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Independents' Day

TV campaign aims to identify 'thousands' with undiagnosed coeliac disease

A TV advert aiming to encourange ‘thousands’ to see their GP about undiagnosed coeliac disease it set to premiere on several channels today.

The advert, which forms part of a wider campaign by the national charity Coeliac UK and is narrated by coeliac disease sufferer and TV acress Caroline Quentin, shows people struggling with some of the most commonly reported symptoms of coeliac disease, such as frequent bouts of diarrhoea, fatigue and stomach pain.

Viewers are encouraged to fill out an online assessment form which, if the person displays any related symptom, has an irritable bowel syndrom (IBS) diagnosis or has a close family member with a coeliac disease diagnosis, prompts them to visit their GP practice for a blood test.

The charity said the campaign, which also aims to target patients via displays in GP waiting rooms, comes as it currently takes an average of 13 years for a patient to receive a diagnosis of the disease which makes sufferers intolerant to gluten.

The odds of developing the disease are one in 100 in the UK, rising to one in 10 for close family members of sufferers. Younger adults and those from lower socioeconomic classes are the least likely to have received a diagnosis for their condition, the charity said.

Coeliac UK chief executive Sarah Sleet said the TV advert, set to air on channels including ITV, Sky1 and Dave, would ‘reach millions of viewers’, and hopefully ‘put thousands suffering with symptoms on a pathway to diagnosis’, avoiding ‘potentially life threatening long term health complications’ as a result.

She said: ‘With half a million people living with undiagnosed coeliac disease we must take radical action to turn around this horrendous situation.’

NICE guidelines on coeliac disease, on which the online assessment is based, are due to be revised in September to help improve management of the disease.

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Readers' comments (17)

  • Oh marvellous, then they can all demand monthly gluten free fusilli and pizza bases on prescription, instead of being redirected to supermarket. The bottomless pit really does have no bottom, does it? When is someone-anyone- going to start saying No?

    Do Coeliac UK have some sort of stake in boosting the prevalence of.....oh, wait a minute....stupid question.

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  • Radical action? Horrendous situation? A touch of hyperbole, no? Anyone would think the charity had an axe to grind. Hardly Ebola, is it?

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  • I dont have a problem with this. About 20-30% of patients being treated as IBS have IBD. Its a few blood tests. Pity the government dont fund such public health adverts to avoid all the looming diabetics

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  • Vinci Ho

    My blood test screening list for prolonged diarrhoea always includes coeliac screen(Endomysial Abs) ,HBA1c, TFT ,CRP, ESR and the fundamentals

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  • This is a piece of nonsense. I've been routinely testing every patient who has any symptoms of any sort for coeliac disease since before NICE issued guidance to that effect, and I haven't picked up a single case of coeliac disease in someone who didn't present with a family history. I am sure the "1 in 100" figure is plucked from thin air and is a huge exaggeration of the actual prevalence of the condition.

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  • I must admit, I've diagnosed a few patients with coeliac whom the old (thankfully) retired ex partners have been tasting as IBS fit many years. So testing is a good idea.

    As as already mentioned, NHS paying for gluten free product is unaffordable. On this logic, NHS should also be providing lactose free food, reduced carb healthy food for diabetics/metabolic syndrome, egg free bread etc etc

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  • Wholemeal bread £1.20/kg
    Gluten free bread £5.20/kg

    Recent holiday, lady with coeliac clutching her loaf to make some toast. Could eat none of the products provided, breads, croissants, cakes, biscuits, cereals for which she had paid the same as the rest of us.

    This is not a fad, but a serious auto immune disease with significant long term risks, and no, I do not have it myself, thank God.

    Some of you are showing signs of burnout with lack of empathy. I challenge you to live on a gluten free diet for a month and check every label for hidden ingredients.

    Sufferers experience severely reduced choice and significant extra expense and it is not much fun. However, maybe NHS provided tokens which could be used to buy staples would be a better alternative?

    Did an audit of the entire practice a few years ago and didn't find any though!

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  • there is no way 1 in 100 have coeliac disease.

    may be that 1 in 100 have gluten sensitivity - VERY different.

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  • 6.15 am
    Lack of empathy>
    ?emotional resilience encouraged by the GMC
    very sad indeed what we are becoming.

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  • The fact that gluten free food may be more expensive is just tough, it's no reason for the NHS to pay for it.
    Without normal food or water, I will die. Is that good enough reason for the NHS to pay my water rates and food bills? No. So people who have to buy gluten free food, it's a pity it is more expensive but too bad, you have to cope with the vicissitudes of life.

    My wife has coeliac disease and we have always paid our way with the special food, we don't expect other people to pay our life for us.

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