Education and training
Specialty training in allergy consists of core and higher specialty training. Core training may be either core medical training (CMT) or acute care common stem (ACCS). Higher specialty training builds on these core skills to develop the specific competencies required for allergy. The full curriculum for specialty training can be found on the General Medical Council website.
The training programme is based around a central core of general allergy clinics which should provide experience of a wide range of problems, including; food allergy, drug allergy and the management of anaphylaxis. Trainees are taught how to manage an allergen immunotherapy clinic. Alongside this, there are attachments to dermatology (for training in eczema, urticaria and contact dermatitis), ENT (evaluation and management of the upper respiratory tract), respiratory medicine (asthma, extrinsic allergic alveolitis and occupational lung disease), paediatrics (milestones, infant food allergy and substitute formulas, infant rhinitis, eczema and asthma) and immunology (vasculitis, immunoglobulin deficiency). In addition, trainees will spend time in a diagnostic laboratory becoming acquainted with the indications, methods and limitations of relevant diagnostic tests such as RAST.
Allergy departments tend to be small, so national and regional training events are particularly important elements of training and CPD. The British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) organises regular training days for trainees in allergy, and trainees in immunology are also welcome at these events. Attendance at the annual scientific meeting of the BSACI is strongly encouraged – the annual meeting includes sessions specifically targeted at trainees as well as grand rounds, year-in-review sessions and updates on relevant basic science topics.
There are also international meetings such as the annual congress of the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI). EAACI offers generous discounts and bursaries for trainees and junior members to attend its congresses, summer schools and other meetings.
Clinical allergy overlaps with a number of organ-based disciplines (in particular dermatology, ENT, and respiratory medicine), so attendance at selected training events in those disciplines is encouraged where appropriate.
Multidisciplinary working with specialist nurses and dietitians is a crucial element of successful clinic provision so cross-discipline sharing of teaching and learning is strongly encouraged.
Individual departments are expected to arrange internal training events and trainees should also aim to go to general medical training events within their trusts. Each department will have regular administrative meetings to oversee their services, and educational requirements for trainees and specialists should be regular agenda items at those meetings.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) has produced a cost of training document setting out the mandatory costs of training involved in college enrolment fees, examination costs and GMC fees. Published in October 2017, it has been compiled to help pre-specialty doctors make fully informed career selections, with a clear understanding of the mandatory costs of their future training pathway.