Local NHS services to tackle tuberculosis (TB) in England are improving, but a report has called for more work to be done in key areas
The study reveals that nearly one in five TB ‘hot spot’ areas, and six in 10 areas overall, still don’t have a strategy in place to tackle the disease
Nearly four in 10 primary care trusts in England have no current plan to deal with a TB outbreak.
The report, by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Global TB, the British Thoracic Society, TB Alert and the Royal College of Nursing, was launched as the provisional number of TB cases in England reached 7,998 cases – an increase of 2% on the previous year.
Separate data, released at the British Thoracic Society Winter Meeting, also shows that Manchester has shown a three-fold increase in TB cases since 1996. Other cities and areas with higher rates of TB include London, Leeds, Leicester and West Midlands.
The study analyses the results of a survey of 112 PCTs in England, conducted between August and September 2009. It found that 60% of PCTs reported increased funding to tackle TB over the last three years, and 93% have a senior designated ‘lead’ to tackle TB – nearly double the amount reported in 2007
But the survey also showed some worrying deficiencies in local NHS planning and delivery of TB services, with 60% of PCTS having no current strategy to tackle TB,
The report’s recommended that PCTs, especially those with high rates of TB, have a strategy and a service level agreement in place in tackle the disease. They should also consult with people with TB and ‘at risk’ communities, alongside other local organisations, in planning and delivering their services.
It also said that PCTs and local authorities should ensure TB is included in their local area agreements and health implementation plans.