A study by TB Alert, on the needs of vulnerable patients during their TB treatment, has been published in the April 2015 Journal of Public Health.
Despite well-established treatment regimens, tuberculosis (TB) remains a public health burden; it disproportionately affects poor and marginalized populations who may not have access to social support, including migrants, homeless people and those dependent on drugs or alcohol. There is a clearly demonstrated need for housing and other appropriate social support, as part of a package of integrated clinical and social care. However, TB prevention and control efforts in the UK often do not address the specific vulnerabilities of these groups and it can be a challenge to support the continued TB treatment of these underserved populations. This challenge is exacerbated by complex issues concerning funding, immigration and the law. In this paper, we have reviewed current UK guidance and legislation, discussed several case studies and highlighted examples of existing models of community support for TB patients. Finally, we lay out our recommendations for ensuring a coordinated, whole system approach to successful TB treatment.