Meeting with the Minister

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!

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  • Well done with that meeting. I'm going to speak to Mr Obhrai in Staffs this week to see when would be a good time to meet. Anyone else out there who can contact their local area NHS Trust would be great! It looks as if one to one meetings are the way for now!

    Well done Group B Strep Support. We're all out here and right behind you!

  • Fabulous - one to one meetings are great!

    One of the points we made at the meeting with the Minister that seemed to make an impact was how the NHS doesn't offer sensitive testing at all - not only can't pregnant women access the 'gold standard' enriched culture medium testing but, despite it being the method described by the Health Protection Agency (BS 58), neither can their health professionals. And that health professionals in other countries with GBS prevention policies where they don't routinely screen do at least have that option.

    Perhaps worth highlighting to Mr Obhrai? And, of course, any help we can offer ....