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Shortage of allergy specialists

The NHS is critically short of food allergy specialists with experience of helping children, the British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) has claimed.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said the shortfall meant many young people are at risk of being misdiagnosed - which is particularly dangerous when the number of children with food allergies is on the rise.

The BSACI said many hundreds of people do not have access to allergy diagnosis on the NHS, adding that the picture is unlikely to improve in the near future because of budget cuts.

BSACI member, Dr Nicola Brathwaite, said more allergists and more allergy centres are urgently needed.

"There are guidelines and care pathways which have been developed and are of great value, but the requirement to delivering these is more allergy specialists," she explained.

"Allergists can enhance services directly but also act as a multiplier by supporting, educating and interacting with doctors and nurses in primary and secondary care who make a big contribution to allergy care."

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British Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology