Detainees: Infectious Diseases

Department of Health written question – answered on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Kate Osamor Kate Osamor Labour/Co-operative, Edmonton

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what his Department's policy is on testing detainees for infectious diseases such as TB.

Photo of Jane Ellison Jane Ellison The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

In April 2015, Public Health England, NHS England, and Home Office Immigration Enforcement jointly published a National Partnership Agreement which outlines shared commitments and priorities across the three organisations relating to the health and wellbeing of people in detention in the immigration removal estate. This includes a joint priority to improve the pro-active detection, surveillance and management of infectious diseases in Immigration Removal Centres (IRCs), particularly in respect of blood-borne viruses (BBVs) and tuberculosis (TB), and to improve capability to detect and respond to outbreaks and incidents.

A programme of work to implement the provisions of the National Partnership Agreement is being taken forward by the three organisations. Use of new technology is being explored in some IRCs including using digital x-ray technology to detect active TB disease in the lungs as well as blood tests to detect both latent TB and BBV infection.

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