First Steps Women’s Centre

Coeliac disease is a complete intolerance to anything made from wheat, barley and rye. Tina, who has coeliac disease, shares her experience of being in hospital and coping with the limited food available.

“If you have a life-threatening allergy or severe intolerance then it is not a matter of pot luck when it comes to hospital food.

I was recently hospitalised following a gall bladder attack. After pain relief, a change to another hospital and the subsiding of symptoms, I realised I was hungry.

Derek and Tina Thompson

Nursing staff were very helpful in trying to accommodate me, and after much checking, in the end, given the options available, I was offered yoghurt and jelly. 

While this is not ideal, as some yoghurts contain flour, I realised this option was better than nothing, so I accepted.

Given that I arrived at hospital in the evening, I had missed the deadline for ordering meals with the kitchen for the following day. The pharmacy didn’t open until 9 am the following morning to obtain gluten-free bread, so that ruled out breakfast, as gluten-free cereal was not available either.

My husband brought a cool bag with everything I needed for breakfast and there I sat in glorious isolation eating my own food, after the normal breakfast had been served.  Nobody should have to bring a cool bag of food so they can eat in a hospital in the UK or Ireland in 2016.

This is the dilemma:  Food is not readily available, especially if a patient comes in via A & E late at night and staff knowledge of coeliac disease seems scant or non-existent. 

People go into hospital to be made well, the last thing they want to get is even sicker, especially by way of diet. Many people are Coeliac and thousands of others find they get ill from eating flour products. 

I would rather eat “normally” and not present such problems to hospitals, cafes, restaurants, wedding celebrations, funerals, holidays, airports - in fact any gathering where food is served, even at home.

For more information on gluten-free, visit or emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What’s your experience of being gluten-free and Health and Social Care services? Add your comments here

Courtesy of Patient & Client Council

Successful Benefits Checker claims
Since September 2012 £331,745.16

Get in Touch!

esf logo DFE logoDepartment for Communities FR Fundraising Badge LR

Lottery Funded Mid Ulster Council  TEOLogo
This Project is part-funded by the European Union and the Department of Employment and Learning