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GP allergy clinics can manage half of all referrals

GP-led allergy clinics could take the pressure off secondary care by managing nearly half of all referrals from primary care, say researchers.

A GPSI trained in diagnosing and managing allergy initially appeared able to manage as many as 46% of referrals. After the outcome of the referral was reviewed, this figure was reduced slightly to 42%.

The UK study – presented at the North American Primary Care Research Group meeting in Puerto Rico this week – independently reviewed all cases referred from GPs to specialists for allergy problems at one secondary care respiratory clinic.

Study leader Professor Helen Smith, chair of primary care from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, concluded: ‘The development of a primary care allergy service could liberate capacity in the specialist setting and enable the specialist to focus on more complex allergy problems.'

Secondary allergy care services were criticised as ‘very poor' in a report from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee published last year. They also called more training for GPs so they could manage more patients with allergies.

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