The MP for Chesterfield and Staveley, Toby Perkins, has joined calls for hospitals to take part in pioneering trials to protect newborn babies from the bacteria Group Strep B.

Group B Strep (GBS) is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK, causing sepsis, meningitis, and pneumonia. Roughly 800 babies a year develop GBS infection in the UK. Approximately 70 of these sick babies die, and another 50 recover with life-changing disabilities.

The GBS3 Trial, funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, is exploring whether routinely testing pregnant women for group B Strep is more clinically and cost-effective than current risk-based care. This trial needs 80 hospitals to take part, but only 33 have signed up.

Following on from letters an emails received from concerned constituents, Toby wrote to Chesterfield Royal Hospital about this earlier this year. Following this, Toby raised this issue at a meeting with leadership within the hospital that confirmed that they won’t be taking part.

In parliament, Toby also joined ‘Group Strep B Support’ to discuss their work of the organisation and take the opportunity to learn more about what can be done to fight this bacteria.

Toby Perkins MP said “It was great to meet with the Group Strep B charity and see the work they have been doing to raise awareness of the risk that the bacteria can cause in babies. It is vital that we progress trials so that we can determine the best way to prevent and treat when it occurs.”

He continued “I sent a letter recently to Chesterfield Royal Hospital to raise the case of trials and the need for more hospitals to take part. Sadly, they confirmed that they weren’t taking part in the trial. I will continue to raise this issue with the hospital and the need to protect newborn infants from complications brought with Group Strep B. Be assured that I will continue to join the many across Chesterfield and Staveley in raising awareness of the risks that Group Step B can have in young infants.”

During Group B Strep Awareness Month, the charity is encouraging people to raise awareness of group B Strep among pregnant women, as part of their #BumpItOn campaign.

Jane Plumb MBE, Chief Executive and founder of charity Group B Strep Support, said: “This is a now or never moment. Without having robust evidence, policy won’t change and the GBS3 trial is absolutely the best and probably only shot at being able to get the evidence to affect change. I’m calling on hospitals to sign up to the GBS3 trial, so we can end these devastating and preventable infections in babies.” Find out more about group B Strep at gbss.org.uk

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