02/10/2007 - 12:34

State allocates $6.6m for allergic reactions strategy

02/10/2007 - 12:34

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The State Government has committed $6.6 million to a plan to help children who suffer from potentially fatal allergic reactions, Premier Alan Carpenter has announced.

The State Government has committed $6.6 million to a plan to help children who suffer from potentially fatal allergic reactions, Premier Alan Carpenter has announced.

Part of the money will go towards the establishment of an Anaphylaxis Service with specialist units set up at Princess Margaret Hospital, Joondalup and Fremantle;

Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by exposure to certain foods such as peanuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat and soy.

The government will also provide specialist allergy training to an extra four to six general practicioners per year, and establish a specialist telephone advice line for them.

Along with this, the government plans to change legislation to allow teachers and childcare workers to give adrenaline in all emergency situations related to allergy reactions, as well as launching a community awareness campaign.

 

 

The full text of an announcement from the Premier's office is pasted below

The State Government has committed $6.6 million to a new plan to help the growing number of Western Australian children who suffer from potentially fatal allergic reactions.

Premier Alan Carpenter said the plan included a training program for teachers and childcare workers to instruct them how to handle an allergy emergency.

The plan followed a review into the management of anaphylaxis in schools and childcare centres carried out by the Anaphylaxis Expert Working Committee, which comprised a team of doctors, education staff, dieticians, community groups and other experts.

The Premier said the State Government would act upon all eight recommendations from the review.

"Anaphylaxis is a severe allergic reaction that can be triggered by exposure to certain foods such as peanuts, fish, shellfish, milk, eggs, wheat and soy," he said.

"The potentially life threatening symptoms include breathing difficulties, swelling of the tongue and throat and loss of consciousness.

"The training program will provide reassurance for parents of children with severe allergies that carers have the necessary skills to deal with an emergency.

"With severe allergies affecting two per cent of Western Australian children, most schools and childcare centres will be called on to manage at least one child who is at risk of anaphylaxis.

"The training program will be developed over the next 12 months and implemented across the State over the following three years."

The plan also includes:

  • The establishment of a Western Australian Anaphylaxis Service with specialist units set up at Princess Margaret Hospital, Joondalup and Fremantle;
  • Changes to legislation to allow teachers and childcare workers to give adrenaline in all emergency situations related to allergy reactions;
  • Specialist allergy training for an extra four to six GPs a year;
  • Establishing a specialist telephone advice line for GPs; and
  • A community awareness campaign.

"In an emergency, people suffering from an anaphylactic reaction need to be treated with an adrenaline shot," Mr Carpenter said.

"At the moment teachers and childcare workers can only give adrenaline to a child who has been diagnosed with a severe allergy, when parents have given consent and staff have been trained to give it.

"Because anaphylaxis can occasionally occur in a child who has not been diagnosed with an allergy, changes to the legislation will allow a teacher or childcare worker to give adrenaline in an emergency situation.

"New legislation will also allow adrenaline EpiPens to be added to first-aid boxes at all schools and childcare centres.

"The proposed new laws will be introduced to Parliament next year."

The Premier said the Western Australian Anaphylaxis Service would be developed over the next 12 months and would reduce the waiting time for a child to see an allergy specialist from nine months to just four weeks.

He said the community awareness campaign, which would initially target teachers, childcare workers and parents, would involve press and radio advertising, mail-outs and posters for schools and childcare centres.

The plan had been developed by the Department of Health, Department for Communities (formerly Department for Community Development) and the Department of Education and Training.

"It was vital that this plan included the input of all stakeholders and I congratulate everyone involved, particularly the Anaphylaxis Expert Working Committee headed by Clinical Associate Professor Richard Loh," Mr Carpenter said.

"No child in WA has died from anaphylaxis and I sincerely hope that this plan goes a long way towards ensuring it stays that way."

The report 'Anaphylaxis: Meeting the challenge for Western Australian Children', including the full list of recommendations, will be available from the WA Health Department's website.

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