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Allergy Awareness Week 2024

This Allergy Awareness Week we have written an open letter to political party leaders to call on them to listen to the allergic community’s voice and our message: allergies are #toobigtoignore.

We know the impact of allergic diseases and unless there is government intervention, we are standing at the precipice of a public health crisis that will needlessly blight the lives of many.

Our open letter urgently calls upon our leaders to address the allergy crisis, emphasising the need for decisive action to prevent the escalation of allergic conditions.  Read the letter below.

Will you add your name to the open letter?

A united voice is essential for progress and to bring about change. Together, let’s urge the government to prioritise working towards solutions for those living with allergies now.

Thank you for your support.

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Dear all party leaders,

The allergic community has endured far too many challenges for far too long. Whether it’s the struggle to access specialised allergy clinics, the frustration of being seen by primary care clinicians who, through no fault of their own, lack the training or resources to manage allergies effectively, or the ongoing battle against a society that fails to grasp the seriousness of allergic conditions, the time for change is now. This year’s Allergy Awareness Week carries a powerful theme: “Too Big to Ignore.” It’s a rallying cry for action, and with this we are calling on our political leaders to address the pressing issue of allergies before it reaches a tipping point.

There are over 21 million individuals in the UK living with allergies. In 2022, allergy emerged as the most reported chronic health condition in the UK. The UK ranks in the top three globally for the highest incidence of allergies, second for allergic eczema and shares the top spot with Sweden for the highest incidence for hay fever. By 2026, it’s projected that one in two Europeans will suffer from at least one allergy.

We frequently hear from ministers that the majority of services for individuals with allergies are commissioned through Integrated Care Boards (ICBs). This, we are told, is because they are deemed best placed to commission services that meet local needs. However, evidence obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request in 2023 reveals a stark reality: only 7% of the responding ICBs possessed accurate data on allergy diagnoses of their patients. This dearth of accurate prevalence data and centralised diagnosis tracking for allergic diseases is in direct contrast to what is in place for other lifelong chronic diseases such as diabetes. Furthermore, this lack of insight severely impacts our health system’s ability to plan and allocate resources effectively to accommodate the growing influx of allergy patients.

The UK Government must recognise these issues and develop a clear plan to improve the provision of care for people with allergies. Action must be taken now to tackle the increasing prevalence of allergies before it becomes critical. A multifaceted approach must be adopted which can involve:

  • Commissioning allergy nurses and dietitians in each integrated care system to ensure those living with allergies can access specialist care, irrespective of their location or financial circumstances.
  • Establishing a centralised system for data collection and analysis to enable more efficient resource allocation and healthcare services.
  • Investing in research and innovation to enhance the scientific and medical communities understanding of allergies and develop effective treatments.
  • Work with all industries especially food and travel, and education partners to guarantee allergy education in school and working environments. This will help deliver a safer and more equitable environment for those affected by allergic disease.

These measures will all mitigate the personal, social and economic consequences of the rising tide of allergies whilst addressing the crisis of allergy services in an already overstretched NHS.

As we advocate for change during this year’s Allergy Awareness Week, we must remember that behind every statistic and data point, there are countless personal stories of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. The immense human cost of allergies underscores the necessity of decisive action.

As we enter an election period, we urge our political leaders to prioritise meaningful dialogue with representatives from allergy organisations. For too long, the serious impacts of allergies have been overlooked and sidelined. It is time for a collaborative approach that brings all stakeholders to the table to determine concrete actions that can be taken over the next term.”

Kind regards,

Simone Miles
Chief Executive Officer, Allergy UK

We extend our gratitude to the individuals and organisations who have joined us in signing our open letter.

  • Anaphylaxis UK
  • The Natasha Allergy Research Foundation
  • Benedict Blythe Foundation
  • Owen’s Law
  • British Society for Allergy & Clinical Immunology
  • ALK-Abelló
  • Professor Adam Fox, Professor in Paediatric Allergy
  • National Eczema Society
  • Haymax
  • Amy May Trust
  • National Allergy Strategy Group
  • The Baxendale Family
  • The British Society for Immunology Clinical Professional Immunology Network
  • The Allergy Team

What can you do?

Get involved and support Allergy UK’s Awareness Weeks with our campaign resources available to download. From sharing a post on social media, organising a fundraising event, or simply educating yourself and others about allergies, every action counts in making a positive impact. We’ve got everything you need to help make it as fun and easy as possible!

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Fundraise this Allergy Awareness Week

Donations really do help us maintain vital services – such as our Helpline – to support those living with allergies. This Allergy Awareness Week please consider making a donation; every donation can make a difference.

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