NHS spends £17 on a gluten-free pizza

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HEALTH bosses in Rotherham have spent as much as £17 for a gluten-free pizza base - four times the original price.

Two pizza bases - made especially for patients with coeliac disease and other food intolerances on NHS prescription - originally cost £8.95, less than £4.50 each.

But after manufacturing, handling and delivery fees were added, the bill for the NHS had risen to £34 for two.

The massive spend was revealed by a BBC Newsnight investigation screened last night.

NHS Rotherham said they had brought spending costs of gluten-free products down from £274,611 in 2009/10 was to £177,153 in 2011/12.

Stuart Lakin, head of medicines management at NHS Rotherham, said: “We are trying to minimise wholesaler delivery charges on these products by switching patients from brands that attract these charges.”

Only patients who are medically diagnosed coeliac are eligible for prescriptions for gluten free products, he said.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said prescriptions encouraged sufferers to stick to gluten-free diets but the area is ‘under ongoing review’.