Review of the tuberculosis nurse workforce
Commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) in partnership with Health Education England and the Department of Health, this report aims to build a clearer understanding of the location, number, functions, skills and competences of the tuberculosis (TB) nurse workforce. Our report has found the following:
- The CfWI estimates that there are approximately 500 people working as a TB nurse within the NHS, based on indicative data we obtained from PHE.
- There is no clearly defined career pathway into TB nursing.
- There are no national guidelines for TB nurses to follow in terms of the competencies required for different nurse bandings.
- There is mixed support by management for TB nurses, for example some nurses felt well supported by management whilst others felt that management did not understand their role.
- There is no national network or information sharing point.
- NHS should host TB services, but closer links with PHE are needed so that nurses can develop more public health awareness.
- There are various workload issues relating to complex TB cases, latent TB and low numbers of nurses covering large areas.
- There is confusion about where the TB teams sits within a trust.
The report also makes a number of short and long-term suggestions for commissioners to consider over the next one to three, and three to five years.