The inaugural Sir John Crofton Prize for TB nursing has been awarded to a team of nurses in Hackney. The ceremony took place at the Royal Society of Medicine's annual TB conference on 18 March.
The £500 prize, created by charity TB Alert and the TB Action Group, was awarded to the Homerton Hospital TB nursing team for their work in supporting homeless migrants with TB. Using a mixture of community, primary and secondary care services, they increased the treatment completion rate for the target group from 1.6% to 91.4% in just a year.
Sue Collinson, a case worker for the Homerton Hospital TB team said: 'Housing a homeless person for the duration of their TB treatment gives that individual the same chance to be cured as somebody that is already housed; prevents the spread of disease to other vulnerable people; and gives dignity to the patient.'
The runner up prize, worth £250, was awarded to the Cardiff TB Control Unit for their work increasing the uptake of screening for TB in overseas students. Working with the University of Cardiff, they provided on-campus testing facilities and sent email and text appointments and reminders to students from high incidence areas. Under this approach, uptake of TB screenings increased from 25% to 92% over two years.
Mike Mandelbaum, chief executive of TB Alert said 'TB Specialist Nurses play a crucial role in meeting the TB care and control objectives set out in England's Collaborative TB Strategy 2015-2021. This award will raise their profile on the national stage and inform and inspire colleagues across the sector.'
Peter Wrighton-Smith, chief executive of Oxford Immunotec, who sponsored the awards, said: 'Since the launch of England's TB strategy in January this year, it has become apparent that a stronger approach to TB control is needed. The Sir John Crofton Prize highlights, rewards and encourages those nurses who tackle TB with compassion using innovative ideas. Oxford Immunotec is proud to stand alongside TB nurses in our goal of eliminating TB as a public health concern worldwide.'
World Tuberculosis day is 24 March, and aims to raise awareness of the public health challenge that TB poses.