Because of spam, I personally moderate all comments left on my blog. However, because of health issues, I will not be able to do so in the future.

If you have a personal question about LI or any related topic you can send me an email at I will try to respond.

Otherwise, this blog is now a legacy site, meaning that I am not updating it any longer. The basic information about LI is still sound. However, product information and weblinks may be out of date.

In addition, my old website, Planet Lactose, has been taken down because of the age of the information. Unfortunately, that means links to the site on this blog will no longer work.

For quick offline reference, you can purchase Planet Lactose: The Best of the Blog as an ebook on or Almost 100,000 words on LI, allergies, milk products, milk-free products, and the genetics of intolerance, along with large helpings of the weirdness that is the Net.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

UK Allergy Patients 'Failed by National Health Service'

With Allergy Awareness Week about to start in the UK, sponsoring organization Allergy UK is turning up the heat on what it sees as patients being put at risk by bad diagnoses and poor follow-up.

A BBC News article reported on the group's claims:

GPs and pharmacists do not know enough about allergies, putting patients lives at risk, campaigners say.

Allergy UK said training on the subject was extremely limited and many people were going undiagnosed.

And the pressure group said even when diagnoses were made, medics often had nowhere to send patients as there were limited specialist allergy clinics.


After listening to the hundreds of people contacting them, Allergy UK believes doctors and pharmacists are too slow to pick up allergies, leaving people vulnerable to severe reactions.

A spokeswoman said: "Doctors and other health professionals get little training about dealing with allergies.

"It means patients are being put at risk."

The charity also criticised the lack of specialist allergy clinics. Many hospitals have some kind of service, but there are just six clinics in the country which deal with all types of allergy.

Doctors appear to give this claim more credence than pharmacists:
Professor Mayur Lakhani, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: "Allergies must be taken seriously and we would like to see a stronger emphasis on training in allergies in both undergraduate and postgraduate medical training.

"At the moment we don't have the facilities to adequately investigate, manage and treat patients with allergies and we would like to see a programme of national action implemented in primary care."

But the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain rejected the idea that pharmacists were not trained enough.

A spokeswoman said: "Pharmacists receive five years education and training, a large focus of which is on allergy."

However, I know that I've read and heard numerous complaints from both dairy allergy sufferers and those with lactose intolerance in the UK. All insist that doctors don't pay attention to their symptoms, don't diagnose them properly, and don't know what information to give. And they lament the poor range and quality of specialty foods, although these have been getting better in recent years.

Allergy UK "is planning to launch a website for health professionals giving information about allergies and the common symptoms." Let's hope that the professionals pay attention.

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