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Immunotherapy call as hay fever surges

Allergy specialists are calling on the Government to bolster specialist services as GPs are swamped with consultations for hay fever.

GPs have seven to 10 times more consultations for hay fever than asthma, and immunotherapy administered by specialists should be available in more severe cases, according to Professor Anthony Frew, a consultant immunologist at Southampton General Hospital.

Professor Frew was speaking after presenting research on the benefits of immunotherapy at last week's summer meeting of the British Thoracic Society.

His study showed symptomatic improvement of 30 to 40 per cent after immunotherapy in 410 patients with severe hay fever.

A report in 1986 by the Committee on Safety of Medicines put an end to the use of immunotherapy in the UK

after several deaths in GP surgeries. The link between the deaths and the treatment has since been questioned.

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