The Anaphylaxis Campaign has launched a new awareness programme called Anaphylaxis Information Matters – AIM – to drive greater awareness of the risks associated with severe allergies, which can lead to anaphylaxis and death. In parallel, NICE is launching its new Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Quality Standards (QS), designed to improve outcomes for people with severe allergies and at risk of anaphylaxis.
Currently one in three of the UK population, or 21 million people, live with an allergy of some form and this number is increasing at an alarming rate. Up to 7 million have allergy severe enough to require specialist allergy care. Despite this, allergy services in the UK are massively underfunded, with a wide gap between patient need and service provision. In the NHS, there is an insufficient level of expertise in allergy, with very few specialists to treat patients, just 30 UK specialists equating to one specialist per 700,000 patients.
Dr Andrew Clark, leading paediatric allergy Consultant from Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, explains: “The UK is experiencing a large increase in the number of people at risk of severe allergy. It’s really important for these people to protect themselves. Healthcare professionals should take a full allergy history and, if the patient is at risk, they need referral to an Allergy Centre for a comprehensive management plan and a regular prescription for adrenaline auto injectors. Staying protected is vital and can be done by understanding the condition, identifying the triggers, avoiding the risks and knowing how and when to use the treatment.”
NICE Quality Standards for Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis
24th March 2016
NICE Quality Standards are concise sets of prioritised statements designed to drive measurable quality improvements within a particular area of health or care. They are derived from the best available evidence such as NICE guidance and other evidence sources accredited by NICE. They are developed independently by NICE, in collaboration with health and social care professionals, their partners and service users.
According to NICE, a placeholder statement is an area of care that has been prioritised by the Quality Standards Advisory Committee but for which no source of guidance is currently available. These statements indicate the need for evidence-based guidance to be developed.
- People who have emergency treatment for suspected anaphylaxis are referred to a specialist allergy service
- People who are prescribed an adrenaline auto-injector after emergency treatment for suspected anaphylaxis are given training in how and when to use it before being discharged
- People who have a systemic reaction to wasp or bee stings are referred to a specialist allergy service to assess whether venom immunotherapy would be suitable
- (Placeholder) Ongoing training in adrenaline auto-injector use
- Children and young people with suspected food allergy have an allergy-focused clinical history taken
- Children and young people whose allergy-focused clinical history suggests an IgE-mediated food allergy are offered skin prick or blood tests for IgE antibodies to the suspected food allergens and likely co-allergens
- Children and young people whose allergy-focused clinical history suggests a non-IgE-mediated food allergy, and who have not had a severe delayed reaction, are offered a trial elimination of the suspected allergen and subsequent reintroduction
- Children and young people are referred to secondary or specialist allergy care when indicated by their allergy-focused clinical history or diagnostic testing
- (Placeholder) Diagnosing food allergy in adults
- (Placeholder) Nutritional support for food allergy
Watch #takethekit below to understand the importance of knowing your triggers and the risks of your allergy. Anaphylaxis Information Matters.