Calls for the appointment of an allergy tsar ‘without delay’ are to be debated in parliament this afternoon (15 May).
The debate follows ongoing calls from two bereaved mothers – Tanya Ednan-Laperouse OBE and Emma Turay – who lost their daughters as a result of allergic reactions.
In an open letter to Health Secretary Steve Barclay, the mothers said there is now overwhelming support for the appointment of a national allergy lead, to act as a champion for the one in three people in the UK living with allergies.
The letter outlined several points regarding the role of the proposed tsar. One was to work with the government to ‘achieve mandatory reporting of all anaphylaxis events presenting to hospital, to support comprehensive investigation of fatal and near-fatal anaphylaxis events’. Other points included advocating for an increase in specialist allergy clinics, better aligning primary care and hospital services, and mandatory training in allergies for all GPs.
“Appointing an Allergy Tsar who is responsible for joined up health care provision and making allergy services and treatments a priority within the NHS would lead to significant improvements in the lives of millions of people living with allergies in the UK and prevent avoidable deaths and ill health,” the letter stated.
“Now is the time to act. Our daughters’ deaths from allergies were entirely preventable and we have come together for change so that our tragedies never happen again.”
The death of Tanya’s daughter Natasha Ednan-Laperouse led to the creation of Natasha’s Law, which came into force in 2021. Officially called the UK Food Information Amendment 2019, the law requires a full ingredients list to be provided for pre-packed for direct sale foods.