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Cunningham Urges NHS Tayside to inform and protect parents from Group B Strep

The SNP's Roseanna Cunningham, Member of the Scottish Parliament for Perthshire South and Kinross-shire, has today, Thursday 1st of August, written to NHS Tayside chief executive Gerry Marr, to ask what measures NHS Tayside are putting in place to protect families from the heartache of Group B Strep.
In Scotland the incidence of reported cases of Group B Strep infection has risen from 0.21 per 1,000 live births in 2001 to 0.47 per 1,000 live births in 2012. In 2012, the UK National Screening Committee decided not to recommend routine screening of all pregnant women for Group B Strep. Reports suggest that while Group B Strep infection rates continue to rise in Scotland, they are falling in countries where the offer of screening is routine.

Speaking today, Ms Cunningham said:

"Group B Streptococcus is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in new-born babies and it is estimated that around a third of women carry the Group B Strep infection, without being aware of the implications of it. I have written to NHS Tayside today to ask what steps they are taking to inform women of the dangers of this infection, as well as what options are available to them for testing."

"Group B Strep is a relatively simple infection to test for and antibiotics given in labour reduces the chance of the infection being passed on to babies by over 90%. Without preventative medicine, 1 out of every 300 babies born to women carrying the Group B Strep infection would become seriously ill, 10% of these sick babies will die and survivors will suffer life-long consequences."

"I feel that it is vital that NHS Tayside make clear to families and health professionals the potential dangers of this infection and I sincerely hope that they will introduce routine testing for it."

"Scotland is a leading light in creating a society which values and recognises the importance of having a healthy start to life. Having routine testing for this infection would add to Scotland being recognised as one of the best places to grow up".

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design