11 April 2016
The Confederation of Meningitis Organisations (CoMO) has supported its newest member, Group B Strep Support (GBSS), in a movement to improve preventative measures against Group B Streptococcus (GBS), following the release of the National Maternity Review. The letter was addressed to the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Care Quality, Mr Ben Gummer, and the Chief Medical Officer, Prof Dame Sally Davies, and was co-signed by 17 charities, including CoMO. GBSS commends the review for its personal approach to antenatal issues, yet criticizes its exclusion of the most common cause of serious infection in new-born babies and meningitis in babies under 3 - Group B Streptococcus.
On average in the UK; one baby a day develops GBS infection, one baby a week dies from GBS infection, and one baby a fortnight recovers from their GBS infection with disability. These statistics demonstrate a clear requirement for improvements to the National Maternity Review and all aspects of antenatal care to include information about GBS so that mothers can make informed decisions regarding themselves and their new-born child’s safety.
In countries that have adopted antenatal GBS screening into their maternal routine, there have been impressive reductions in the instances of GBS infections in new-born babies. Therefore, GBSS urged the UK National Screening Committee to review its policy on antenatal GBS screening to protect the most vulnerable age group in our society. Additionally, GBSS, with the backing of relevant charities, has suggested comprehensive education and training for health professionals working in maternity and the provision of all tests to correctly detect GBS as part of routine antenatal care.
CoMO welcomes the opportunity to support its members when encouraging an increase in preventative measures against meningitis and other serious infections or diseases. It is hoped that this letter will encourage developments in antenatal care to be inclusive of measures to protect mothers and babies from serious threats to health, such as GBS and meningitis.
To read the letter on the GBSS website please click here.