Background: TB remains a significant problem in the UK with the West Midlands having the highest incidence after London. Treatment is usually for a minimum of 6 months and requires a high level of compliance. We investigated potential determinants of delays and completion of treatment for tuberculosis (TB) in the West Midlands, UK.
Methods: We used data on 4840 patients with TB in the West Midlands from the Enhanced Tuberculosis Surveillance database from 1 January 2005 to 1 October 2010. We used regression models to investigate the cross-sectional association between sociodemographic and clinical risk factors and the timeliness and completion of TB treatment.
Results: Patients with TB waited 82 days on average from symptom onset to treatment initiation. Female patients spent 6% longer time than males before receiving treatment [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-11.6%, P = 0.015]. Asian/Asian British patients were 11 times more likely to complete treatment than White patients (adjusted odds ratio: 11.4, 95% CI: 1.31-100.3, P = 0.028).
Conclusions: Females in the West Midlands took longer time to receive TB treatment than males, representing a health inequality that could be addressed through gender-sensitive awareness raising programmes. White patients were less likely to complete treatment than Asian/Asian British patients; additional support is needed in this group.