Tuberculosis (TB) action plan for England, 2021-26
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), working with NHS England, has launched a five-year action plan to drive down TB cases in England. The significant impacts of the pandemic require renewed effort and focus to ensure that England gets back on track to eliminate TB and a key priority is ‘recovery from COVID-19’. The TB action plan for England, 2021 to 2026, will build on the improvements in prevention, detection and control of TB in England over the past 10 years, and focus on five key priority areas to provide partners with the tools to reduce TB incidence in all our communities. It will enable the UK to meet its commitment to the World Health Organisation and eliminate TB in England by 2035.
COVID-19: Provision of tuberculosis services update
The COVID-19 guidance on Tuberculosis (TB) service provision has been updated and includes restoration of the local latent TB infection (LTBI) programme.
CCGs were advised to restart their LTBI testing and treatment programmes in October 2020 as part of the national restoration of non COVID-19 programmes. Latent TB testing is targeted at a high-risk group of patients at increased risk developing active TB.
Key concerns include:
- Increased TB numbers in 2019 c.f. previous decline, and an overall decrease in TB notifications in 2020 c.f. 2019 notifications of nearly 15% i.e. patient behaviour change due decreased access to health services and fear of COVID-19 leading to delayed presentation, increased severity of symptoms and increased transmission.
- Backlog of people eligible for LTBI test, and people positive for LTBI not treated.
- Backlog of neonatal BCG vaccinations