Cuts to gluten free
prescriptions by West Lancashire CCG could cost the NHS more in the long run
NATIONAL charity Coeliac UK is strongly
opposing the proposed cuts to gluten free prescriptions for patients in the
region following the announcement of a consultation by NHS West Lancashire
Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Coeliac disease is a serious autoimmune condition caused by a reaction to
gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. Coeliac UK, believes any cuts
to gluten free prescriptions will leave vulnerable patients with coeliac disease
without support which will affect their ability to stick to the gluten free diet; the only treatment for the condition. The potential serious long term health
complications of not maintaining a gluten free diet include osteoporosis,
infertility and, in some rare cases, small bowel cancer, conditions that could
cost the NHS a lot more in the long run.
The National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has calculated that
the cost of gluten free food to the NHS equates to £194.24 per diagnosed patient
per year, making it an extremely low cost treatment that addresses potential
health inequality in the management of coeliac disease due to the higher cost
and limited availability of gluten free food. Last year West Lancashire CCG
spent a total of £71,000 on prescribed gluten free foods for patients.
Sarah Sleet, chief executive of Coeliac UK said:- "For someone medically
diagnosed with coeliac disease there is no choice but to stick to a gluten free
diet, day in day out for life and so access to gluten free staples is critical,
and is not as easy as you might think. The expansion of Free From aisles in
large supermarkets masks the reality of very patchy provision. Research
published in 2015 found that budget supermarkets, most frequented by people on
lower incomes and an essential lifeline in rural communities, stocked no gluten
free food. Gluten free food on prescription is a service providing essential NHS
support to help manage a lifelong autoimmune disease. We are particularly
concerned that if approved by West Lancashire CCG, this policy would result in
health inequality meaning a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable."
Whilst gluten free food staples such as pasta, are 3 to 4 times more expensive
than comparable gluten containing products, gram for gram, gluten free bread is
6 times more expensive than regular gluten containing bread in the supermarket.
"Any reduction in the gluten free prescription services for people with coeliac
disease is being based on budgets rather than patient need or clinical evidence.
The provision of gluten free staple food on prescription is a vital element of
the support offered to all patients by the NHS and it is essential to prevent
long term damage to health," explained Ms Sleet.
The charity refutes the claim in the consultation document which states:-
"coeliac patients can alter their diet to replace bread with naturally
gluten free foods like rice and potato."
"Simply switching to alternative carbohydrates such as rice and potatoes
risks malnutrition with bread alone providing between 10 and 20% of our most
important nutrients such as protein, calcium and iron but potatoes and rice only
providing a fraction of this." added Ms Sleet.
The consultation is running until the 24 March 2017 and the survey can be found
charity would like to encourage all those that might be affected to complete the
questionnaire so that their opinions are heard.
In England, prescriptions for gluten free food are not free of charge unless
someone already qualifies for free prescriptions. Currently 81% of CCGs across
the country allow access to gluten free food on prescriptions.
Do you agree with this? Please let us know! Email us
News24@SouthportReporter.com with your thoughts on this topic!
3 young women robbed by knife carrying bike
MERSEYSIDE Police Detectives, working
in the Sefton area have issued an appeal for information following a robbery in
Southport that took place on Thursday, 16 February 2016.
We are told that at around 1.15am, 3 young
women were walking along Duke Street towards Lord Street. As they got to the
Junction with Shakespeare Street, a man approached them and demanded their
mobile phones. We are also told that the man was reported to have been in
possession of a knife. The man took their 3 iPhones and rode away on a small
grey and black BMX style bike, onto Linaker Street. The offender is described as
being aged between 19 to 20, 5 feet 11inches tall and of large build with bushy
brown eyebrows and brown hair, olive complexion and a short brown beard. He was
wearing black jogging bottoms and a light grey North Face jacket with the hood
pulled up. The investigation is on going with CCTV and witnesses enquiries are
Detective Constable Jamie Dean said:- "The victims in this case are
obviously very shaken and upset and we are supporting them as they deal with
this crime. They have been able to provide us with a detailed description of the
offender and I am sure that someone must know or suspect who has done this. I
would appeal to anyone with information to come forward and tell us. You could
just stop someone else becoming a victim. If someone offers to sell you an iPhone
then please contact us as it may be stolen."
Detectives are appealing for anyone who has any information about this incident
to contact Sefton CID on:- 0151 777 3824 or Crimestoppers anonymously on:- 0800
Crackdown on irresponsible
environmental crime in Liverpool
MAYOR of Liverpool Joe Anderson has
announced a drive to crackdown on illegal dumping and targeting residents that
do not recycle responsibly.
A report approved by Cabinet, on Friday, 17 February 2017, has recommended a number of steps
to improve the recycling rate of 33%. It includes the introduction of larger
recycling sacks, an expansion of weekly recycling services for City Centre
apartment blocks, piloting weekly recycling, work to repair and upgrade the 4
foot alleyways serving 28,000 terraced properties and doubling the number of
teams tackling flytipping.
In addition, the Mayor has asked for an emphasis on tackling residents who
choose not to recycle or manage their waste in a responsible way, or who let
their dogs foul the streets.
It is estimated that 21,000 tonnes of recyclable goods are needlessly going to
landfill each year because residents are placing it in a purple bin or black
sacks rather than the blue recycling bin. Every tonne of residual waste from the
purple bins costs twice as much to treat as recyclable waste, meaning an
additional bill of around £1.2 million per year for Council Tax payers.
Mayor Anderson said:- "While we have made huge progress on improving
recycling over the last few years, responsible citizens are being undermined by
some residents who are putting waste in the wrong bin.
We recently had a case in Old Swan where an entire day's recycling collections
were so contaminated with non-recyclable items that the load was rejected at the
recycling plant. Instead, it had to be sent to landfill, doubling the cost of
processing and disposing of the waste and hitting Council Tax payers in the
pocket. This example shows how the efforts of all the residents who do the right
thing can be undermined by the minority who choose not to.
We have a challenging recycling target of 55% to hit by 2020 and so we
have to think creatively about what we can do. Can we reward those residents
that let us know who is flytipping, whose dogs are fouling our streets and or
are not recycling properly? Should we look at making it compulsory to recycle?
We need to look seriously at these measures and more to encourage and reward
civic pride. I have asked Officers to come up with a series of enforcement
measures that we can use to drive the required change in behaviour in those
residents that fail to responsibly manage their waste and for the Cabinet member
to bring a report setting out in detail the steps we will take to tackle poor
waste management and other environmental crime."
RECYCLING IN NUMBERS:-
► 33% of waste is recycled in Liverpool (2016/17)
► The 18,000 tonnes of green waste collected
► The 21,000 tonnes of recyclable items wrongly placed in the purple bins,
► The 28,000 houses who receive a weekly black sack
► The 196,000 houses who are receiving an alternate weekly collection of
purple and blue bins.
Concern at new restrictions
on VAT relief for disabled people buying cars
THE Low Incomes Tax Reform Group (LITRG)
is concerned at a Tax change which could increase the costs for disabled people
of changing their motor vehicle and leave them unable to change to a more
From 1 April 2017, the Government will restrict the availability of
VAT for the purchase of adapted motor vehicles for eligible disabled users, to 1
car every 3 years. It says there has been abuse of this relief in the past, with
some people purchasing numerous adapted vehicles in a single year, removing the
adaptations and then selling the vehicles on for a profit.
Instead of restricting the relief to tackle the Tax abuse and, as a result,
potentially raising the cost of motor vehicle ownership for some disabled people
who genuinely need it, LITRG suggests HMRC should improve the administration of
the existing relief by gathering and matching data from car dealers and
licensing authorities, using modern technology and then taking compliance
action. This could be largely automated to avoid putting much strain on HMRC's
Anthony Thomas, LITRG Chairman, said:- "We welcome the relaxations that
are planned within the new rules, but these do not go far enough to stop the
lifestyle of genuine users of this important Tax Relief being adversely
affected. We particularly question why there will be an exception to the
restrictions if a person's condition changes, but not for life changes. It seems
unduly harsh that a disabled person should be denied Tax Relief on the extra
costs they incur when changing their motor vehicle, for instance in a simple
situation such as their family having grown so that they require a larger
vehicle. To deny the relief in circumstances such as a baby arriving would seem
to be inequitable."
LITRG is also hugely concerned at the lack of a right of appeal within the new
provisions, thus making
HMRC sole judge of whether a vehicle continues to be
suitable relative to the disabled user's condition. The group questions whether
HMRC staff have the expertise to make such judgements. It is also concerning
that the user will be required to disclose potentially intrusive personal
information in order that HMRC can make that judgement.
Anthony Thomas said:- "The proposals seem very much like a blunt
instrument to prevent abuse, but regretfully may equally prevent genuine users
from obtaining relief; either because they do not qualify, or because the rules
are so complex that they think they do not qualify or perhaps even the threat of
a penalty for getting it wrong puts them off."