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Celiac Sufferers Decry UK Plan to Cut Gluten-free Benefits
Jefferson Adams is a freelance writer living in San Francisco. His poems, essays and photographs have appeared in Antioch Review, Blue Mesa Review, CALIBAN, Hayden's Ferry Review, Huffington Post, the Mississippi Review, and Slate among others.
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Celiac.com 11/13/2015 - Celiac disease sufferers, and others in the UK, are unhappy with a government proposal to cut financial support for gluten-free food.
UK celiac patients are currently allowed up to 18 lots of gluten-free bread, pasta and flour a month on the NHS. One unit is equal to a 400g loaf of bread, 250g of pasta or 250g flour or bread mix. Under the proposal the NHS budget of 209,000 pounds a year for gluten-free food prescriptions for gluten free food will face substantial cuts.
But Alison Smith, of the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), says the current system is out of date and unfair. NHS organizations set up by the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to organize the delivery of NHS services. According to Smith, the wide variety of gluten-free foods available in supermarkets and even corner shops these days invites the creation of a new way of alloying gluten-free benefits that will be "fairer for everyone, not just people with celiac disease, so that we can actually share out NHS resources as fairly as possible."
The range of foods currently allowed includes bread, rolls and baguettes, bread mixes, flour, pasta, crackers, pizza bases and breakfast cereals.
The CCGs are proposing to change the allowance to eight units per month of bread, pasta and/or flour/bread mixes for everyone eligible for prescription gluten-free food. The change is needed, says Smith, because gluten-free food is vital for people with celiac disease and gluten-sensitivity.
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