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That this House notes that since the introduction of the Royal College of Obstetricians' and Gynaecologists' current risk factor-based strategy in 2003, the number of Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infections reported to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has increased by almost a third, representing a 32 per cent increase over nine years; further notes that GBS now affects one in every 1,000 newborn babies, killing 75 and permanently disabling 40 more each year; recognises that GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK and Ireland; welcomes the UK National Screening Committee's (NSC) public consultation and the fact that this is the first time in 12 years their review of GBS screening has been opened for comment from the public; conveys its continued disappointment at the lack of awareness surrounding this condition that one in four women carry; urges the Department of Health to introduce routine Enriched Culture Medium (ECM) screening at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy for all women in the UK; further recognises that although the ECM test is the HPA's gold standard of testing for GBS, it is currently only used in 1 per cent of NHS trusts and only available privately otherwise at a cost of £35; expresses its continued concern that the current direct plating method of testing available for GBS is only 50 per cent reliable and produces false negatives and, while direct plate testing is offered at booking in pregnancy, this is proven not to be the optimum time to test for GBS carriage; further notes that screening is routinely offered in the USA, France, Spain and Australia, who have seen a huge reduction in infection rates by 86, 71, 86 and 82 per cent respectively; and is alarmed at the NSC's extremely selective collection of statistics, which do not include figures relating to miscarriages, stillbirths or late onset of GBS and which includes only statistics for England and Wales.
Total number of signatures: 38
Showing 38 out of 38