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Tuberculosis: Health Services

Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will establish a national programme to co-ordinate the provision of prevention and control services for tuberculosis. (303794)

Tuberculosis (TB) services delivered by the national health service are recommended to follow the advice contained in the Chief Medical Officer's Action Plan Stopping Tuberculosis in England published in 2004, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance Clinical diagnosis and management of tuberculosis and measures for its prevention and treatment published in 2006, and the Department's TB Toolkit Tuberculosis prevention and treatment: a toolkit for planning, commissioning and delivering high-quality services in England issued in 2007. Copies of the plan and toolkit have already been placed in the Library.

Organisation and delivery of TB services are the responsibility of NHS management, and we have held stakeholder meetings to work with local services to review the overall strategy for TB control.

We have also delivered a number of initiatives to TB services across England, including:

Free treatment drugs for all TB patients have been provided; and

Systematic screening of prisoners for TB in key prisons is being implemented.

In addition, we are funding an awareness raising strategy, aimed at primary healthcare professionals with locally targeted messages to high-risk groups to improve early detection.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what (a) criteria and (b) methodology his Department uses to determine the effectiveness of the port of entry system in the monitoring of tuberculosis. (303795)

Screening at ports of entry is a Home Office policy, and managed by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). Therefore, the Department has no specific criteria for determining the effectiveness of the port of entry tuberculosis (TB) screening programme.

The HPA indicate that just over 0.1 per cent. of those screened by X-rays at Gatwick and Heathrow are reported to have pulmonary TB.