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NHS Allergy Services

Volume 540: debated on Tuesday 21 February 2012

A number of reports have highlighted variations in NHS allergy services and a lack of integration throughout primary, secondary and tertiary care. The Department has funded the NHS in north-west England to pilot an integrated model of care, and the results of that work have been widely disseminated. The Government expect NHS commissioners to commission services to meet the health needs of their local population and to deliver improving outcomes for patients.

I thank the Minister for that reply. He mentions the recent north-west allergy pilot, and its report contains a number of recommendations, including improved education for commissioners about the impact of allergy on primary care, and the allocation of additional specialist allergy training posts. How does he intend to act on those recommendations in order to improve services for millions of allergy sufferers?

I am grateful to my hon. Friend, who I know campaigns on these issues and has a parliamentary reception on them later this week. She is absolutely right that we need to ensure that there are improvements in the area, and that is why I can confirm today that discussions are under way with clinical leaders on the potential development of a tariff to cover allergy services and the steps necessary to make that possible. On training places, I can confirm also that the joint working group, on which the Department, strategic health authorities, NHS Employers, postgraduate medical deans and professional organisations sit, does look at those issues and make recommendations about additional places.

What services is the Secretary of State setting up for professionals who have become allergic to his Health and Social Care Bill and to him?

That was a pretty limp attempt. One of the most striking things about this Question Time is how many Opposition Members are yet again suffering from another health problem—memory lapses. When it comes to the Labour party’s record in government, £12 billion was wasted on a computer system that did not work, with which 60,000 nurses could have been recruited and employed for a decade.