An influential Parliamentary committee has called on the government to fund a network of specialised centres to tackle the UK’s ”allergy epidemic”.
The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee warned that allergies cost the NHS in England £1bn a year for medication and treatment. And the cost to the UK economy of asthma, often related to allergies, was £2.3bn a year.
Advice given to pregnant women that they should not eat peanuts was not only failing to prevent peanut allergy, but “may even be counterproductive”, it added.
Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, who chaired the sub-committee which produced the report, said there had been a rapid growth in the number of people suffering from allergies.
Allergy centres could act as centres of expertise, diagnosing and treating patients and helping educate and train GPs and nurses, she added.