Health written question – answered on 25th February 2004.

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Photo of John Baron John Baron Shadow Minister (Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what action he is taking with respect to those suffering from allergies; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Stephen Ladyman Stephen Ladyman Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

It is the role of primary care trusts in partnership with local stakeholders to decide what services to provide for their populations, including those with allergies. They are best placed to understand local health care needs and commission services to meet them.

The Royal College of Physicians (RCP) published their report, "Allergy—the unmet need: a blueprint for better patient care", on 25 June 2003. We welcome the RCP report and believes it is a useful contribution to the debate on how to improve national health service allergy services.

The Food Standards Agency funds research on food allergy and intolerance, with particular emphasis on severe allergies, how they occur and what causes them. A large programme of research on food intolerance and allergy, costing around £1 million a year is on-going. King's College London is leading a £2.1 million European Community funded prospective study of the incidence and prognosis of allergy, allergic disease and low lung function in adults living in Europe. Also, the University of Manchester is leading a £1.2 million EC-funded investigation of the prevalence, pathogenesis, treatment and prevention of sun allergy across Europe. Sun-provoked skin reactions are one of the commonest forms of allergy.

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