Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis - Report Released

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) applauds the Standing Committee for the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis for acknowledging the challenges faced by Australians with allergic disease. We thank the many Australians who forwarded submissions and appeared during public hearings.  We send our personal, heartfelt thanks to the families who have lost loved ones who despite that, were brave in communicating their stories so that others might be saved from their ongoing pain.

While we acknowledge the depth of the report Walking the allergy tightrope and warmly welcome the listed recommendations, A&AA is dismayed that crucial sustainability funding for the work that A&AA do around support, education and advocacy was left off the list of recommendations. A&AA is the sole national consumer body with a focus on allergic disease and its essential role in the implementation of Inquiry’s recommendations is a disappointing omission.

A&AA Media Statement 16 June 2020

Parliamentary Inquiry recommendations reflect the needs of people with allergic disease but stops short of recommending much needed sustainability funding for the only national patient allergy organisation

Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) applauds the Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis for seeing allergic disease as a major Australian health concern. The Inquiry, chaired by Mr Trent Zimmerman MP, found that quality of life is greatly impaired because of allergic conditions which range from eczema, allergic rhinitis through to food and insect allergy and risk of anaphylaxis.

A&AA welcomes the report, Walking the allergy tightrope, where recommendations include improved health professional education, improved food service education requirements, further research into many aspects of allergic disease, possible health care card allocation for some with allergies and improved training for many needing to manage potentially life threatening allergies.

Maria Said, CEO of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia, stated, “Moderate to severe allergic disease must be given the attention it deserves as it impacts on health and wellbeing and has sadly led to  needless deaths.” Although A&AA, the only national consumer support organisation for people with allergic disease, was mentioned and quoted throughout the report, the recommendations stopped short of recommending continued consumer education, support and advocacy alongside crucial sustainability funding for the peak consumer organisation that struggles to meet ever increasing demands for help.  

Ms Said commented, “This omission is one that is huge considering the increase in prevalence and complexity of allergic disease has led to more and more Australians and organisations reaching out to A&AA for trusted information, guidance and support.” The consumer voice is central to progressing the recommendations made in the inquiry report.  To continue to progress effectively, A&AA requires adequate funding commensurate with the size of the challenge.

For too long, Australia has been the allergy capital of the world, with little acknowledgement and funding support for the peak consumer organisation that carries the load. This situation needs to change.

Ms Said revealed, “The organisation receives eleven hundred requests for help from Australians each month. People contact us about a range of issues but for the most part, inquiries are focussed on daily management as allergic disease impinges on many aspects of everyday life.  Both written submissions and public hearings confirmed A&AA information and support helps improve management of allergies, particularly food and insect allergies where the burden is huge.”

People with debilitating and sometimes potentially life threatening allergies need help and support outside the consulting room. As there is currently no cure for allergic disease we need to be better placed to reach and support all Australians living with allergies.

The report, which was tabled in Parliament House in Canberra yesterday, reveals there is much more that the Australian government and others can do to improve the everyday lives of people living with chronic allergic disease.  Yesterday’s announcement gives us hope that allergic disease and its management will improve in Australia. A&AA pleads with the Hon Greg Hunt for sustainability funding to enable the organisation to effectively support people in their journey and help, through provisions of evidenced based information, decrease the impact of allergic disease on everyday life. The consumer voice is critical to the successful implementation of the recommendations, and this report fails to acknowledge and fund that voice.

Maria Said

CEO, Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia

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