A drive to improve services for allergy patients has seen the North West chosen as the UK's strategic health authority (SHA) to take the lead on allergy services, the government has announced.
As part of its role, the North West SHA will promote improvements in allergy services and develop a pilot allergy centre to be used as a model for allergy centres across the country.
The centre will bring together the expertise of all clinicians with an interest in allergies to provide an integrated and coordinated service for patients across primary and secondary care.
The model will ultimately be rolled out across the country in a bid to improve access, equality, patient experience and outcomes for people with allergies.
The appointment of North West SHA and the provision of £60,000 funding to support the pilot centre in its first year are part of a programme of improvements made by the Department of Health. These include the development of National Occupational Standards for allergy and the commissioning of a care pathway for children with allergic symptoms.
Health minister Ann Keen said: "Allergies affect the lives of millions of people in this country, and we are ensuring this important issue gets the recognition it deserves.
"The appointment of a lead SHA to drive improvements to allergy services is a significant step forward."