Yesterday, Prof Philip Steer (chair of the charity's medical advisory panel), Mrs Philippa Cox (consultant midwife on the charity's medical advisory panel) and I met with Dr Dan Poulter, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health, and Dr. Dame Sally Claire Davies DBE, Chief Medical Officer in Whitehall to talk about group B Strep prevention. We were encouraged by their knowledge, interest and commitment to reducing the incidence of group B Strep infection in newborn babies.
It was an interesting discussion, which covered the recent National Screening Committee's review of antenatal screening for group B Strep and their decision not to offer this to UK women, the different test methods for detecting group B Strep carriage, the hope for a GBS vaccine in the future and improving relevant health professionals' and expectant parents' knowledge and awareness of group B Strep and its prevention.
While remaining convinced that screening is the best way to reduce the impact of group B Strep on newborn babies, we hope to work with Dr Poulter and his officials to improve healthcare professionals’ and expectant mothers’ understanding of group B Strep and how it can be detected and infection prevented.
As I said, it was an interesting discussion - the proof of the pudding will of course be in what happens next ... we'll keep you posted!