WRITE TO YOUR LOCAL FEDERAL MEMBER

Copy and paste the sample letter below and send it to your local Federal MP.  Feel free to add in any details relating to your personal experiences and don't forget to add in your name and contact details at the bottom.

Hands on Deck
 
 

The Hon. [INSERT NAME], MP

Federal Member for [INSERT NAME]



Dear [INSERT NAME],


I am writing to you as a supporter of Food Allergy Goals, an initiative which is seeking to address the current lack of food allergy treatment options available in Australia.

You may be aware that the Federal Government launched an Inquiry into Allergies and Anaphylaxis following a referral from the Minister for Health on 27 August 2019.

In May 2020 the Committee responsible for the Inquiry reported to the Government (https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Health_Aged_Care_and_Sport/Allergiesandanaphylaxis/Report)  with a number of recommendations.  


In his foreword, Trent Zimmerman MP, the Chair of the Committee noted:

“Many individuals, especially parents of children living with food-related allergies, advocated for the increased availability of food immunotherapy. Currently food immunotherapy is not offered in Australia and several families told the Committee they had travelled overseas to receive immunotherapy for their children. This is an area that will benefit from further research in Australia and this report recommends that clinical research be undertaken with the aim of being able to offer safe and well understood food immunotherapy in the future.”


Unfortunately, at the time of writing this letter, despite the passage of 20 months, the Minister has not responded to the Committee’s recommendations and the allergy community are fearful that this issue, and all the other recommendations made in relation to the significant challenges facing Australians with allergies, will remain unaddressed.


In September 2021 a food oral immunotherapy trial for pre-school children with peanut allergies was launched at the Perth Children’s Hospital (https://pch.health.wa.gov.au/About-us/News/EPIC-peanut-allergy-trial).  As parents we were extremely excited by this development as it is the first of its kind in Australia.  Overseas, specifically in Canada, trials of this nature have been very successful and over time have expanded from an initial pilot location to other centres nationally.  


The Perth Children’s Hospital clinical immunologist and research trial leader Dr Michael O’Sullivan has stated:


“With this trial, we a responding to a consumer demand to provide access to food allergy treatments in Australia that are currently available overseas, using a translatable approach that could be applied to other foods and underpin a future national approach to food OIT.”


As parents of allergic children we cannot ask for more from a food allergy trial.  It is an established trial already achieving excellent results and it has the potential for expansion so treatment options could be rolled out to the many thousands of allergic children in the coming years.  It is exactly what the Committee responsible for the Government Inquiry envisaged – achieving the aim of being able to offer safe and well understood food immunotherapy in the future.


There is currently no cure for food allergies and sufferers must exercise constant diligence to avoid accidental exposure.  It is also essential to have access to an adrenaline auto injector (Epipen/Anapen) at all times for use in the event of an anaphylactic reaction.


As a parent, it is extremely difficult to navigate daily life with allergen avoidance as the only strategy to deal with this potentially life threatening condition.


Given that Australia has the highest per capita rate of food allergy in the world the question needs to be asked:  Why isn't the more accessible form of OIT which is currently offered overseas being trialled in Australia?


I would be grateful if I could meet with you to discuss this issue in more detail. It would be fantastic if we could have a commitment from your party in the lead up to the Federal election confirming that, if elected, you will provide Federal funding to Dr O’Sullivan’s team at Perth Children’s Hospital to enable them to expand this trial in collaboration with allergy specialists across Australia and formulate a national approach to OIT and give our children new hope and confidence as they head towards life as independent young people.  Any assistance you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  OIT has the potential to vastly improve the lives of the enormous number of Australians living with life threatening allergies.


I look forward to hearing from you.


Yours faithfully,



[INSERT NAME]