Meeting the Challenges of the National Allergy Crisis
A new report from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Allergy and the National Allergy Strategy Group
On October 27th the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Allergy in conjunction with the National Allergy Strategy Group (NASG) launched a report “Meeting the Challenges of the National Allergy Crisis” which calls for an influential lead for allergy to be appointed who can implement a new national strategy to help the millions of people across the UK affected by allergic disease.
The report was delivered to Gillian Keegan MP, Secretary of State for Care and Mental Health outside the Department of Health by nine year old Arlo Gillard Moss and seven year old Monty Martin in the presence of a group of people of varying ages who are living with allergic disease; representatives from the patient groups Allergy UK and the Anaphylaxis Campaign; members of the BSACI and the All-Party Group chair Jon Cruddas MP in the hope that Ministers will pay attention to the growing epidemic and the lack of NHS services available.
Ms. Keegan spent time with the youngsters hearing about their multiple allergies and how they manage their day to day lives and also spoke with Dr Pam Ewan, chair of the National Allergy Strategy Group.
You can read the report here >
NHS Allergy services: what is the problem?
- About 1 in 3 of the population or 20 million people suffer from allergic disease
- About 7 million people have allergy of sufficient severity or complexity to require
- referral to a specialist allergist
- 6 to 8% of children are living with a food allergy
- Allergy services are poor. There is a wide and unacceptable gap between patient need and service provision. At all levels in the NHS there is insufficient expertise in allergy.
- There are only a small number of allergy specialists. This is because few posts are funded and few doctors are being trained in allergy.
- This is because of a lack of funding and priority for allergy. Commissioning for local services is inadequate, often because they are not aware of the need.
- There is a lack of knowledge amongst GPs to ensure that patients are diagnosed or managed in primary care or referred appropriately.
What Action is Needed?
- GPs, practice nurses and health visitors should receive increased and improved training in allergy to improve allergy awareness, enabling them to manage the simpler allergies in primary care and refer effectively
- Undergraduate medical curricula should include increased and improved education in allergy
- Care pathways should be significantly improved to ensure patients receive an accurate and timely diagnosis and are not relying on wholly inappropriate and potentially dangerous alternative testing
- Critical to better care is to increase the body of expertise. The NASG believes that to address this, more allergy specialist posts need to be created and funded in the NHS
- Priority is given to the clinical and cost effective commissioning of allergy services so that patients have access to appropriate treatment