Group B Strep is the UK’s most common cause of severe infection in newborn babies. It can cause sepsis, pneumonia, and meningitis. Most babies with a Group B Strep infection will make a full recovery if treated. However the infection can cause lasting life changing problems like hearing loss or loss of vision and in the most severe cases Group B Strep can prove to be fatal.

Most Group B Strep infections in the first three months of life could be prevented with appropriate screening of pregnant mothers and early antibiotic intervention where appropriate. 

However a recent investigation by the Group B Strep Support charity has found nearly 90% of hospitals in the UK are not using the recommended test for Group B Strep – a test which costs just £11.

The charity's report discovered that many trusts persist in using a direct culture test, which has a higher rate of false negatives when testing for the bacteria in late pregnancy as opposed to an “enriched culture medium” which is more accurate.

The report found that guidance produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists on Group B Strep, which was last updated in September 2017, is not being followed. Even in terms of the most important recommendations around giving pregnant women Group B Strep information and offering testing where appropriate.

The inconsistency in the standard of care for Group B Strep screening from hospital trust to hospital trust is resulting in preventable infections in newborns going undetected and putting those babies at avoidable risk of serious harm.

If you have concerns about the treatment which you or a loved one has received, please contact a member of our national clinical negligence team for a free, confidential discussion:-

  • Carolyn Lowe, Partner (Oxford/London/Bristol/Milton Keynes) on  0186 578 1019 
  • Karen Reynolds, Partner (Derby/Stoke on Trent/Birmingham/Manchester/Liverpool) on 0845 274 6830
  • Jane Williams, Partner (Nottingham/Leicester/Sheffield/Leeds) on 0845 272 5724

Although we are, for the time being, not able to meet clients in person, our specialist clinical negligence team at Freeths is here to support and advise clients. We are available for meetings and consultations via telephone, email, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Skype and any other digital platform that works for you.