25 September 2023

Funding boost for kids’ allergies

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The Department of Health is to boost its management of allergies in the community after an injection of $4.6 million into a new funding package that will see an increase in specialist nurses.

Minister for Health, Brad Hazzard said the specialist nurses will work at hospitals across the State as part of the funding package over four years.

“Allergy has a significant impact on children’s development, mental health and quality of life, as well as having an effect on their families,” Mr Hazzard said.

“The number of families seeking testing for childhood food allergies such as to nuts and eggs is increasing and these extra specialist nurses will give them the answers and support faster.”

He said that along with the new nurses, $600,000 will be invested to refurbish outpatient paediatric allergy clinics across the State to accommodate additional patients and make the experience more comfortable for children and their families.

NSW has one of the highest allergy rates in the world, with about 5,000 children seen at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network for allergy and immunology services last year.

Chief Executive of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, Maria Said said food allergies affected one in 10 infants and, as there was no cure, early access to appropriate services was vital.

“Many children will grow out of an allergy, but for some, the condition will be life-long and the faster parents can identify it and begin managing it, the better,” Ms Said said.

Mr Hazzard She said initiatives under the package would include recruitment of an additional eight specialist nursing staff for public allergy clinics, with six of those positions to be ongoing.

He said allergy and immunology services in Local Health Districts would also be expanded with additional education and training.

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