3. If Regulations would have any unintended consequences - 56% of respondents said 'Yes'

We have published a copy of our full response document and a revised Impact Assessment on GOV.UK at the address, below:

Amended regulations have now been laid. These allow for a maximum of gluten-free bread and mixes to be prescribed on the NHS. The amended regulations come in to force in early December.

It is expected that NHSE guidance to Clinical Commissioning Groups on the prescribing of GF foods will be published before the end of the year.



Our new consultation follows on from the March 2017 consultation, 'Availability of gluten-free foods on prescription.' Our new consultation document is available at the link, below, under the heading 'Documents.'  It explains the changes we are making and provides a copy of the draft regulations.

Gluten-free (GF) foods are available on prescription to patients diagnosed with gluten sensitivity enteropathies, including coeliac disease. The original policy dates back to the 1960s when the aim of prescribing GF foods was to encourage patients to adhere to a GF diet, when availability of formulated GF foods was limited. This helped prevent more complex health problems from developing.


As formulated GF foods (and naturally GF foods including meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, rice and most dairy products) are now available to purchase in supermarkets and other outlets, the policy aim is to make cost savings through restricting the prescribing of GF foods, whilst maintaining adherence among patients to their GF diet and so avoiding detrimental health effects.


Our March consultation proposed options for restricting the availability of GF products on NHS prescription. Following the consultation period and an analysis of responses, the government decided to restrict GF prescribing to bread and mixes only. The majority of consultation responses were in favour of this which allowed patients to still access basic GF foods on prescription whilst at the same time delivering savings to be used elsewhere in the NHS.

Why We Are Consulting

This new consultation provides stakeholders with a draft of the proposed amended regulations and describes the work that will be undertaken to implement changes to GF prescribing.

Stakeholders are invited to consider the draft proposed amendment regulations appended to the consultation document and respond to the questions designed to ensure that the proposed legislative changes are meaningful, fair and inclusive.


  • Charities
  • GPs
  • Clinicians
  • Managers
  • Commissioners
  • Pharmacists
  • Dieticians
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups


  • Nutrition