Hospitals Failing to Test for Deadly Pregnancy Bacteria Group B Strep

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10 February, 2021

Last week The Times reported on the issue of UK hospitals failing to carry out a test to check whether pregnant women have the potentially deadly bacteria Group B Strep, despite guidelines from Public Health England and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG). The test costs just over £10. The issue revolves around the process of checking. The advice is the enriched culture medium is best, but most trusts are using the direct culture approach, which according to a freedom of information request, had a higher rate of false negative results.

Group B Strep is the most common cause of infection in newborns in Britain. Whilst it is harmless in most pregnancies it is estimated that in 25% of pregnancies it can cause meningitis, blood poisoning and death.

In the UK it is estimated 800 babies a year develop the infection during the first three months of life, around 50 will die and 70 are left with life-changing disabilities.

Jane Plumb, chief executive of Group B Strep Support, is reported as saying: "There's no point in expert bodies like the RCOG producing clinical best-practice guidelines if they're not being adopted on the front line. Our research has found many trusts and boards are not giving pregnant women information on GBS, denying them an informed choice about their care.

"Equally worryingly, a majority are using the wrong test to look for GBS carriage, potentially leaving them vulnerable to expensive legal challenge if things go wrong."

The Group B Strep Support charity recommend all NHS trusts should inform pregnant women about GBS as a routine part of antenatal care, to ensure they are aware they should be tested, and avoid the serious consequences to their child if they have the infection.

Caring for a disabled child will have a serious impact on the family. They will need considerable support to ensure they get the best care and equipment.

If you've suffered due to clinical negligence, our clinical and medical negligence solicitors are here to help. We have a wide range of experience in the clinical negligence field.

At Forbes Solicitors, we understand that medical professionals work hard and deal with difficult situations every day. However, sometimes mistakes happen, and we believe that those who do experience clinical negligence deserve compensation for their suffering. Clinical negligence cases can be complex and long, however, we will be with you every step of the way with expert legal advice and knowledge.

Our clinical negligence solicitors are members of the Law Society Clinical Negligence Panels. We are also proud to be one of the few law firms in the North of England with a Legal Aid Agency Clinical Negligence Franchise. This accreditation is awarded to a small number of elite and highly qualified solicitors and means, in certain circumstances, we can apply for legal aid, now known as Legal Service Commission Funding, to help fight clinical negligence cases.

For more information contact John Bennett in our Clinical Negligence department via email or phone on 01254 872111. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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