Gluten-free and over-the-counter prescribing


We regularly review the services we commission to ensure we are using NHS funds appropriately and fairly.

We ran a four-week period of engagement about proposed prescribing changes at the end of 2016.

From April 2017, we are advising GPs not to prescribe antihistamines and painkillers for short-term ailments, and to only prescribe gluten-free foods to the most vulnerable patients with coeliac disease.


We have reviewed our prescribing policy for gluten-free food and two types over-the-counter medicines (painkillers and hay fever medicines) when they are used to treat short-term minor ailments.

We ran a four-week period of engagement from 24 November to 21 December 2016, thank you to everyone who shared their views during this time. You can read about the feedback we received in the two survey reports opposite.

Following careful consideration, the CCG is advising local GPs to prescribe gluten-free products to only the most vulnerable people living with coeliac disease. We are also advising GPs not to prescribe two types of over-the-counter medicines – painkillers and antihistamines – when used for short-term, minor ailments such as mild hay fever, headaches, coughs and colds.

The changes were introduced in April 2017.

We have produced patient information leaflets about these changes to our prescribing policies, which you can download using the links opposite. These are also available at your GP practice and local community pharmacist.

If you have any queries about these changes to our policies, please email or call 01225 831 853.

If you have a prepayment certificate for your NHS prescriptions and would like to request a refund because you will no longer be able to use this for the above-mentioned items, please contact Senior Commissioning Manager Joel Hirst on 01225 831 853, write to Joel at BaNES CCG, St Martins Hospital, Clara Cross Lane, Bath BA2 5RP or email

For more information about coeliac disease visit the Coeliac UK website.