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DoH blames primary care over allergy shortcomings

By Lilian Anekwe

The Department of Health has blamed primary care for the ‘very poor' state of allergy services in the UK.

A damning House of Lords report details the DH's refusal to fund more specialist services for allergy – claiming that if primary care ‘worked well', fewer specialists would be needed.

The science and technology committee report, published today, describes previous recommendations for funding for specialist services – which were refused by the Government on cost-effectiveness grounds.

Instead, the DH argued that ‘if primary health care teams… were working well then actually the need for specialist services would be far less.'

The committee also expressed its concern that while the Government planned to ‘devolve allergy care even further to GPs, the underlying problems of training those in primary care has not been tackled.'

The overall conclusion, which reiterates that drawn by a Commons health committee in a 2004 report, was that: ‘Many GPs… are not sufficiently trained in allergy to be able to provide an accurate diagnosis, and some do not know when and to whom to refer allergy services to.'

Representation in the Quality and Outcomes Framework, more allergy GPSIs, a minimum of one specialist allergy centre in each strategic health authority, and funding for trials of complementary therapies were among the committee's key recommendations.

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