4 Sep 2013

Specialist shortage after allergy rise

1:45 pm on 4 September 2013

An allergy advisor says the public health system has been caught out by a rise in allergies that has left many people struggling to cope.

Penny Jorgensen from Allergy New Zealand says the country has one of the highest allergy rates in the developed world and a shortage of specialists means most cases have to be dealt with by ill-equipped GPs.

Ms Jorgensen says it takes about 12 years to train an immunologist and a national approach needs to be developed to deal with the rise in allergies.

She also says many new and effective treatments are not being publicly funded.

"We still don't have funding for auto injectors which in this day and age is ridiculous, so something needs to be done to sort that out," she says.