Hospital's respiratory centre becomes first in South to offer drug and food allergy testing

The Respiratory Centre at Southampton General Hospital has become the first in the South to offer advanced drug and food allergy testing alongside treatment for complex breathing conditions.

The new service, where staff provide testing for patients who have had significant allergic reactions to medications such as penicillin or local anaesthetics, caps a rapid expansion.

Launched in 2000, the centre primarily focused on effectively treating chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) without admitting patients and caring for them at home in a drive to reduce long hospital stays.

But in recent years, the unit has developed a central role within asthma and allergy care, becoming one of the region’s only centres to conduct a weekly immunotherapy clinic for patients with a range of allergies and pollen sensitivities.

It now boasts a recently developed asthma outreach service, where all patients with suspected or confirmed asthma are seen on wards or in the Emergency Department by the asthma specialist nursing team, and specialist therapy for severe asthma.

The unit treats patients from Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, West Sussex, parts of Berkshire and the Isle of Wight and is even the first port of call for the Falkland Islands.

Dr Efrem Eren, consultant clinical immunologist, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer patients across southern England access to an advanced drug and food allergy testing centre.

“The development of this service demonstrates just how far the centre has grown over the last few years, expanding widely to offer a range of care to people with respiratory, allergy and immunology needs.”

Posted on Tuesday 18 August 2009