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Primary care-based allergy clinics prove cost effective

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A new NHS funded allergy clinic in North West London has proved to be a successful model for the care of people with allergic disease.

This is the conclusion of an evaluation published in the Primary Care Respiratory Journal.

The clinic was run by a specialist nurse and a GP with a special interest in allergy and respiratory disease.

The majority of referrals were for hives or wheals, suspected food allergy, multiple reasons or rhinitis. In total 93% of patients who were referred attended the clinic and were seen within 18 days.

Researchers estimated an overall saving of at least £13,580 to the local health economy - through reduced secondary care referrals - during the first nine months of operation.

The authors suggest that the model provides a pathway of care that supports self-directed care, reduces inappropriate referrals, and encourages care in the local community.

The model could be developed into a clinical assessment service for allergy including respiratory based (asthma) problems. They suggest that the Department of Health should consider rolling out this primary care-based model nationally.

There has been criticism of allergy services in the UK and an acknowledgement that few primary care health professionals have allergy training.

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