Tuberculosis (TB) Prevention and Control Program

Tuberculosis (TB) is a disease caused by infection with the bacteria (germ) Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. TB can damage a person’s lungs or other parts of the body and cause serious illness.Health Care Providers are encouraged to refer persons with signs and/or symptoms of TB for specialist consultation.  Free treatment of TB is accessed through TB Services. Specialist TB clinicians are available to liaise with General Practitioners (GPs) and other health care providers.

TB Prevention and Control program is an area service – Mid North Coast (MNC) and Northern NSW (NNSW) Local Health Districts.

Under the Public Health Act (1991) doctors are required to notify TB to the Public Health Unit (PHU).  The TB service is a clinical service accessed through the PHU which can provide valuable assistance in the investigation and management of persons suspected of having TB.  It is preferred that TB notification is on provisional clinical diagnosis. 

TB services are available through the North Coast. Outpatient clinics, sometimes called Chest Clinics, are held on a regular basis at Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Lismore and Tweed Heads. For urgent TB matters TB services are provided at other times and at other sites.

An appointment is required for TB Services at all sites – phone the nearest PHU to make an appointment on 1300 066 055 during business hours. A doctor’s referral is not routinely required.

  • TB Clinical Nurse Specialists: Kirsty Browne and Kristin Agnew-Ryan
  • Specialist Medical Officers: Dr Robert Nickels, Dr Pradeen Mudholkar and Dr Geoff Williams
  • TB Coordinator: Sue Devlin, Nurse Practitioner
TB Services
  • Assessment of persons suspected of having TB
  • Free treatment of persons with TB disease
  • Coordination of Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) – DOT is a NSW Health requirement
  • TB related pathology and radiology services
  • Coordination of TB contact tracing and screening of contacts
  • Free treatment and/or monitoring of persons with latent TB infection
  • Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST) and BCG vaccination*
  • Assessment and screening of persons referred from the Commonwealth Health
  • Undertaking Service (Department of Immigration)
  • Tuberculosis education
*BCG Vaccination
  • NHMRC (1) and NSW Health (2) recommendations apply
  • BCG vaccination is only available in NSW through TB services
  • TST is required immediately prior to BCG vaccination (excluding babies under 6 months) and the TST provider must have had competency assessment through TB services
  • Overseas travellers: For maximum protection BCG should be given at least 3 months prior to departure
  • Charges apply for BCG not recommended by NSW Health

(1) National Health and Medical Research Council, 2008 – The Australian Immunisation Handbook; (2) NSW Health Policy Directive BCG Vaccination.

For further information relating to Tuberculosis please see Controlling TB in NSW or the NSW Ministry of Health Occupational, Screening and Vaccination website.

Resources

Services available at these locations

Port Macquarie

 

Phone 02 6588 2750

Lismore

 

Phone 02 6620 7585