Pensioner with Coeliac disease speaks of woe after cuts mean she will not be able to get gluten-free food on prescription

Valerie Sullivan, 70, is a Coeliac and can only eat gluten free foods. The North Norfolk Clinical Co

Valerie Sullivan, 70, is a Coeliac and can only eat gluten free foods. The North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning group sent her a letter saying they are stopping her prescription for gluten free food which is very expensive in shops and supermarkets. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A 70-year-old great grandmother who has to follow a strict gluten-free diet has been told she will no longer receive the food she needs on prescription due to health spending cuts.

Valerie Sullivan, of Stalham, was diagnosed with Coeliac disease three and a half years ago and said the news was a major change to her life.

From July 6 Ms Sullivan, and similar patients, said her gluten-free products will no longer be available on prescription.

The move by the North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group will save it £125,000 a year- ashealth chiefs seek to find £14.6m worth of savings to plug a budget shortfall.

Ms Sullivan, who lives on a pension, said gluten-free items generally cost three times as much normal products.

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She added: 'I am complaining that I am having the one thing that helps me taken away. It does help me financially. If I can't afford to follow this gluten-free diet I am going to be back and forwards to the doctors.'

CCG chairman Dr Anoop Dhesi said the body was in the process of conducting a 'comprehensive assessment' of all its services.

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One area identified was gluten-free products provided to patients on prescription.

He said gluten-free products were sold to the public at prices that were lower than the NHS was charged when bought for use on prescription.

'It is also not equitable that some people are able to receive a significant amount of food on prescription while others, who may have special dietary needs, are not,' he added.

A CCG spokesman said supermarkets would be notified to expect higher demand of their gluten-free products.

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