Anger as NHS foods axed

Coeliac disease sufferer Dmytro Branwell is angry that he will be no longer able to receive gluten free products on prescription
Coeliac disease sufferer Dmytro Branwell is angry that he will be no longer able to receive gluten free products on prescription

A Mansfield man with coeliac disease has hit out at the NHS after being told the special foods he needs are no longer available on prescription.

Prescriptions for gluten-free products were stopped by the NHS earlier this year.

But 49-year-old Dmytro Branwell, of Hickling Court, also has type one diabetes and said he relied on his prescription of gluten0free food.

Dmytro said: “It has been running around in my head.

“To me its diabolical, they think it is a luxury. They took it off because they reckon I can pay for it in a supermarket.

“For the last 20 years, I have been unemployed on the sick. If I have any flour it makes me ill and I could end up in hospital.

“On the outside people look at me and think I am alright.

“What they don’t realise is it takes over my life.

“It is not something you can sweep under the carpet.

“I can’t afford products they sell in the shops because of the cost. I priced up that I need £45 worth or bread products a fortnight.

“It is a need, I need the stuff, this is what they don’t realise. There must be loads of people in the same boat.”

Coeliac disease is a common digestive condition where the small intestine becomes inflamed and unable to absorb nutrients.

It can cause a range of symptoms, including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and bloating.

It is caused by an adverse reaction to gluten, a dietary protein found in cereal, wheat, barley and rye.

The NHS have made the cuts in an effort to reduce £1  billion of costs in the health service, which is says is struggling to cope with a surge in demand caused by a rising population.

Simon Stevens, NHS England chief executive, said: “Part of what we are trying to do is to make sure we make enough headroom to spend money on the innovative new drugs by not wasting it on these kind of items.

“There’s no doubt coeliac disease is an important medical condition that’s increasingly being recognised.

“The price of gluten-free alternatives has come down substantially.

“When you look at the list of prescribable items, it extends to digestive biscuits, pizzas and other products – there are questions to be answered.”