The West

Warning over allergy wait times
Warning: Kids with allergies face long wait. Picture: Dione Davidson/The West Australian

Australia's allergy support group says cancer services are not the only area affected by a lack of resources at Princess Margaret Hospital, with children waiting two months to be diagnosed with potentially life-threatening allergic reactions.

Allergy and Anaphylaxis Australia president Maria Said warned that a child could die if the hospital was not given more staff to handle the growing demand.

"We have parents of babies who've already had a potentially life-threatening episode being put on an urgent waiting list which means waiting two months," she said.

"These parents are often in the middle of introducing foods to their babies and they're absolutely petrified."

Children with hayfever or eczema - considered a lower priority - were waiting more than a year to see a specialist, even though there were many effective treatments that could quickly improve their quality of life.

"We've brought this to the attention of the State Government numerous times but it keeps falling on deaf ears," Ms Said said.

"I just hope that we don't have a tragedy as the catalyst for change in WA, like we've had in other States."

Health Minister Kim Hames agreed this week he would look at increasing the number of cancer beds at the new children's hospital being built in Nedlands because of concerns raised by staff and families.

In the meantime, the Government would continue to try to recruit more cancer specialists in addition to a new oncology registrar due to start this year.

Telethon Adventurers founder Rick Parish said yesterday that he had found a radiation oncologist working at St Jude's Children Hospital in Memphis interested in moving from the US to work in WA and he was trying to speed up talks to reach an agreement.

Dr Hames said the Health Department was in talks with two specialists who were interested in working in WA.

The West Australian

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