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Health: Tuberculosis

Volume 708: debated on Wednesday 11 March 2009

Questions

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in the past year in relation to tuberculosis in humans in the United Kingdom. [HL1925]

In June 2007, the department published the Tuberculosis (TB) Toolkit (Tuberculosis prevention and treatment: a toolkit for planning, commissioning and delivering high-quality services in England) to help the National Health Service to implement the key elements of the TB action plan through effective commissioning and delivery of TB services. A copy of the toolkit has already been placed in the Library. The department has supported the publication with a series of regional workshops for commissioners, public health and clinical staff. The toolkit provides models of good practice for laboratory services and surveillance as well as service delivery, and recommends that TB clinicians always follow National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on TB when treating patients.

In 2007, the department initiated the Find and Treat project to actively look for cases of TB among the homeless and other vulnerable groups in London, and to help provide supervised medication and support to patients to improve adherence to treatment. Currently, the Find and Treat team is helping over 300 people with TB who have challenging lifestyles to complete their treatment.

In 2008, the department commissioned 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. This will include the importance of early diagnosis and treatment completion. The awareness-raising programme will roll out later this year.

The department is also funding the Health Protection Agency to update its enhanced tuberculosis surveillance system and to develop an electronic tool to support the investigation of contacts of TB patients.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases of tuberculosis there were in the most recent year for which figures are available in (a) Bradford, (b) Birmingham, (c) Leicester and (d) Liverpool. [HL1926]

The numbers of new cases in each of these areas are provided in the following table.

Number of new tuberculosis cases (selected local authorities, 2006)

Local Authority

Number of cases

Bradford

193

Birmingham

412

Leicester

226

Liverpool

59

Source: Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance, Health Protection Agency Centre for Infections.

Asked by

To ask Her Majesty's Government what structures are in place to monitor and evaluate tuberculosis sources in England; and what action they take against primary care trusts that do not provide adequate tuberculosis services. [HL1927]

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) monitors the occurrence of tuberculosis (TB) in England and Wales through the national surveillance system. In addition, clinical, microbiological and demographic data are collected, as well as information on drug resistance, the outcome of treatment, and outbreaks and incidents. By the end of 2009, the system will provide routine access to data locally to inform management decisions. Annual reports, that describe trends and geographical variation in the incidence of TB, are produced by the HPA.

The department does not have powers to take action against primary care trusts. In June 2007, the department published a TB Toolkit to help the National Health Service to implement the key elements of the action plan through effective commissioning and delivery of TB services. The department has supported the publication with a series of regional workshops for commissioners and public health and clinical staff. The toolkit provides models of good practice for laboratory services and surveillance as well as service delivery, and recommends that TB clinicians always follow National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on TB when treating patients.

The new Care Quality Commission will ensure that TB services are monitored.