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Allergy Services

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

9. What assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the specialist allergy service pilot in the north-west. (292236)

The pilot allergy network in NHS North West started in February 2009. The project team is beginning to work with the clinical evaluation unit at the university of Liverpool on “An Analysis of North West Services” to review data about current activity and measure improvements and outcomes.

I thank the Minister for that reply. The pilot for specialist allergy services is very important. I hope that she agrees that the active co-operation of primary care trusts is essential. What are her Government doing now and in the future to get PCTs to buy in to the allergy pilot?

First, may I congratulate the hon. Lady on her gallant fundraising efforts, through which she has achieved so much for the Anaphylaxis Campaign? The direct answer to her question is that it is, again, about commissioning. That is why the pilot and the evaluation of it are so important to us. We are meeting the national allergy strategy group on Thursday and we hope to discuss some of those issues, and in particular that raised by the hon. Lady. Until we have seen the evaluation of the pilot in north-west Manchester, it is more difficult to highlight best practice, which is what those involved are so keen to do.

We recognise that, but it is important that PCTs get the extra funding to provide support for specialist allergy services and for referrals, as well as for the provision of extra knowledge within the PCTs. A hospital such as that in Chorley could be a centre for specialist allergy services, too.

As always, my hon. Friend has raised his constituency and praised it—and rightly so. It is important that we get our GP training packages in place so that there is a first point of call for a patient who suffers an allergy that is not always as well known as some other conditions. We need to look at the training of GPs and of the work force in general.