NNUH launches new paediatric-led allergy service in the community
A new multi-disciplinary paediatric-led allergy service has been introduced which, for the first time, offers a one-stop-shop for the diagnosis and management of food allergies in young patients.
The clinics, which started last month, have been taken into the community and are based at the Chet Valley Medical Practice in Loddon, following collaborations between consultants, dietitians, nurses and managers to deliver the new, high-quality service.
Dr Alex Brightwell, Consultant Paediatrician leading the project, said: “The aim of our new service is to improve the care of children with allergies in Norfolk right from first contact with a health professional.
“So now, instead of children coming to see their consultant and then having a separate appointment with a dietitian and a separate appointments for asthma management, adrenaline pen training and so on, they will have all their allergy needs met in one clinic.”
The clinic includes specialist allergy dietitians and a clinical nurse specialist in paediatric allergy.
Children who come to see their consultant will have their allergy testing carried out by the nurse specialist and if they need dietary advice, they will see the dietitian, and can also have their asthma and inhaler technique reviewed and training on adrenaline auto-injectors.
Dr Brightwell said: “We now have a much more joined-up service which is great news for children and families at what can be a very worrying time. The feedback so far has been very positive, patients have found the clinic easy to find and parking is easy. We are really proud to be developing this important service for NNUH which aligns with the national agenda for integrated care and improving patient experience.”
Sarah Witcomb, mother of Stanley, was referred to the clinic in Loddon, after the eight-month-old had allergic reactions after breastfeeding, including eczema, hives, swollen lips and an upset tummy, in response to certain foods his mum had eaten.
Stanley was diagnosed with non-IgE-mediated food allergy where reactions often appear several hours or days after the food is eaten and can cause symptoms over a longer period, such as eczema and diarrhoea.
Sarah said: “It was a massive relief when the Loddon clinic opened. We were able to speak with a nurse and talk through Stanley’s history, because we had so many unanswered questions.
“Then Dr Brightwell explained all about allergies and what was happening and then speak with a dietitian and put a plan in place for the future.
“It is fantastic to have this all in one place – before it opened Stanley needed to have lots of appointments.
“He is now drinking a special formula milk and we are slowly introducing new foods into his diet. He is so much better.”
Sarah and Stanley Witcomb