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Tuberculosis

Volume 488: debated on Monday 23 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what co-operation his Department undertakes with its counterparts in Scotland and Wales to combat tuberculosis in Great Britain. (256098)

Health policies for England, Scotland and Wales are determined by each country individually. However, each health department maintains regular contact and sharing of policies on tuberculosis (TB) through a number of formal routes, such as the UK Health Protection Oversight Group, which meets regularly to maintain good communication between the four nations (including Northern Ireland), and informally as needed.

Through these meetings, key publications such as the Department’s TB Action Plan, the NICE TB Prevention and Control Guidance and the awareness raising work are shared with Scotland and Wales, who consider England’s actions when formulating their own policies.

The Health Protection Agency in England has close links with each health department, and collects and publishes annual data on TB rates for each country.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve general practitioners’ ability to detect tuberculosis at an early stage. (256105)

In 2006, the Department has supported the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in development of guidance “Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Tuberculosis, and Measures for its Prevention and Control” to increase awareness of tuberculosis (TB) among general practitioners to improve referrals for TB testing, diagnosis and treatment in specialised facilities.

Currently, the Department is sponsoring TB Alert to develop TB awareness raising messages for people at risk of TB to increase referrals for TB testing and effective treatment as well as with primary care workers to increase awareness of TB.