NHS Newham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has won a prestigious award for its work with GP practices and community-based pharmacists in tackling tuberculosis (TB) in the borough.
The CATAPULT trial team from Queen Mary University of London, funded by Barts Charity, and the Clinical Effectiveness Group, have also been an integral part in the success of this programme.
The CCG won the Community or Primary Care Services Redesign (London and the South) award at the 2018 Health Service Journal (HSJ) awards for its Latent Tuberculosis Infection (LTBI) screening and treatment programme.
The programme has been reducing rates of TB in Newham since 2014 and was recognised at the annual HSJ Awards on 21 November 2018, at the Intercontinental O2 in London. There were more than 1,400 entrants in the 26 categories in this year’s awards.
For many years, Newham has had the capital’s highest rates of tuberculosis; higher even than those in some developing countries. One third of Newham’s population was born overseas, with many people coming from countries with high levels of TB.
This includes latent TB (LTBI), where a person has been infected with the bacteria but does not have an active infection. In around one in 10 of these cases, the person infected will in future develop active tuberculous which is contagious.
In 2014, the CCG launched its latent tuberculosis infection screening and treatment programme. It targets people aged 16 to 35 who have arrived in the UK in the past five years from one of the countries on a pre-defined high risk list.
Anyone who registers at a GP practice and meets the criteria is screened for LTBI. If the result is positive, the patient has a consultation with the GP and is treated treatment and compliance monitored by the accredited community-based pharmacies.
The GP sends an electronic prescription for a three-month programme to the chosen pharmacy and, importantly, the pharmacist then dispenses most of the treatment and monitors the patient’s progress. The programme is unique in being entirely based in primary care, which means greater choice for patients as well as reduced costs.
Since the LBTI programme launched, rates of TB in Newham have been steadily falling – from 78 per 100,000 in 2014 to 48.1 in 2017. This success has also helped reduce the TB rate in London, and nationally.
HSJ editor Alastair McLellan said: “Congratulations to Newham CCG on winning the Community or Primary Care Services Redesign (London and the South) award in the face of stiff competition from other entrants.
“In this historic year for the NHS we were inundated with applications demonstrating continued determination to deliver first class healthcare, harnessing the latest innovations while ensuring value for money. Newham CCG impressed our judging panel with evidence of their enduring commitment to excellence in healthcare.
“I hope that Newham CCG will be a source of inspiration for teams across the country as they seek to innovate and improve service provision. The HSJ Awards continue to be the gold standard awards.”
Dr Duncan Trathen, a local GP and lead on the CCG’s LTBI programme, said: “It is hugely satisfying to see our hard work on the Latent Tuberculosis Infection screening and treatment programme recognised at the HSJ awards and the fact that we won, against such strong competition, is testament to the impact the programme has had on TB rates in Newham and across the country.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in this project. It has been the strength of collaboration between all the different partners involved; primary care practices, the 16 accredited pharmacies and more, that has led to our the success.
“I would like to give special recognition to Ashmeed Aziz, Senior Transformation Manager here at the CCG, who has recently retired. His role was pivotal in bringing this programme to life.”
You can watch a short video on the programme: