Jane Plumb MBE says she is “devastated” by a national decision not to introduce routine screening of pregnant women for the Group B Streptococcus (GBS) infection, which can be life threatening to new-born babies.
Jane, from Lindfield, lost her new-born son Theo to the infection and has campaigned tirelessly for screening on the NHS through her charity ‘Group B Strep Support’ but the UK National Screening Committee has just decided not to introduce a screening programme.
Group B Streptococcus is the UK’s most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies. It is a normally harmless bacterium carried by up to 30 per cent of the population and most babies are not affected by it. However, when it does cause infections,it can cause death, meningitis and blood-poisoning.
Jane said: “The decision not to recommend routine screening is devastating news. Every year, hundreds of newborn babies suffer illness, disability and death due to group B Strep.
“This decision means yet more babies will suffer. I am heart-broken for the babies who are condemned to suffering preventable group B Strep infection and for all the trauma that will bring. We will keep fighting on.
“In countries where routine screening has been introduced, GBS infections in babies have fallen dramatically, while here in the UK they have continued to rise.
“I am at a loss to understand why the Committee refuses to see that the current situation in the UK is unacceptable and that the introduction of routine screening is the best way forward.”
Screening is supported by eminent doctors and midwives across the UK as well as parents who supplied moving statements to the committee