Dr Andrew Baker - Immunologist and Allergy Specialist - North Shore Auckland
Private Service, Allergy and Immunology, Internal Medicine
What is an Immunologist?
Dr Andrew Baker MBChB FRACP Auckland Immunologist Allergist
What is an Immunologist?
An Immunologist is a doctor with the highest level of qualification in training for allergy treatment. They are also foremost experts on immune deficiency, and treat some autoimmune diseases.
What training is required to become an Immunologist in New Zealand?
To become an Immunologist a doctor must first spend at least 4 years working in the hospital with all general types of medical conditions. They then must sit 2 different specialist exams. After this, a further 3 years of full time specialist training in Immunology/Allergy is required. This involves being supervised throughout by a qualified Immunologist. Doctors must also complete an original immunology or allergy research project, and present at an International Immunology Allergy conference. If all these conditions are met, and the doctor is considered of suitable knowledge, experience, and personal skills to provide excellent immunology and allergy diagnosis, treatment, care and communication with patients, then they will be awarded an FRACP in Immunology and they are now a qualified specialist.
What type of specialist is an Immunologist?
Clinical Immunology and Allergy is a specialty branch of internal medicine. Other branches of internal medicine include cardiology, gastroenterology, respiratory medicine, renal medicine, healthcare of the elderly, rheumatology and general internal medicine. All of these physicians are internal medicine specialists.
Who should see an Immunologist?
Some allergy problems can be dealt with by your GP. If further advice is needed on accurate diagnosis and treatment of allergy, they should be referred to an immunologist.
Did you know there are only 10 Immunologists in the whole of New Zealand?
Our number of immunologists per capita is one of the lowest in the world at 1 Immunologist allergist per 400 000 people. In France and the USA this rate is much better at one immunologist per 20 000 people.
Some statistics suggest up to 30% of people have an allergy. Furthermore, many people are falsely diagnosed as having an allergy, which causes a lot of unnecessary stress. This is a big burden, for a very large number of people.
I believe we need to train more immunologists so we have better leadership in accurate diagnosis and management of allergies. Furthermore, Immunologists need to communicate their specialist allergy knowledge more effectively with GPs and patients.