A CAMPAIGNING mum said she is disappointed with information uncovered about Colchester’s policy on screening for a rare infection which can cause complications to newborn babies.
Su Newton nearly lost her daughter Emily to the rare infection GBS when she was born and has campaigned for screening of the illness.
She submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust relating to the trust’s policy on screening for GBS.
Mrs Newton, 44, of Worsdell Way, Colchester, said: “Sadly the response was not positive. The trust adopts a risk-based approach to screening.
“Women are not offered any information on GBS at their midwife appointments and only if GBS is detected as an incidental finding will IV antibiotics be offered in labour.
“They do not recommend routine screening for GBS and, therefore, do not offer the gold standard enriched culture medium test swabs.”
Mrs Newton added: “This is all so frustrating. The charity Group B Strep Support, for which I am proud to be an ambassador, aims to provide information to health professionals as well as pregnant women. But the most direct route for pregnant women is through their midwife, some of whom are misinformed about GBS or simply have to follow guidelines.
“I had never heard of GBS before my daughter was affected by it. Had I been aware that I could have paid for a private test, I would have done so.”
Emily, now five, spent a fortnight in hospital after being born with Group B Strep.
Philippa Greenfield, consultant obstetrician, said Colchester trust’s guidance was in line with current national guidance, which states women should not be routinely screened for GBS during pregnancy.
She explained: “GBS disease in the newborn is a relatively uncommon condition affecting 0.5 out of 1,000 births in the UK.
“The maternity department at the trust follows the evidencebased Royal College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists guidance.
Antibiotics are offered to all women in labour who test positive in pregnancy for GBS or who have had a previous baby affected.
“We would also assess each woman in labour as to her risk of GBS disease and offer antibiotics where they are considered appropriate.”