It seems Dr Cave is not against diagnosed coeliacs having GF basics, especially those who are on small income / in rural area without access to supermarket GF/ several coeliacs in family etc ('vulnerable groups').
He objects to having to see coeliac patients and give prescriptions for Gf basics.
Apparently he has not heard ofthe CUK scheme involving pharmacy prescribing for coeliacs on repeat GF basics, which are such a success in areas where these have been running.
If he had such a scheme for his coeliac patients he would not have to see them to prescribe GF basics, the pharmacy would deal with it & he would not be feeling like 'a grocer' amnymore.
...doctors have been warning about the flaws in the system for years, with a British Medical Journal article in 2013 warning it cost the NHS £27 million in prescriptions alone.
.... Dr James Cave, editor of the Drugs and Therapeutics Bulletin, said: “The issue for us is not so much cost, but, ‘Is this a good use of GPs’ time?’
“They are acting like bakers or grocers to people with coeliac disease.
It just seems like an odd, archaic way of doing things.”....
CORRECTION: This article originally stated that the cost to the English NHS of prescribing gluten-free foods was £116m. This figure in fact represents the cost of all special diet preparations.
Gluten-free foods cost £26.8m. The 211,200 prescriptions mentioned in the article was the 2014 total for all low protein or gluten-free foods, not solely 'junk food' elements as the article originally suggested.
We apologise for these errors, which have been corrected.
...Dr Cave said the NHS must find a better way to support coeliac patients, possibly with vouchers for gluten-free foods.
..Dr Cave’s own GP practice includes a pharmacy which allows him to see where the savings can be made, he added.
He said ‘Sometimes I have to act more like a grocer than a GP when the orders come in and the food stacks up....
...Dr Cave said he did not want to see the NHS stop helping coeliac patients, as the financial burden for the ‘vulnerable’ might be considerable.
‘But it is time to consider the use of food vouchers that could be redeemed against gluten-free foods at any outlet so the supply of food would no longer be a medical issue’ he added....
Sarah Sleet, Chief Executive of Coeliac UK said ‘Following a gluten-free diet enables patients to live a full and healthy life. However, to do so, it is crucial that they are able to access basic gluten-free foods, such as bread, flour and pasta, which are the staples in all our diets.
‘If you are elderly, on low incomes or have mobility problems there is a gap because such foods are likely to be inaccessible. They cost too much or can’t be found in the shops you can get to.
'Prescriptions are providing an essential service for these vulnerable groups.’...
...we agree that we need to find the most cost effective way to support patients.
This is why we have promoted a pharmacy supply scheme which is proven to reduce costs and save GP time....