What steps is the Welsh Government taking to support development of a single clinical pathway for coeliac disease in Wales?
There are no plans to develop a specific pathway for coeliac disease at this time, but the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has published clinical guidelines about best practice for the recognition and assessment of coeliac disease and the care of children and adults undergoing the diagnostic process for coeliac disease. I expect all health boards to take full account of this guidance in the planning and delivery of services.
We have recently established an all-Wales allergy advisory group, made up of a range of healthcare professionals, to help improve standards and access to the range of allergy and immunology services provided across Wales.
Officials have been working closely with Hywel Dda University Health Board, which has been running a gluten-free food pre-paid subsidy card pilot for people with coeliac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis. The pilot has been looking at alternative means of support for people to access gluten-free food.
An implementation board is overseeing the subsidy card scheme and its rollout across NHS Wales to ensure a consistent approach to the provision of gluten-free products, which will help de-medicalise the condition. This is in line with a key action in the recently published Review of Dispensing Volumes in Community Pharmacies, which found there are likely to be more efficient ways to supply non-medicine items, such as gluten-free foods.
This will allow people with coeliac disease in Wales to access gluten-free produce through a range of outlets, including online, rather than only through a community pharmacy.v