Gluten-free Food Service

Overview

The Gluten-free Food Service is a voluntary service for people who need to eat gluten-free foods as part of their care. This service is available through all community pharmacies.

All gluten-free foods are provided free-of-charge as part of your prescription.

Who can use this service

You can use this service if you:

  • have a confirmed diagnosis of coeliac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis
  • live in Scotland
  • have registered with a GP practice

You can’t use this service if you live in a care home but can continue to get your prescription through your GP.

Benefits

By using this service you’ll:

  • have more control over your diet
  • have more variety in your diet
  • have the freedom to change your order each month so that you can try different foods
  • be sure that your gluten-free food unit allocation is what you are entitled to
  • be offered an annual health check

As you’ll order through your pharmacy, you won’t have to visit your GP when you need a food prescription.

Annual health check

You should have an annual health check with your pharmacist if you:

  • are over 16
  • have coeliac disease
  • are registered with the gluten-free service

During this check, the pharmacist will:

  • ask you questions relating to coeliac disease and your gluten-free diet
  • ask to take your weight and height
  • give you a chance to discuss your concerns
  • check if you’re still entitled to the same number of units as before – if there’s a change, they’ll let you and your GP know

The pharmacist can then put you in touch with the correct healthcare professional if there’s a need for further action.

How to register

If you’re invited to register for the Gluten-free Food Service, your GP or dietitian will:

  • tell you how many gluten-free units are available to you
  • give you a registration form to complete

You’ll need to complete and sign this form. You should then take it to the pharmacy you want to register with and where you will collect your orders from.

After registering

When you take the form to your pharmacy, the pharmacist will:

  • explain how the service works
  • answer any questions
  • give you a gluten-free food request form

They’ll also tell you:

  • how to access these forms for future orders
  • if you’re due an annual coeliac disease health check

Once registered, you must always go to the same pharmacy to order your gluten-free food.

Changing pharmacies

If you wish to change the pharmacy you use for the Gluten-free Food Service, ask your GP practice or dietician to provide you with a registration form. You can then take this to the new pharmacy you want to register with.

Moving locally

If you’re moving locally and can still use the same pharmacy, you’ll need to tell the pharmacist your new address.

Moving further away

If you’re moving further away and can’t use the same pharmacy, you’ll need to tell your GP your new address. This means that they can send you a new registration form.

Moving health board

If you’re moving to a new health board and changing GP, you’ll need to register with a new GP and pharmacist to start using the service again.

Food lists and allowances

Each health board has produced a gluten-free food list showing the items available in their area.

You can view these lists through their websites:

Gluten-free units

There are national recommendations for the number of gluten-free units you can order each month. These vary by how old you are and whether you’re male or female.

Male allowance

Age (Years)Units per month
1 to 310
4 to 611
7 to 1013
11 to 1415
15 to 1818
19 to 5918
60 to 7416
75 and over14

Female allowance

Age (Years)Units per month
1 to 310
4 to 611
7 to 1013
11 to 1415
15 to 1818
19 to 7414
75 and over12

Female allowance during pregnancy

StageUnits per month
3rd trimesterNormal allowance + 1
BreastfeedingNormal allowance + 4

If you feel you need more than the recommended amount, your pharmacist or GP can refer you to a dietitian to assess your dietary needs.

How to order

Before placing an order, you’ll need to know:

  • what foods are available through your health board
  • how many units you’ve been allocated

You must take care not to go over this allowance.

If you don’t use all of your units, you can’t carry these over to a later date.

Placing an order

You must complete a new Gluten-free Food Request Form each time you place an order, even if you’re ordering the same items.

To place an order:

  • choose products from your health boards gluten-free food list up to your maximum unit amount
  • add these to your request form
  • add up the units to ensure you’re within your limit
  • take your completed form to the pharmacy you registered with

Your pharmacist will let you know when your order is ready for collection.

How often can I order?

You can place a food order each month. However, you don’t need to place an order if you don’t need anything. Simply put in an order form the next time you need gluten-free products.

Returning items

If you’re not happy with the quality of a product you’ve ordered, return the item to your pharmacist. They will arrange for it to be sent back to the supplier.

Last updated:
26 October 2023

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