21 February 2019

Thousands of families will get faster access to allergy testing and management under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government with the largest investment in allergy nurses the State has ever seen.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said the specialist nurses will work at hospitals across the State, as part of a $4.6 million funding package over four years to provide better access to allergy management.

“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.”

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 5000 children seen at Sydney Children’s Hospital Network for allergy and immunology services last year.

Maria Said, the CEO of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, 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.”

Initiatives under the $4.6 million package will include:

  • recruitment of an additional eight specialist nursing staff for public allergy clinics, with six of those positions ongoing
  • expansion of allergy and immunology services in local health districts with additional education and training
  • more food and drug challenge appointments.