MP calls for NHS testing to stop babies dying

Nicholas Soames with Dawn Abbots
Nicholas Soames with Dawn Abbots

Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames has renewed his call for routine treatment and testing for Group B Streptococcus (GBS) on the NHS.

Haywards Heath based charity ‘Group B Strep Support’ promotes better awareness and prevention of the life-threatening infection in newborn babies.

One in four women carry the bacterium and it can be passed from mother to baby at birth. Every year, GBS infects up to 700 babies and is the leading cause of sepsis and meningitis in newborn babies.

The infection is up to 90 per cent preventable with proper testing and treatment of pregnant women, which is already routine in the US, Canada, Australia and a number of European countries, including France and Germany. Mr Soames said: “Every mother-to-be should be advised about group B Streptococcus as part of her routine

antenatal care and I am very pleased to offer my staunch and on-going support to this important campaign.”

Haywards Heath mum, Dawn Abbotts, unknowingly carried GBS when she had her son Alex in 2000 at The Princess Royal Hospital.

She said: “GBS was detected shortly after Alex was born.

“He was then administered IV antibiotics and both he and I remained in hospital for over a week. If only I’d known then what I know now and I cannot believe that the UK does not test for GBS.”