Childrens Services

Allergy Service - Children

Our Allergy Service is led by an award-winning team based in the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

We identify and treat a whole range of conditions associated with allergies in children.

Our services

The main services we offer include treatment for:

  • Allergic rhinitis: an inflammation of the nose, which is recognised by symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, blocked/stuffy nose, itching and 'post-nasal drip'. We provide consultations and advice at our combined Allergy ENT clinic at The Freeman Hospital. You can find out more about allergic rhinitis on the NHS Choices website.
  • Anaphylaxis: a severe systemic reaction to an allergen which can be life threatening. We review patients with exercise induce anaphylaxis and provide diagnostic workup and management strategies. You can find out more about Anaphylaxis on The Anaphylaxis Campaign website.
  • Doctor with patient and motherAsthma in allergic children: some of the most common allergic symptoms are caused by airborne ‘allergens’, such as pollens, moulds, house dust mite and pets. We provide consultations, advice, aeroallergen and animal dander  testing and exercise induced challenges are undertaken with Clinical Allergy and Respiratory Nurse supervision. You can find helpful information on The Asthma UK website
  • Atopic eczema, contact dermatitis and rashes associated with latex: these are increasing in young people with allergic disease and can be distressing and embarrassing. We provide consultations, advice, and management strategies in our monthly combined Dermatology Allergy clinic at the RVI. We also provide expert care for rare conditions such as Systemic and Cutaneous Mastocytosis.
  • Drug and medicine reactions: these may not be related to allergy and cause confusion among sufferers. We provide weekly consultations, advice, drug testing and challenging.
  • Food allergies: often the most frightening forms of allergic reaction, food allergies may cause a range of symptoms ranging from mild urticaria or swelling, through to the most severe reaction termed anaphylaxis. We provide consultations, advice, food allergy  testing and food challenges under the supervision of our Clinical Allergy Nurse Specialists. You can find out more about food allergies on the NHS Choices website.
  • Insect stings are more common in children, but children appear to be less likely to experience severe reactions. We diagnose, manage and provide venom desensitisation where appropriate.
  • Urticaria and angioedema may be spontaneous or have an immune and/or allergic trigger. It  is very common but can be difficult to control. We provide consultations, diagnosis, advice and management alongside our Paediatric Immunologists.

Specialist clinics

Our specialist clinicians, nurses and dietetic specialists provide a wide range of clinics to assess, investigate and manage allergic conditions for patients. Our clinics include:

  • The main Allergy Clinic assesses and manages allergies involving allergen skin prick testing for allergic conditions. These include allergies to: nuts, dairy, pollen, animal dander, house dust mite, latex, drug and venom allergy; investigation and management of anaphylaxis; and training in the use of adrenalin for self-injection.
  • Paediatric Allergy Outreach Clinics are available at: Benfield Park Healthcare and Diagnostic Centre (Tuesday weekly); North Tees (Friday monthly); Carlisle (Friday monthly); and Leeds Royal Infirmary (Friday every second month). They provide access to skin prick tests, allergy testing and Adrenaline Auto-injector training.
  • Specialist allergy clinics work with our colleagues in Dermatology, Gastroenterology, Respiratory, and Ear, Nose and Throat.
  • The Immunotherapy Clinic provides desensitisation therapy to a range of inhaled allergens, wasp and bee venom using either subcutaneous (under the skin) injection immunotherapy treatment, or sublingual treatment (under the tongue).
  • The Drug Allergy Service provides diagnosis, management and desensitisation therapy to a range of drugs for children with simple drug allergy, or as a result of prolonged treatment for chronic diseases.

Specialist staff

The Paediatric Allergy Service is led by Dr Louise Michaelis and Dr Gillian Vance, and works closely with the Paediatric Immunologists Professor Andrew Cant, Dr Mario Abinun and Dr Terry Flood.

Back row:  Dr Gillian Vance (consultant in allergy), Dr Sian Williams (GP specialist), Carley Foster (allergy laboratory), James Callaghan (lead dietitian), James Gardner (nurse consultant in allergy), Dr Paul Netts (GP specialist)

Front row: Orlaigh Gill (allergy dietitian), Amanda Wood (allergy research nurse), Anne McDonnell (allergy nurse specialist and research nurse), Dr Louise Michaelis (consultant in allergy)

Staff working in Allergy Services also include:

  • clinical nurse specialists (James Gardiner and Julie Pentland) who offer clinics, educational programmes and diagnostic procedures, including skin prick tests and adrenaline auto-injector training
  • Allergy Dieticians (James Callaghan and Louisa Whitfield-Brown) who provide food challenges
  • our specialised clinics are run in collaboration with our colleagues in:
    • Dermatology (Dr Suzanne Leech )
    • Gastroenterology (Dr Su Bunn and Dr Maureen Lawson)
    • Respiratory (Dr Michael McKean, Dr Sam Moss)
    • Ear, Nose and Throat (Mr Sean Carrie)
  • as the only centre in the north to provide a Drug Allergy and Desensitisation Service, we work closely with our adult Immunology and Allergy colleagues (Dr Gavin Spickett, Dr Anne Fay, Dr Catherine Stroud, and Dr Helen Bourne). 

We offer support to patients in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Northumberland as well as expert advice, support and management to primary and secondary care colleagues outside the region.


The paediatric Allergy Service is very active within The Great North Children’s Hospital Research Unit.


An electronic module to teach people about 'translational medicine in allergy' starts in 2016. You can get more information on the Newcastle University website.

Award winning staff

Allergy is now considered a modern epidemic with around 20% of the population suffering from hay fever and around 10% of the population suffering from asthma.

Yet there is a lack of training in allergies in medical school undergraduate programs, and subsequently a lack of training for healthcare professionals both in the community (primary care) and in hospitals (secondary care).

In response to this, the Department of Health set up regional allergy centres nationwide, to which the allergy team at the Great North Children’s Hospital represent the tertiary allergy centre for the Northern Counties and lead the Northern Paediatric Allergy Network (NPAG) for Allergy Education and Research. 


The allergy team have developed a MOSAIC (Multi-System Allergic Inflammation of Childhood) Honeycomb Seamless Care Model. It means that facilities are provided for the diagnosis of both simple and complex allergy cases with training in allergy provided for specialist trainees, GPs, nurses, schools and allied health professionals. Together with the region they provide a truly seamless care model.

The team put their efforts forward for the region's 2017 Bright Ideas in Health Awards and scooped the top prize for the Service Improvement category.

More information

Web links


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