A new online resource has been developed in the North West to help clinicians, parents and children themselves with a range of information about allergies.
It has been set up by the North West Paediatric Allergy Network (NWPAN), which comprises nurses, doctors, dieticians, patients and charities to provide information on allergies in children.
“The resources and information available, such as FAQs and access to healthcare professionals, helps empower patients”
According to the network, an estimated one in four children, or nearly 400,000, in the region have allergy diseases, with levels of perceived allergy double this number.
It said the new NWPAN website had been created by gathering accurate local information, with dedicated resources for both families and healthcare professionals.
The information provided includes frequently asked questions for parents on allergies and detailed support on how to safely use medicine, such as inhalers and adrenaline pens.
The site, which is one of eight developed as part of the Royal College of Physicians’ Future Hospital Programme, features both a “patient zone” and a “health professional zone”.
NWPAN chair Dr Peter Arkwright said: “Working closely with parents has been really important in making sure the network addresses the very real concerns that families have regarding allergies.
“The resources and information available, such as FAQs and access to healthcare professionals, helps empower patients in taking control of their allergy journey,” he said.
“We are delighted NWPAN has been able to launch this new online resource to support people with allergies”
Elaine Ward, deputy chief executive of the Anaphylaxis Campaign, said: “We are delighted that the NWPAN has been able to launch this new online resource to support people living with allergies, their families and healthcare professionals.
“We believe that collaboration to encourage greater awareness and education about the risks of anaphylaxis is vital,” she added.
Dr John Dean, the RCP’s clinical lead for quality improvement and patient safety, said: ”Having an allergy can significantly impact on both a child’s and parents’ life, but more than half of children who are thought to have an allergy to foods or medicines don’t.
“This network resource can provide help to all parents and children in the North West and help manage any allergy and put to rest any worries or concerns,” he noted.
NWPAN is a pioneering collaboration between nurses and doctors arising out of a proposal submitted in 2008 to NHS commissioners on the back of a parliamentary report on allergy.
The network incorporates healthcare professionals and parents with an interest in allergy from across the North West, covering seven trusts in England and one health board in Wales.
It aims to provide evidence-based healthcare for children with allergies in the North West by “educating and empowering” health professionals at all levels and developing more effective prevention and treatment strategies.