New Allergy UK report calls for NICE to develop further standardised adolescent / adult guidelines for eczema patients

Written by: Editor
Published on: 25 Nov 2021


For UK consumer, medical and trade media only

New Allergy UK report calls for NICE to develop further standardised adolescent / adult guidelines for eczema patients

  • Further standardised NICE adolescent and adult guidelines are crucial to reduce variation of timely care and treatment for the ~1.5million[ii] people who live with moderate-to-severe eczema.
  • Healthcare systems need to ensure psycho-dermatological support is commissioned as part of the patient pathway to improve access to mental health support.
  • All ICSs should have a commissioning policy to ensure a standardised pathway and access to care for people with eczema.

READING, UK EMBARGOED UNTIL 00:01 25 NOVEMBER 2021 – A joint report published today by Allergy UK and Sanofi, ‘Not just skin deep: Getting under the skin of eczema’, has revealed moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis (AD), which is a type of eczema, is a source of considerable distress, both physical and psychological, to those who live with the condition.[iii]

This report highlights variations in waiting times across the country, negative mental health impacts, and disruption to work and daily life, and presents actionable healthcare solutions to address the issues faced by patients, reform the patient pathway, and improve lives.

A key recommendation is for NICE to prioritise the development of further standardised adolescent and adult guidelines for eczema patients. Nearly half of HCPs surveyed, such as GPs and dermatologists, said they did not have clear guidance and support around when to diagnose and refer adolescents and adults with severe eczema.*2 This lack of guidance may have contributed to half of patients (50.3%) waiting more than one year for a treatment regime that makes their eczema manageable.2

“The impact that moderate-to-severe eczema continues to have on people’s lives is laid out here in stark terms; lengthy waiting times, negative impact on mental health, disruption to work, disruption to personal lives”, said Carla Jones, CEO of Allergy UK. “Yet still, a very small percentage of Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) and their predecessors, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) have an eczema commissioning policy in place. And there is still no NICE adolescent or adult guidelines for eczema to help reduce unwarranted variation in care.”


The report also calls on each ICS to improve access to mental health support by commissioning psycho-dermatological support, such as counselling, as part of the patient pathway. Education and training of healthcare professionals in primary care on the range of support services available, including patient advisory groups, should also be improved. Over 75% of patients admitted eczema had negatively impacted their mental health, with depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation more common amongst people with this condition.†2 Almost a quarter (23%) of patients took more than 15 days off work a year due to their eczema and patients' social lives and personal relationships are also impacted by their condition. †2 

Prof Anthony Bewley, Consultant Dermatologist, Barts Health NHS Trust and Hon Professor QMUL, said, "There is an urgent need for further NICE guidelines to be developed, to ensure speed of access to the right treatment and care and to enable these patients to live with and manage their condition. Moderate-to-severe eczema can have a devastating effect on a patient’s quality of life. For anyone who has never experienced it, it can be difficult to imagine how constant itching, cracked, infected and bleeding skin, pain that makes it difficult to move, and constant sleep disturbance, impacts a person's physical and mental well-being.”


For those living with moderate-to-severe eczema, many of the issues raised in this report existed before COVID-19. As the nation resets from the pandemic, the reconfiguration of the healthcare system to new Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) provides an opportunity to recover and improve services. 87% of healthcare professionals surveyed admitted COVID-19 has made it more difficult to identify patients, which was supported by almost half of patients surveyed (46%) saying COVID-19 has made it more difficult to access services and treatments. *†2 To tackle some of the inevitable COVID-19 setbacks, the report recommends in-person consultations should be returned to ensure skin conditions can be appropriately diagnosed and managed.

For more information, find the full report here:

Notes to Editors

In 2021, Allergy UK along with Sanofi surveyed 30 healthcare professionals, 268 people living with eczema, and received Freedom of Information responses from 97 of the remaining CCGs within 41 Integrated Care Systems, to produce this report and explore the long-term impacts of a life with eczema.

Atopic dermatitis
Atopic dermatitis (AD), a form of eczema, is a chronic inflammatory disease that can cause dry and itchy rashes on the skin.AD is driven in part by Type 2 inflammation,

an immune response, which contributes to symptoms like itch.4  The United Kingdom has a high prevalence of AD, affecting 11-20% of children and 5-10% of adults.5 AD can have a substantial physical, emotional, social, and psychological impact.6



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About Allergy UK



Allergy UK is the leading national patient charity for people living with all kinds of allergic disease. It is estimated that 21 million people in the UK live with some form of allergic disease. But there remains a gap in healthcare services for those affected by this disease of the immune system. The charity’s mission is to raise the profile of allergy at all levels, with a vision for everyone affected by allergy to receive the best possible care and support and for everyone in the UK to take allergy seriously. The Allergy UK Helpline is there for people who need information about their allergic conditions and for help and support.




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*Data from survey of 30 healthcare professionals analysed for this report.

†Data from survey of 268 moderate-to-severe eczema patients analysed for this report.



[1] Seeing Red Report: Getting Under the Skin of Adult Eczema. Allergy UK. 2017. Accesible: Last accessed: November 2021.

2 Not Just Skin Deep Report: Getting under the skin of eczema. Allergy UK. 2021. Accessible: accessed: November 2021