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Embargo: Immediate Tuesday 27 November 2007
Contact: Owen Williams 020 7219 8659

GOVERNMENT'S POSITIVE RESPONSE TO ALLERGY INQUIRY WELCOME - BARONESS FINLAY

Baroness Finlay, who chaired the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's recent report on Allergy, has today welcomed the Government's positive response to the report.

The Government has taken on board the vast majority of the Committee's recommendations including calls for:

  • The establishment of a pilot allergy centre to bring together and coordinate allergy services.

  • The need for a detailed NICE review of the use of immunotherapy in allergy management.

  • The need for better education and training in allergy treatment for health care professionals - the expertise provided by the new allergy centres would inform these educational programmes.

  • The FSA have already commissioned a review of its advice on peanut avoidance by pregnant women and young children. The Committee urge them to publish their report early in 2008

Commenting Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, said:

"The Committee welcome the Government's commitment to action so many of the Report's recommendations. We are heartened that the Government is giving serious consideration to encouraging a pilot of an allergy centre and we draw attention to the mature proposals for such a centre of interdisciplinary collaborations and co-ordination in the North West. Such a pilot will be the first full integrated allergy centre in the UK and will allow a cost-efficiency and qualitative evaluations to be incorporated from the outset.

"Without allergy centres, the research proposals that the Government has endorsed are unlikely to realise their full potential. The Government response cites 90 allergy clinics being in existence, but these services often operate part time, in isolation and within a single discipline. They do not offer the full range of allergy services such as challenge testing, immunotherapy or paediatric services. Some do not have NHS funding, but are funded by research grants.

"We are glad the Food Standards Agency has already commissioned a review of its advice on peanut avoidance in early life and urge the Committee On Toxicity to report back promptly.

"We also welcome the strong support the Government has signalled in its response to proposals on research and air quality. We emphasise the need for allergy centres to bring together clinical, research and teaching on all aspects of allergy."

Notes to Editors

  1. The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's report Allergy is available online at:
    http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/lords_s_t_select/allergies.cfm

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