NHS Given Extra Support In Fight Against TB

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The Department of Health announced extra help for the NHS in tackling the spread of TB.

NHS commissioners will be able to access on-line the Department's 'TB Toolkit'. The Toolkit has been developed for those commissioning TB services in the NHS and provides a flexible commissioning framework, models of best practice for delivering TB services, and guidance on laboratory services and surveillance.


As part of the measures to treat TB, drugs supplied by clinics to treat TB will be free from prescription charges from 1 September 2007. This move is aimed at getting patients treated as early as possible so that they are cured and cease to pose a continuing threat to other people. Failure to complete treatment can lead to the development of drug resistant TB in that person, which is much more difficult, and expensive, to treat.

The Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson said: "My Action Plan for TB in England, launched in October 2004, has the long-term goal of reducing TB in this country through reducing the risk of infecting new people; providing high quality treatment and care for all people with TB and maintaining low levels of drug resistant TB.

"Among the key recommendations in the Action Plan was the need to ensure well-organised and co-ordinated patient services. The toolkit launched today will provide commissioners with a framework to commission effective, high quality TB services and also recommends best practice for TB service deliverers and laboratories to continue to provide improving TB control in England."

The toolkit represents the culmination of work by three expert working groups, who advised the Department of Health on the best mechanisms to help the NHS implement the 2004 TB Action Plan. The consensus was that commissioning offered the best opportunity to influence NHS services, and these working groups developed advice and best practice on commissioning, service delivery and laboratory standards and surveillance.