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Allergy services in Scotland are condemned as “lamentable”

12 October 2009

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Allergic diseases cost NHS Scotland £130m a year, according to a study published in the October issue of the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

It says that compared with England there is a higher incidence of allergic diseases – particularly eczema, asthma and allergic rhinitis – in Scotland, where clinical provision is “lamentable”.

The cost of GP consultancy over asthma alone reportedly stands at £786,000, while more than 4% of GP consultations and 1.5% of hospital admissions are for allergies.

Says Professor Aziz Sheikh, at the Centre for Population Health Sciences at Edinburgh University: “Clinical provision in Scotland is overall lamentable. We do not have nearly enough expertise in general practice or specialist centres where patients with severe and complex allergic disease can be assessed and managed.”

The study looked at rhinitis, anaphylaxis, angioedema, asthma, conjunctivitis, eczema, food allergies and urticaria and drew on national surveys, primary care data, prescribing and medication data, hospital admissions and mortality rates.

Professor Jurgen Schwarze, Edward Clark Professor of Child Life and Health at Edinburgh, said: “Scotland urgently needs additional investment into sustainable and equitable allergy services in order to ensure those suffering from allergies receive care at the level appropriate to their clinical need in primary, secondary or tertiary care.”

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Centre for Population Health Sciences