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why are so many GPs and HVs so unhelpful/ignorant re allergies

(23 Posts)
babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 08:32:35

is it lack of knowledge?

is it budgetary considerations - nutramigen v expensive to prescribe as are referrals to consultants ....?

maybe it was just my GPs and HVs although reading posts on this topic it sadly does not seem to be so ....

Bilbomum Wed 28-Oct-09 10:50:03

Hi babybarrister, unfortunately I think a lot of us get written off as paranoid mothers. Luckily we were already being treated by dermatology at our local hospital who treated my worries when weaning seriously straight away so we avoided the HV route. However when ds developed severe eczema at 6 weeks the GP and HV said there was no link with food allergies which was total rubbish.

I still find when I talk to both the GP and HV that I now know much more about the subject than they do so I think it's down to lack of knowledge/training.

Even at hospital level I've found differences of opinion. In the space of two weeks I was told by the dermatology specialist nurse that I had to cut out allergens from my diet while I was breastfeeding, I then saw the immunologist the week after who said current advice was not to do so.

Leeds is finally getting access to an allergy specialist once a month and we have luckily been referred. Until now we've only seen a paediatrician (sp??) and immunologist so I'm really looking forward to finally talking to someone who knows their stuff smile.

edam Wed 28-Oct-09 10:53:39

I don't think allergies were a big part of medical or nurse training until very recently (not sure it is now, tbh). And there are very, very few allergy specialists - it used to be left up to dermatologists or respiratory physicians according to which symptoms people had.

Thing is, there's been a very sudden and dramatic increase in allergies in the past 30 years and the health professions (beyond a few people who were interested) have been quite slow to catch up.

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 15:53:11

I had hopeless HVs and GPs then brilliant paediatric dermatologist and allergy specialists so maybe I was [in the end] spoilt by living in central London

babybarrister Wed 28-Oct-09 15:59:40

ps I was definitely dismissed as paranoid over fussy first time mother ...although of course DS then diagnosed as anaphylactic to milk - so much for all in the fucking mind!!!

mathanxiety Wed 28-Oct-09 16:03:16

They love writing prescriptions for magic pills, so anything you can do for yourself to avoid sickness doesn't have as much appeal. I think a lot of doctors are ego-trippers, and there are some HVs who think they are paid to dispense their own personal opinions and prejudices.

edam Wed 28-Oct-09 19:28:09

To be fair, we had very helpful GPs/HVs/paediatric dermatologists with ds's infant eczema (which he's grown out of, than heavens - looking at dh's asthma/eczema/allergy to everything bar food I was really worried).

edam Wed 28-Oct-09 19:28:25

thank

lindsaygii Wed 28-Oct-09 19:54:30

Probably because allergies are the fashionable fear of choice in the 21st century. Most of the people claiming to have them are just putting on a hyperchondriact, and the docs know it.

Bad apples spoiling the barrel, basically.

edam Wed 28-Oct-09 19:56:35

lindsay - there are people who like to imagine they have an allergy BUT there has also been a genuine and remarkable increase in the number of people with very real allergies over the past 30 years. Do a search on Pubmed if you want to be convinced.

tatt Wed 28-Oct-09 20:00:58

Gps get very little training in allergies. Don't know about HV but suspect they get even less. They do have budget constraints so need to try and work out who really needs to see a consultant and who doesn't.

Have sympathy for gps who admit they don't know and take advice. Have no time for paediatrians who claim to have an interest and then don't make sure they get proper training.

lindsaygii Wed 28-Oct-09 20:57:31

I don't need to be convinced. I didn't say no-one is allergic, I said they are the latest thing for everyone to imagine they have.

Doctors are overwhelmed with patients turning up with sheets and sheets of paper they printed off the internet about things they might have, and allergies are suitably vague, so they feature large.

whelk Thu 29-Oct-09 10:41:33

Bilbo Mum- I just saw that you are in Leeds. Sorry to hijack our thread Babybarrister-
I agree with you by the way!

DD1 (and now sadly dd2) are under Dr Ghillies at Harrogate hospital who is a food allergy specialist. You can ask to be referred to him by your GP via the Choose and Book system even if not in the area.

We live in York and had I not pressed for this we would have just seen a paediatrician rather than an allergy specialist at York Hospital.

The waiting list was only about 4 weeks too!

Bilbomum Fri 30-Oct-09 11:56:04

Thanks Whelk, that's interesting to know. We were told the nearest allergists were Sheffield and Newcastle but Harrogate would be much more convenient (and also my shopping area of choice grin).

The Newcastle specialist is coming down to Leeds once a month now for the more complicated cases, we're seeing her next Friday so fingers crossed.

UnseenAcademicalMum Sun 01-Nov-09 22:45:56

Before ds1's egg allergy was confirmed we were even patronised about it from the allergy consultant. 5 minutes later with a massive positive skin prick test he wasn't quite so patronising anymore. This was with BIL who is anaphylactic to nuts plus both dp and I with hayfever.

We had exactly the same patronising attitude with ds2's milk allergy. E.g. in hospital, conversation with consultant. Consultant "how do you know he is allergic to milk. Did his eczema clear up when you stopped eating dairy?" (said in sneery tone), me: "no, I knew he was allergic to milk when his whole face and lips swelled up with a bit of yoghurt and he couldn't breathe", consultant: (in much nicer, more understanding tones) "oh, I see. That must have been scarey".

Tis frustrating.

oldenglishspangles Wed 04-Nov-09 22:54:42

The problem with gps is that there are exactly that generalists and human being at the same time.

babybarrister Thu 05-Nov-09 07:49:42

sorry to be cynical [and some of my best friends are GPs ....!] BUT why is it that all of the ignorant opinions proferred by GPs only go in the one direction ie saving them money out of their budget ....!

I do agree though re bad apples - I once posted in AIBU re being annoyed with people claiming to have allergies and got 150 replies in a hour - whooops!!

ClaireOB Thu 05-Nov-09 17:00:23

There is a new petition organised by the National Allergy Strategy Group (NASG)about NHS allergy services:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to take action to improve NHS allergy services and the inadequate care received by millions of patients living with allergic disease; and call for action to implement the recommendations of independent national reviews including the House of Commons Health Select Committee, that more allergy consultant and trainee posts be created, priority be given to commissioning of allergy services and for improved knowledge of allergy in primary care"

sign here: petitions.number10.gov.uk/AllergyServices/

babybarrister Fri 06-Nov-09 08:43:11

bump thanks - I will start a new thread for this!

Lobelia Mon 09-Nov-09 11:16:33

I saw an allergy specialist at Kings about a year ago and he was so unfeeling. He and the student that was assisting pretty much laughed at my symptoms and discounted just about everything I said about my wheat allergy and other food intolerances. In the end he said, "I can't help you and no one else can either." I cried for two hours after that appointment. A horrible experience.

In the end I've had to take control of allergies by reading and learning and modifying my own diet. It's really too bad that I've found absolutely no help from local health practitioners.

stressed2007 Mon 09-Nov-09 11:20:18

babybarrister who do you see? I am looking for a specialist for my son. Thanks

babybarrister Wed 11-Nov-09 08:05:08

George du Toit at St Thomas in London - there is also Adam Fox and Professor Gideon Lack from same team

stressed2007 Wed 11-Nov-09 09:35:03

Many thanks for this.

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