Health Services,

New services for allergy complaints

Additional services at Latrobe Regional Health’s (LRH) Consulting Suites will make it easier for parents and carers to have their children diagnosed with allergy complaints.

The addition of skin prick testing adds an important diagnostic tool to the Children’s Allergy Clinic which opened in May 2022.

“Almost 20 per cent of Australians have an allergy of one sort or another and Australian children have the highest prevalence of food allergies in the world,” LRH Business Manager, Consulting Suites, Paul Ferguson said.

“Since the Children’s Allergy Clinic opened in 2022, we’ve seen more than 350 appointments from across Gippsland indicating that there is strong demand for a local service. Adding this extra level of diagnosis to what we can offer, will aid our specialists in their work and bring better results for children and their families.”

The Children’s Allergy Clinic is the result of a partnership between LRH, the Royal Children’s Hospital and the Department of Health. The establishment of the clinic, initially as a trial project, enabled further training for doctors and nursing staff in the specialised area of allergy management.

The ‘skin prick test’ is a common tool to aid in the diagnosis of allergies.

Administered by a nurse, it checks for immediate allergic reactions to up to 50 different substances including pollen, mould, dust mites and foods.

“Combined with a patient’s medical history, the skin test can confirm whether a particular substance is causing an allergic reaction. From that point, the doctor can develop a treatment plan that brings relief to the patient and greater comfort to the parents and carers of the child,” Paul said.

To ensure the success of the new service, staff have been recruited and received specialised training to deliver the test locally.

“We’ve employed two additional nursing staff who have undertaken training in Melbourne to bring them up to speed on the test. “By having this service available locally, families will now no longer need to make the trip to Melbourne with all the disruption and stress that can cause. Rather, a quick trip to LRH will see the test administered, results delivered and treatment plan developed. All without leaving Gippsland,” Paul said.

Parents are asked to chat with their GP to arrange a referral to LRH’s Children’s Allergy Clinic at the Private Consulting Suites.

Photographed: Practice nurse Amandeep Kaur with Paediatric nurse Emma Foster and Business Manager Consulting Suites Paul Ferguson.