Allergies: Food

Health written question – answered on 31st March 2008.

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Photo of Shailesh Vara Shailesh Vara Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what steps he is taking to improve (a) identification and treatment of food related allergies and (b) raise awareness of such allergies in the UK; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of people diagnosed with food related allergies in (a) England and (b) North West Cambridgeshire, broken down by type of allergy

Photo of Ann Keen Ann Keen Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Health Services), Department of Health

We have made no estimate of the number of people diagnosed with food related allergies.

It is the responsibility of local health bodies to commission services to meet the needs of their local population, this includes those with food related allergies. For most patients treatment would involve advice on avoiding the allergen, with the most severely affected patients being referred to a specialist allergy centre.

Following the recent departmental review of allergy services, we have taken action on a number of the next steps identified, including:

asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to consider the development of definitive clinical guidelines for allergic conditions; commissioned Skills for Health to develop with stakeholders a national competence framework for allergy; commissioned the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health to scope the development of care pathways for children with allergic symptoms; endorsed the need for more training numbers for allergy as part of the annual review process; asked deaneries and trusts to consider the possibility of increasing local training posts for allergy; and invited key research funders to note the gaps in the research evidence highlighted in the review.

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