Parent experiences with paediatric allergy pathways in the West Midlands: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • Lavanya Diwakar
  • Scott Hackett
  • Martyn Rees
  • Lynette Charles
  • Caroline Kerrigan
  • Helen Creed

Colleges, School and Institutes


Background: The prevalence, severity and complexity of allergic diseases has been increasing steadily in the UK over the last few decades. Primary care physicians are often not adequately trained in allergy management whilst specialist services for allergy are scarce and heterogeneous. Services, therefore, have been unable to meet the rising demand. This is particularly true for paediatric allergy services in the UK.

Objective: To understand parent experiences with paediatric allergy pathways in the West Midlands (WM) region of the UK.

Methods: Parents of children aged between 0‐16 years from the WM region were recruited opportunistically until thematic saturation was achieved. 18 semi‐structured interviews were carried out and transcribed verbatim. Data were analysed on NVivo software using the framework method. Themes were identified from the transcripts as well as from existing literature.

Results: Parents highlighted numerous issues related to allergy services in the region including difficulties with being taken seriously by their physicians, problems with accessing healthcare and issues with information and the need for additional supportive care for allergies.

Conclusions and Clinical relevance: Primary care for children with allergies in the West Midlands is disparate. Parents experience difficulties in accessing primary and secondary care services and also obtaining timely and appropriate information regarding their child's allergies. Most parents were happy to be reviewed by either specialist nurses or by consultants in the hospital. Improving accessibility and availability of reliable information as well as provision of additional services (such as psychologists and dietetics) were highlighted by parents as being important to allergy services in the region. These findings can help inform future planning and commissioning of allergy services.


Original languageEnglish
JournalClinical and Experimental Allergy
Early online date4 Jan 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2019