Rising Hospital Admissions for Allergies and Anaphylaxis: A Complex Picture

Rising Hospital Admissions for Allergies and Anaphylaxis: A Complex Picture

  • 28 July 2023
  • News

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has released concerning figures, obtained from NHS digital, that show a steep increase in hospital admissions for allergies and anaphylaxis in England.

According to the provisional data released today, there were 25,721 admissions to English hospitals in 2022-23, marking a significant rise over the past two decades. These figures are alarming and there is no question that hospital admissions have increased dramatically since 2002.

However, Anaphylaxis UK has closely monitored the hospital admission figures for allergy and anaphylaxis on a yearly basis, analysing trends and patterns.

The figures released today need to be interpreted with caution.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, hospital admissions for allergy and anaphylaxis had been steadily increasing from 2013 onwards reaching a peak of 39,734 in 2020.

However, the pandemic introduced unique challenges that affected both healthcare and patient behaviour, which in turn had an impact on the figures.

In 2021, Anaphylaxis UK’s analysis of the NHS hospital admissions figures for allergy and anaphylaxis showed a substantial decline in admissions with a total of 25,561 people admitted for allergy and anaphylaxis.

The decrease in admissions for allergies was largely attributed to a decline in allergic asthma cases. Research studies suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown measures contributed to the reduction in hospital admissions for allergic asthma due to various reasons, including reduced air pollution, reluctance to seek medical help, and stay-at-home advice.

In 2022, the figures once again showed an increase in admissions for allergy and anaphylaxis with a total of 29,650 admissions. However, it is important to emphasise that these figures were still nowhere near the high levels observed before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking these historical trends into account, the latest figures for 2022-23 may indicate a stabilisation in allergy and anaphylaxis hospital admissions rather than a continuous upward trajectory. The impact of the pandemic and associated factors on healthcare and patient behaviour needs to be considered when interpreting the current data.

Anaphylaxis UK remains committed to raising awareness and providing essential support and resources to individuals with allergies and anaphylaxis. We acknowledge the importance of being prepared for anaphylaxis emergencies and knowing how to use adrenaline auto-injectors correctly. As the leading charity focused on anaphylaxis, we strive to empower individuals and their families to lead safer and healthier lives.

While the latest figures raise concerns, it is vital to continue monitoring the data over the next few years to gain a comprehensive understanding of the true trajectory of the allergy epidemic. By staying informed and cautious in our interpretations, we can work together to address the challenges posed by allergies and anaphylaxis and ensure better outcomes for all those affected.