POSITIVE POLICY

Managing Allergic Diseases

A Shorten Labor Government will commit $1.1 million to better manage allergic diseases and their associated health risks.

Allergic diseases are among the fastest-growing chronic diseases in Australia with one in five Australians suffering from food and drug allergies, asthma, hay fever and other allergic diseases.

Sadly, the evidence is we are not managing allergic diseases well. If not managed properly, allergic diseases can lead to anaphylaxis – severe, life-threatening allergic reactions and over the last 20 years hospital admissions for anaphylaxis have soared 400 per cent.

This also adds to the pressure on our health and hospitals system and properly managing allergic diseases would reduce avoidable emergency department presentations and expensive drug prescriptions.

A Shorten Labor Government will give allergic diseases the attention and funding they deserve through this $1.1 million commitment over three years to improve management of allergic diseases.

Labor’s investment will fund the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia to:

Improve allergy management for young Australians: Teens and young adults are at a higher risk of fatal anaphylaxis. But the resources available to help them manage their allergies are insufficient. Labor’s investment will allow the peak allergy organisations to consult with young Australians on their needs, then develop resources to help them manage their conditions and prevent more serious harm.

Educate the food industry on food allergies: There is no standardised, easy way for food service providers to learn about food allergies. This makes it harder for Australians with food allergies to eat outside their homes, and has in some cases led to food-induced anaphylaxis and deaths. Labor’s commitment will help educate food providers about food risks and mitigations, via roundtables and an online training course.

Standardise management of drug allergy: There is no standard way to manage drug allergies in Australia, and a patchwork of approaches has emerged. In some cases drug allergies are not diagnosed or communicated, meaning they are not properly managed in settings including hospitals. In other cases drug allergies are ‘over diagnosed’, increasing waiting times for allergy specialists and the use of more expensive antibiotic medications. Labor’s commitment will fund a range of activities, such as the development of new processes and protocols, to standardise drug allergy management.

Labor’s $1.1 million investment in Managing Allergic Diseases is further proof only Labor believes all Australians, no matter where they live or how much they earn, are entitled to the best possible health care, not the best possible health care they can afford.