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UK Gluten-free Bread Dustup: Forty Bucks a Loaf?

Celiac.com 09/14/2011 - There is a bit of a dust-up over the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers. It seems that either UK's National Health Service (NHS) is being gouged, or that the conservative party had released inaccurate statistics about the cost of gluten-free bread to UK taxpayers.

In the UK, those diagnosed with celiac disease are given a doctor's prescription that allows them to purchase gluten-free bread from stores or pharmacies at cost that is partly subsidized by the taxpayer.

Photo: CC-nyxieThe dust-up began when press reports stated that each loaf of gluten-free bread cost the NHS in Wales £32 (over $40), once the costs of diagnosis and prescription were factored in.

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This prompted a reply by major gluten-free bread-maker Genius Foods noting that Genius supplies the bread to the NHS at the exact same rate as it supplies to stores, and saying that Genius was frustrated by additional charges levied on gluten-free bread that it supplies to the NHS in Wales.

 Genius also said: “Some pharmacies, however, choose to order through a wholesaler, and in these instances the wholesaler can opt to apply an additional administration charge for taking and placing these orders." 

Genius added that: “This handling fee appears to be charged directly to the NHS. Genius Foods does not profit in any way from these charges.”

However, the UK government insists that talk of £32 loaves is incorrect, and claims that the £32 figure came after the nation’s Conservative party read statistics as referring to cost per loaf, rather than prescription.

Welsh health minister Lesley Griffiths said, "The actual cost for the single loaf of gluten-free bread in question is around £2.82, not the £32 claimed."

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5 Responses:

 
Naomi Devlin
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingfullratingempty Unrated
said this on
14 Sep 2011 4:12:52 AM PDT
How about learning how to make your own nutritious gluten free bread and sidestepping the refined flour products that are available on prescription? You can make your own loaf at home using delicious, nutritious flours such as teff, chestnut, buckwheat, almond, brown rice and more!

 
Sarai
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said this on
19 Sep 2011 8:10:54 PM PDT
That had better be the best damn bread in the world!

 
Suzanne
Rating: ratingfullratingfullratingfullratingemptyratingempty Unrated
said this on
20 Sep 2011 3:32:14 AM PDT
This story was actually misinterpreted by a UK newspaper and Coeliac UK created a press release to correct it. They think that the data came from an "average prescription" costing this much, not a single loaf of bread.

This is explained here and includes a link to the press release that the Coeliac UK charity released to try and correct this mistake.

www.coeliac.org.uk/gluten-free-diet-lifestyle/food-on-prescription/gluten-free-prescriptions-%E2%80%93-what-we%E2%80%99re-doing-to-help-you/getting-the-story-

 
Andrew Inglis
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said this on
21 Sep 2011 2:12:25 AM PDT
Some UK Strategic Health Authorities have removed gluten-free products from National Health Service prescription, a move applauded by greedy right-wingers . Celiac disease is just that -- a disease -- and therefore basic gluten-free products like bread should be available subsidized on prescription. Cutting these products is just one of hundreds of cuts forced on the British people.

 
Caroline Coram
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said this on
27 Oct 2011 9:32:40 AM PDT
Honestly, this really doesn't surprise me. We in the UK are suffering massively because of the new skeleton NHS regime being handed out. If I wanted to be diagnosed officially with celiac it would probably take a year whilst they string the other tests out as wide and as far as possible. This bread is good, but honestly it costs just under £3.00 in the shop without prescription. I will never understand why people need it on prescription anyway - that would cost you over £7.00!




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Kaiser offers the full panel, but a primary care MD can not order it -- only a GI. Again, a visual is not needed. Damage is usually severe if it can be seen visually (e.g. Scalloping, etc.). Villi are microscopic though. When you got the referral, you probably should have found a GI on your own by searching through the Kaiser directory and finding one who has some mention of celiac disease in his bio. Too late, but that is kind of how it works. Your PCP does not know the GI docs. The scheduler just makes appointments. So, now, that you have been referred to a GI, you can probably schedule another appointment on your own by passing your PCP. Wait first for the pathologist's report. They might not put it on the patient portal, so get a hard copy for your records. If it is negative and they took four or biopsies, you will have your answer. Then you can consider trialing the diet. If they did not take enough samples, ask for the DGP and EMA tests, including the control test IGA deficiency (which affects 10% of celiacs, but do not quote me on this). You could wait a few years until you think damage is severe enough to find. celiac disease can be hard to diagnose. It can develop at anytime. Don't forget you might have a gluten sensitivity too and not celiac disease. Kaiser responds well to requests in writing. Try the patient portal first before a registered letter. If they are not following the standard level of care, they are at risk for a lawsuit. Be nice. Say something lame in your letter like, "We had such a nice short visit, so I forgot to ask ....blah, blah, blah." My own relatively new PCP is still learning about celiac disease. That is okay. At least she has an open mind.

It is gluten free...I eat it regularly and have had no issues and it tastes yummy. ?

A quick update: I emailed my primary doctor and she is on the same page as the GI doctor, saying the Endoscopy looks normal. Even before we've gotten the biopsy back. By the way, I should mention I'm dealing with Kaiser in the Bay Area, CA and everything I've found about Kaiser on these forums is horrible and similar to my own experience. I specifically asked about all the components of the full celiac panel and that I would like to get it and all she said was: "The lab tests are not perfect. Although they may indicate an increased risk for celiac, they are not as specific as the biopsy." So, now we should just ignore the positive IgG? How am I supposed to know if I'm IgA deficient if they don't test for that? I replied and asked again and she said that Kaiser doesn't offer the full panel. Why not? And I said I want vitamin and iron tests and no reply to that yet.

Thank you so much for all the help and support you have given me. I cannot thank you enough. I am ever so sorry to post again here but wondered if I could check with you about this. When at work, I very rarely get chance to eat a lot and so have always been eating the Milky Way UK bars, which I believe contain gluten or barley. I usually have around 6 of these as they tide me over until getting home. I also have two slices of bread on a morning. I was wondering whether this would be sufficient as I am worried in case I haven't had enough gluten? Thank you for everything and I wanted to apologise for being a nuisance on here.

Thanks Matt I appreciate your response and assistance getting " moved to my own thread" thanks so much. I do have the results of my labs they took and am unsure which labs are which so I will try to attach them and perhaps someone can help me decode them.? Thanks again Heidi