Following on from last week’s Full Council meeting when Cllr Graham Green and I moved a motion regarding our concern about TB in Birmingham, the matter was discussed again at yesterday’s Health and Adults Scrutiny Committee. A full report was presented to the committee by the city’s Director of Public Health and at the end of the discussion there was cross party agreement for the committee to do a more detailed review into this subject once our review into delayed discharges is complete.
When the Government stopped the BCG vaccination programme for teenagers, back in 2005, they laid down some guidelines for situations when the BCG vaccination would be offered. One of these is to “infants in communities with an average incidence of tuberculosis of at least 40 per 100,000”.
There are three PCTs in Birmingham. In South PCT the current level is 27 cases per 100,000 head of population. In BEN it is 43, and in HOB the current rate is 99.2 per 100,000 – more than double the threshold stated above. The average for the city as a whole is over 40 per 100,000 and yet – despite the 2005 guidance – we were told that all babies in the city (or even all babies in the HOB area) are NOT being vaccinated as the 2005 guidelines indicated they would be.
It could well be that some TB experts feel the rate of 40 per 100,000 threshold is arbitary, but the fact is it remains government policy.
There is an article on the subject of TB in Birmingham in today’s Birmingham Post, and with a review now planned, this is clearly a subject which will remain in the public eye over the coming months.