Care for allergy patients ‘inadequate’, report warns

More action is needed to help people with allergies, a new report has found (Yui Mok/PA) Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

There is a “lack” of NHS services available to people with allergies, a group of MPs has said.

Despite increasing rates of hospital admissions for severe allergic reactions – also known as anaphylaxis – allergy services “have largely been ignored”, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Allergy said.

The group warned allergies are “poorly managed” across the health service due to a “lack of training” and only a small number of allergy experts.

“This mismatch has continued despite millions of patients having significant allergic disease,” it said.

In its latest report, which is to be delivered to Government on Wednesday, MPs said there are 20 million people in the UK who are living with allergic disease, including five million whose illness is severe enough to need specialist care.

“Yet our allergy services remain inadequate, often hard to access and are failing those who need them the most,” the report adds.

The group made a series of recommendations including: devising a “national allergy plan” to address problems; expanding the specialist workforce and ensuring all GPs get training in how to deal with allergies.

Jon Cruddas MP, chair of the All Party Group for Allergy, said: “The time has come for the Government and the NHS to give allergy the priority it deserves and to recognise the true burden it can place on those who are affected and their families and wider communities.

“This report looks at the solutions to the problems and makes sensible, achievable recommendations for change. We look forward to seeing them implemented.”

Tanya and Nadim Ednan-Laperouse, founders of The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation, said: “This wide-ranging report highlights the enormous scale of the allergy epidemic in the UK, which now affects one in three people, and the disjointed care that many people living with allergies experience.

“We are particularly delighted that the report supports our call for the Government to appoint an allergy lead – an Allergy Tsar – to implement a new national strategy to help the millions of people in the UK living with allergies.

“We urge Health Secretary Sajid Javid to take action immediately to appoint an Allergy Tsar.

“This is the seventh official report to highlight the woeful inadequacies in allergy care in this country which have been ignored by successive Governments.

“It is now time to take action to prevent further ill health and avoidable deaths.”