Improving the early detection and diagnosis of latent Tuberculosis (TB)

Southwark has a high incidence of TB compared to the rest of England with a rate of 25.9 per 100,000 population and the north of the borough having the highest proportion of foreign-born residents from high prevalence countries. Because of this Southwark fulfils the criteria for introducing targeted TB screening and treatment. The inclusion criteria for TB testing and treatment are:
  • aged between 16 to 35 years
  • born or spent six  months in high TB incidence country
  • entered the UK within the last five years
  • not previously screened for TB in the UK

The aim of this service is to reduce the rate of TB in Southwark by improving the early detection and diagnosis of TB. We are doing this by supporting the national TB screening and treatment programme which involves identifying eligible patients and offering them screening and treatment.

QHS has been identifying eligible patients (patients are identified either at the point of registration or by data searches of currently registered patients) and then working closely with each GP practice,  QHS contact patients via text message.  TB testing and treatment are then offered to eligible patients.

From February 2019 to December 2019, we’ve sent 1,365 letters and 1,303 texts to north Southwark patients at all but three of our member practices.  111 patients from north Southwark have been screened for TB, 65 of these patients had their blood test with a nurse at our EPCS and 46 patients had their blood test at a local hospital clinic. 18 blood tests returned positive results and four blood tests returned borderline positive results (NHS England and Public Health England report a borderline positive result as positive).Patients with positive results have been referred to the local TB service for assessment and treatment.