Milk Allergy Clinic First for Northern Ireland

05/02/2016

The Paediatric Allergy Team at the Ulster Hospital, Dundonald has won an innovation award from The Health Foundation to fund the implementation of a ‘Cow’s Milk Allergy Clinic’ which is a first in Northern Ireland. The award consists of a grant of approx. £72,000 to implement the clinic. The team was selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its £1.5 million innovation programme, Innovating for Improvement, the first award of its kind in Northern Ireland.

The initiative aims to develop a new type of clinic for babies with cow’s milk allergy, combining a group education and advice workshop, along with individual assessments for each child which aims to provide earlier access to advice and assessment. The workshop will provide information about cow’s milk allergy, how it is diagnosed, and practical dietary advice about how to manage a child on a dairy free diet.

The clinic will be run by members of the Paediatric Allergy Team from the Ulster Hospital, who will travel to various sites around the South Eastern Trust area. Parents will be given a comprehensive information booklet for easy reference to take home that will include all the information they should need to guide them through their child’s milk allergy journey and how to reintroduce cow’s milk when the time is right. It is hoped that through the group sessions that parents will have the opportunity to meet other parents in the same situation. Over the course of the programme the team will develop its innovative idea and approach, put it into practice and gather evidence about how the innovation improves the quality of health care. The team will be led by Dr Bernadette O’Connor, Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Lead for the Paediatric Allergy Team.

Dr O’Connor states “We are very pleased to be working with the Health Foundation, in the development of our multi-disciplinary cow’s milk allergy management clinic. This award allows us to set up the clinic in addition to our normal service and support us while we strive to improve the quality of paediatric allergy care. The clinic will provide earlier access to help and support for parents struggling with their child’s milk allergy.”

Gill Clayton, Programme Manager from the Health Foundation said, “We are very excited to be working with such a high-calibre of teams, who all have great innovative ideas. As an organisation we are keen to support innovation at the frontline, therefore I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their ideas over the next year.

“Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and real impact of the teams’ innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of health care, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK health service.”

The clinic will commence in February 2016 and will be rolled out across the South Eastern Trust area on a phased basis. Referral to the clinic can be made through your GP or Health Visitor.

Pictured above: Milk Allergy Team - Centre: Dr Bernadette O’Connor, (Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Lead for the Paediatric Allergy Team). Back row: Wendy Stephenson (Allergy Healthcare Support Worker), Suzanne Beattie (Dietitian), Rosemary Martin (Paediatric Dietitian), Susan Beattie (Allergy Nurse) & Anne Fitzpatrick (Allergy Nurse)

Pictured at the launch: Richard Edgeworth (Health Foundation), Susan Beattie (Allergy Nurse), Dr Bernadette O’Connor, (Consultant Paediatrician and Clinical Lead for the Paediatric Allergy Team) with baby Rosa Gullen and Hugh McCaughey (Trust Chief Executive)