All new entrants from Ukraine aged over 11 should be offered tuberculosis (TB) symptom screening, the Government has said.
New UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) advice for primary care on dealing with arrivals from Ukraine also recommended vaccination against TB for those under 16 who are tuberculin negative and without a history of BCG vaccination.
The Government said to ‘offer TB symptom screening, chest X-ray and sputum assessment for all new entrants from Ukraine aged over 11 years old’.
It added: ‘[Latent TB infection] LTBI screening is recommended within two years in line with NICE guidance (CG 33), where this is commissioned.
‘Offer vaccination against TB for those aged under 16 who do not have a history of BCG vaccination and are tuberculin negative.’
The guidance added that even if the first screening is negative, is it important in the long-term to keep an eye on symptoms of TB within Ukrainians.
Clinicians should make it clear that treatment is free and can largely be provided on an outpatient basis, it said.
Ukraine has one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world and the fourth-highest TB incidence rate out of 53 countries in the World Health Organisation (WHO) European region, according to UKHSA.
Previously, UK arrivals from Ukraine would be subject to pre-entry screening for active pulmonary TB disease for visas lasting more than 6 months.
The guidance also said primary care professionals should:
- ensure new adult and child entrants from Ukraine are up to date with the UK immunisation schedule, with a particular focus on measles and polio vaccines;
- ascertain any risk factors for hepatitis B infection that may indicate the need for screening;
- offer screening for hepatitis C and HIV because of higher prevalence in Ukraine than in the UK.
It added: ‘Soon after individuals and their families arrive in the UK from Ukraine, they should be supported to register with a GP practice and attend a new patient consultation to assess their health and care needs.
‘There may, however, be several interactions with the NHS (including in primary care) before GP registration takes place and all health care professionals have a role to help support access to NHS services.’
The Government previously confirmed Ukrainians will be guaranteed free access to NHS healthcare including GP appointments, urgent care centres, and hospitals.
Last month, The Pharmacist reported that Ukrainian pharmacies were suffering 'severe' medicine supply issues due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.