A LINDFIELD mother has been recognised in the New Years Honours after the heartache of losing her second son spurred her on to found a national charity.
Jane Plumb, joint founder of charity Group B Strep Support, has been awarded an MBE for her work to highlight the risk of the potentially deadly Group B Streptococcal (GBS) infection in new-born babies.
Jane and her husband Robert started Group B Strep Support in 1996, just weeks after the death of their second son, Theo, from the infection.
Theo was born at the Princess Royal Hospital and was transferred to the Trevor Mann Baby Unit at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton but could not be saved, despite the best efforts of skilled doctors and nurses.
At the time, there was no information available on GBS for parents and there were no UK guidelines on preventing the infection in new-born babies. Risks from the infection were almost entirely unheard of among parents-to-be and many health professionals.
Today, Jane’s charity supplies a range of leaflets for parents and health professionals throughout the UK and works with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, the National Screening Committee and other national bodies on improving guidelines.
Jane said she was “stunned” to be honoured with an MBE, adding: “This award recognises the unswerving commitment of all Group B Strep Support’s many supporters and medical advisors over the last 15 years and that of my amazing family.
“I’m incredibly proud of everything we have achieved together so far. Sadly, there is still so much more we need to do. Babies will continue to suffer and die needlessly until routine antenatal care in the UK includes informing women about GBS and offering them sensitive testing late in pregnancy, as is done in so many other countries.”
A recent opinion poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of Group B Strep Support revealed that nine out of ten young women want a national screening programme to detect GBS in pregnant women.
Jane is working on a petition to the Prime Minister asking for information and sensitive testing for GBS to be made freely available to all pregnant women routinely during their antenatal care. Please support the campaign by signing the petition at http://www.gbss.org.uk/epetition