On World TB Day, CPG’s very own TB Specialist Nurse, Claire Farley talks about the work the team do locally:
Plus Group has a TB Community Service which was set up to improve the prevention, detection and control of TB within hard-to-reach and new entrant populations in the Grimsby Area. Despite publicity around TB being low and most people thinking it has therefore gone away – there is still more to do. People in deprived communities are still disproportionately more likely to contract this disease, so we must do more to tackle this injustice by raising awareness and ensuring early diagnosis and treatment.
The Community TB Service aims to be flexible and accessible to those who need it and offers the option for the patient to be seen in a clinic or with their home/dwelling. The screening process varies from diagnostic testing to information gathering in contact tracing cases. Those identified with TB /Latent TB are supported throughout their treatment from the time they make first contact throughout consultations with the TB Consultant at Diana Princess of Wales Hospital. A risk assessment of each patient is discussed and agreed with the patient to ensure they are at the very centre of their care, this can include Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) 3 times a week if there is any potential risk a patient may not complete medication.
The level of monitoring and support of patients can vary and includes psychological support as TB still carries a significant stigma in some cohorts of patients. The service allows the patient to have direct contact with a nurse for any concerns/advice.
The service offers BCG immunisation to those who meet the criteria and to babies who may have been missed from high-risk countries.
A large part of the work done by the service is around education for both health professionals and social care professionals but also the targeting of hard-to-reach groups within Grimsby and tailors the education and promotion of preventing TB to all sectors of Grimsby.
Claire Farley, TB Specialist Nurse said:
“We should be proud that TB rates are now at the lowest levels ever recorded in this country, however this is still more to be done.
“The TB service is more than a screening service, due to the very nature of dealing with a large proportion of hard-to-reach groups it has brought together new relationships nationally and locally with Mears/Target Housing Willows projects which deal with asylum seekers – both adults and unaccompanied children. This has led to a big piece of work locally on how we deal with issues around clandestine arrivals coming through our local ports. The joint working of TB services and Infection control has been a significant factor in raising awareness of transmittable diseases and through education and training ensuring those services identified as at risk of exposure have the knowledge/skills and correct PPEs to ensure that risks of exposure are significantly reduced.”
The service is very much embedded within the East Marsh area of Grimsby. This was due to the recognition the area has the highest level of poor health outcomes. By working with other agencies, it has allowed the service to reach out to those groups who can remain unnoticed and only present at crisis point. Through well-established networking with other TB services throughout the country and Public Health England the tracking and tracing of patients ensures those who have TB are able to link into a service within the area they move into.
Anybody can refer into the service, there is an electronic referral process which health professionals can use however referrals can also be made over the phone on 01472 256765.