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Hospital to tackle Tuberculosis among Brum’s homeless

IMG_1168Heartlands Hospital’s infectious diseases team are hitting the streets to screen the city’s homeless for Tuberculosis (TB), who are often among the hardest to reach and most difficult to treat.

With Birmingham having some of the highest rates of TB in the country, the department has teamed up with local partners to provide additional provision for patients more prone to contracting TB, like the homeless.

The team is extending its services by joining forces with homeless and alcohol misuse charity, SIFA Fireside to open a new community screening clinic in the charity’s premises on Allcock Street.  Having easier access to screening, this will facilitate earlier diagnosis and treatment of the condition. This specialist nurse-led clinic, which is due to open at the end of April 2014, will be held on at least two Thursday mornings of each month and will offer health checks for TB including a blood tests and chest x-rays.

Heartlands Hospital’s infectious diseases consultant, Dr Martin Dedicoat, said: “TB mainly affects certain high risk groups like the homeless.  There are several factors that lead to the homeless, particularly in large industrialised urban areas, like Birmingham, being vulnerable to contracting TB.  The homeless may well flit between hostels and the streets so the disease can be spread more easily, and as this group of people might have poorer nutrition, this can also lead to poorer health and susceptibility to the condition.  It is hoped that by extending out Heartlands Hospital’s service to target some of the groups that might find it harder to access them, this will go some way in reaching those that are most in need of screening and treatment.”

For further information, contact Heartlands Hospital’s infectious diseases team on 0121 424 2357.

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