At Last, Gluten Free Food Directly from the Pharmacy?

Last week I went to collect my medication from our local pharmacy in Sainsbury's.

Realising I am a coeliac, the pharmacist handed me a leaflet published by Bedfordshire NHS describing their new system that would enable me to obtain gluten free products directly from the pharmacy.

All I had to do was see my GP and get the appropriate documents from him to start the process.

My GP rejected the system instantly. "You can't just go and get gluten free food without a prescription". "Who is going to pay for it". "You have to be a diagnosed coeliac......oh I see you are"

Obviously the poor fellow had never heard of this whacky, expensive scheme that the NHS had rolled out in Bedford.

This makes me wonder how the communication system works between the NHS and GPs. Is there one? My GP relies on his Manager for advice. Anything that costs money has to be approved, naturally.

I can imagine a Manager type person looking at the new scheme and binning it straight away, hoping that nobodyever asks about it.

I now have to phone the NHS during my working day and discuss this in an open plan office, where the underground communication system runs faster than a rat on fire. The NHS should get one. They are free.

My GP on the other hand has agreed to discuss the matter with his Manager to find out if I, Sainsbury's and the NHS are telling the truth.

I will keep you posted.

9 Replies

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  • brilliant you just can't make it up thanks for the giggle it sounds good I will keep an eye out to see what happens wont hold my breath though.

  • Well Vince, its good news maybe....I phoned the Gluten Free Food department of Bedford NHS and got to speak to a nice lady who said I must have upset my GP and that another lady there who should have told all the GPs about the system and provided them with information packs maybe missed out my GP in the process and apologised and said she would speak to my GP with my consent, which I gave.

    phew.

    I got a better understanding of the 'points' system through emailing her though.

    I always thought that the table of 'points' issued by Coeliac UK and agreed with the NHS was 'minimum' quantities. It's 16 points for my age group. The Bedford NHS Gluten Free Food System has exactly the same points table but the points are MAXIMUM amounts. Sneaky or what?

    If you are an active person you can claim up to 4 extra points, the table states.

    Thinking I was active with my 20 mile a day bike ride, 3 mile lunchtime walk and inline hockey every week, plus some weight training I chanced my luck and asked about extra points.

    I'm not active enough.

    To claim the extra points you have to be a professional sportsperson or a manual labourer. I am a 61 year old design engineer and don't intend to become a manual labourer unless I get made redundant and the only jobs left are picking Bedfordshires famous brussel sprouts.

    I'm not good enough at inline hockey yet to turn Pro either.

    I won't complain if I get 16 points each month(decided by the pharmacist strangely enough).

    My GF food plan:

    10 packs of 2 baguettes is two every three days,

    two bags of flour makes a pie and two cakes each month,

    and two packs of rich tea biscuits with 15 in each pack gives me a biscuit every day except April, June and November.

    February is going to be great!

    Sometimes I might swap the biscuits out for pizza bases. Maybe on birthdays and Christmas.

    Today my GP phoned my wife to say that the necessary ' I certify that Phil Austin's had cameras stuffed up him and his small intestine was as bald as a coot so he's a qualified Coeliac' certificate was winging its way through the post to me.

    So any day now I should be able to walk into Sainsbury's and choose my 16 point GF goody-bag. Maybe.

  • That's all very simple and a certificate to confirm coeliac mmm i want one. On a different note I had to through away my "fresh bread" from the freezer as when I tried to thaw it I noticed it was full of ice cristals and may cause my toaster to blow up. My boy read we may get vouchers instead of prescriptions whatever saves money and time. I'm off to watch Elbow now as all your activities have worn this very old woman out. Go you with the healthy excersise i'm imprest.

  • Don't you have a letter from your gastroenterologist to say you have Coeliac disease?

    Had to think about the toaster thing Vince. Would melting ice blow up a toaster? Probably not.. Steam might hit the elements and hiss a bit. I stuck a fan heater under my car to thaw the engine out once and the melting ice dripped into it. I think a fuse blew, thats all. nothing serious. The water should melt and fall out of the bottom of a toaster if the bread is upright. They have trays to catch crumbs that would also catch the water.

    Enough of toast, lovely subject as it is.

    What area are you in? Seems each area has its own way of dealing with Coeliacs.

    Not sure what Elbow is. Some kind of Quiz show?

    Lastly. Why don't you get a bike and get out? Its great.

  • nope just the one with pretty piccys of my inards!!!! I'm in west yorkshire by the lovely airport and Elbow are a darn fine musical band from bury they were at the glastonbury this year and on bbc6 or7 this fine night. I have the vertigo thing a bike would not be good and we have a busy road

  • Just youtubed Elbow and instantly decided must get a CD.

  • LOL you two have made me chuckle ! That's what this group is all about - sharing info, venting, connecting all spiced up with witty banter.

    We're in the middle of a new project (in our spare time) which might help us coeliacs even more..on that soon.

    Meanwhile..what do you think of resurrecting an idea you raised a while ago Phil eg of mapping which pharmacy's are doing the scheme you are running? It seems pretty bonkers that the NHS isn't communicating and a lot of coeliacs would much prefer the pharmacy method eg we could start marking them on a map and spread the word.

    On the plus side it seems at least you've jolted your GP into remembering you are a coeliac! Did you manage to ask for regular coeliac check ups with him whilst you were there?

  • I had to leave before he threw me out Fiona! LOL . I didn't even dare ask about follow up check ups; he would have blown his stack!

    We all know, dont we, that they prefer to see us as little as possible! Coeliac is a problem that can't be solved with drugs or operations like most other medical problems.

    He wasn't the GP who I normally get to see anyway; he was on holiday.

    Mapping areas that are using the 'direct gluten free food' idea would be good. How do we go about it?

  • Its sad your doc that way out mine is fab started giving me prescriptions after tests didn't have to wait for the dietitian. though i'm sure she is sick of the sight of me as I'm unwell all the time. I'm so gladd the Elbow got you hooled they're just fab.

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