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.
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, 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.