Immigrants: Tuberculosis

Department of Health written question – answered on 14th July 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Suttie Baroness Suttie Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether latent tuberculosis infection screening is incorporated into routine medical checks at immigration centres.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

People admitted to immigration removal centres (IRCs) are not currently screened for latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI). However, a national partnership agreement between Home Office Immigration Enforcement (HOIE), NHS England and Public Health England (PHE) published in April 2015 committed all three organisations to work together to improve the pro-active detection, surveillance and management of infectious diseases in IRCs and improve capability to detect and respond to outbreaks and incidents. A copy of the ‘Partnership Agreement between Home Office Immigration Enforcement, NHS England & Public Health England’ is available at the following link and is attached.

http://www.england.nhs.uk/commissioning/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2015/04/hoie-partnership-final.pdf.

A working group on LTBI among detainees in IRCs is being established this summer by PHE (health and justice, travel and migrant health and tuberculosis (TB) sections) to explore these issues. This work will contribute to the overarching joint PHE and NHS five year TB strategy for England which was published in January 2015. A copy of ‘Collaborative Tuberculosis Strategy for England, 2015-2020’ is available at the following link and is attached.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/collaborative-tuberculosis-strategy-for-england.

Included among several identified areas for priority action are: tackling TB in under-served populations (including migrants and those in secure and detained settings) and systematic implementation of new entrant LTBI screening.

PHE will work to provide expert advice to NHS England and HOIE on how to implement LTBI screening in IRCs once this work has been completed.

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