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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 April, 2004, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Warning over allergy provision
Scotland has more teenage asthma sufferers than any other country
Rising levels of allergies are costing the NHS 1bn a year, according to research carried out in Scotland.

The Clinical and Experimental Allergy report calls for more allergy specialists to meet increased demand.

Experts at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen say levels of asthma, eczema and hay fever have risen significantly since the 1950s.

The report warns a lack of specialist care may see sufferers seek herbalist or homeopathic treatment.

The UK has one of the highest rates of allergies in the world and Scotland has more teenage asthma sufferers than any other country.

One in five British children and adults suffers from asthma, eczema and other allergic conditions.

Although rates of asthma have levelled out, other allergies such as those connected with food are increasing rapidly.

The authors of the report have issued a call for an urgent review of specialist allergy care provision.

They claim Britain is unusual in using GPs to manage allergic disorders and that a lack of specialised care may be sending many sufferers outside the NHS to herbalists and homeopathic practitioners.

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