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Global assessment of the knowledge and confidence in managing allergic disorders amongst primary care paediatricians across Europe: An EAACI Task Force Report.
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  • Martha Cabrera,
  • D Ryan,
  • Michel Erlewyn-Lajeunesse,
  • Michael Levin,
  • Ana Martínez-Cañavate,
  • Villaizán Pérez Carmen,
  • Elizabeth Angier,
  • Juan Trujillo,
  • JM. Cárdenas-Rebollo,
  • Reali L
Martha Cabrera
Hospital Los Madronos

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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D Ryan
The University of Edinburgh Edinburgh Medical School
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Michel Erlewyn-Lajeunesse
University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine
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Michael Levin
University of South Africa - Cape Town Campus
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Ana Martínez-Cañavate
Hospital Universitario Virgen de las Nieves
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Villaizán Pérez Carmen
Santa Bárbara Health Center
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Elizabeth Angier
University of Southampton Faculty of Medicine
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Juan Trujillo
Cork University Hospital
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JM. Cárdenas-Rebollo
Universidad CEU San Pablo
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Reali L
Asl Rm1
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Background Paediatricians are often the first point of contact for children in Primary Care (PC), but still perceive gaps in their allergy knowledge. We investigated self-perceived knowledge gaps and educational needs in paediatricians across healthcare systems in Europe so that future educational initiatives may better support the delivery of allergy services in PC. Methods A multinational survey was circulated to paediatricians who care for children and adolescents with allergy problems in PC by the EAACI Allergy Educational Needs in Primary Care Paediatricians Task Force during February to March 2023. A 5-point Likert scale was used to assess level of agreement with questionnaire statements. 30 surveys per country was the cut-off for inclusion and statistical analysis. Results 1,991 respondents were obtained from 56 countries across Europe and 210 responses were from countries with a cut-off below 30 participants per country. Primary care paediatricians (PCPs) comprised 74.4% of the respondents. The majority (65.3%) were contracted to state or district health services. 61.7% had awareness of guidelines for onward allergy referral in their countries but only 22.3% were aware of the EAACI competencies document for allied health professionals for allergy. Total sample respondents versus PCP’s showed 52% and 47% of them have access to allergy investigations in their PC facility (mainly specific IgE and skin prick tests); 67.6% and 58.9% have access to immunotherapy, respectively. The main barrier for referral to a specialist was consideration that the patient’s condition could be diagnosed and treated in this PC facility, (57.8% and 63.6% respectively). The main reasons for referral was the need for hospital assessment, and partial response to first line treatment (55.4% and 59.2%, 47% and 50.7%, respectively). Learning and assessment methods preference was fairly equally divided between: Traditional methods (45.7% and 50.1% respectively) and e-Learning 45.5% and 44.9%, respectively. Generalist Physicians (GP’s) have the poorest access to allergy investigations (32.7%, p=0.000). The majority of the total sample (91.9%) assess patients with allergic pathology. 868 (43.6%) and 1,117 (46.1%), received allergy training as undergraduates and postgraduates respectively [these proportions in PCPs were higher (45% and 59%), respectively]. PCPs with special interest in allergology experienced greater exposure to allergy teaching as postgraduates. GP’s received the largest amount of allergy teaching as undergraduate. Identifying allergic disease based on clinical presentation, respondents felt most confident in the management of eczema/atopic dermatitis (87.4%) and rhinitis/asthma (86.2%), and least confident in allergen immunotherapy (36.9%) and latex allergy (30.8%). Conclusion This study exploring the confidence of PCP’s to diagnose, manage and refer patients with allergy, demonstrated knowledge gaps and educational needs for allergy clinical practice. It detects areas in need of urgent improvement especially in latex and allergen immunotherapy. It is important to ensure dissemination of allergy guidelines and supporting EAACI documents since the majority of PCPs lack awareness of them. This survey has enabled us to identify what the educational priorities of PCPs are and how they would like to have them met.