No More Funding For Gluten Free Foods or Over-the-Counter Prescriptions on NHS

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s Governing Body takes decision on three locally commissioned services

At a meeting on Thursday 24 November, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (BCCG) Governing Body took a decision on the future of three locally commissioned services: specialist fertility treatment, gluten-free foods and over the counter medicines on prescription.

After considering the wide-ranging feedback from members of the public and support organisations, the Governing Body voted,
- in favour of the proposal to no longer fund gluten-free foods and over the counter medicines on the NHS in Bedfordshire,
- to continue to commission specialist fertility services in line with BCCG’s current policy.

The decision was made following a 12-week public consultation that took place over the summer, attracting more than 1,000 responses, on whether gluten-free foods, over the counter medicines and specialist fertility services should continue to be provided by the NHS in Bedfordshire.

Dr Alvin Low, Clinical Chair BCCG and Clinical Lead for the consultation said:

“At Bedfordshire CCG we always put the voice of clinicians and patients at the heart of what we do. We have used the consultation period to ensure that we heard views from the public, patients, clinical staff and support organisations - and those views have genuinely informed our decision making.

However, the case for change that accompanied the consultation remains, we still have more demand on our budget than we have budget to spend. We have a responsibility to do everything that we can to live within our means, and we will regularly review the services that we offer to ensure they best meet the needs of the entire population of Bedfordshire.”

The CCG’s existing policy on funding for specialist fertility treatment was developed in February 2015. Under the policy, the CCG currently, routinely commissions the following treatments as appropriate for couples who meet evidence based criteria:

·        Under the policy, the CCG currently, routinely, commissions the following treatments as appropriate for couples who meet evidence based criteria:
·        1 cycle of IVF, with or without intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
·        Surgical sperm removal
·        Up to 6 cycles of donor sperm insemination with intrauterine insemination (IUI)
·        Treatment using egg donation
·        Egg, sperm or embryo cryopreservation for men and women undergoing cancer treatment which is likely to cause infertility
·        ICSI with or without sperm washing for men who have a chronic viral infection (primarily HIV) and whose female partner does not.


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