23rd January 2017

Sir Nicholas Soames MP joins Jane Plumb MBE; CEO of Group B Strep Support, Matthew Pennycook MP, Mr and Mrs Paddon [constituents of Matthew Pennycook] and other parents affected by group B Strep, to deliver 250,000-Strong Petition to the Department of Health calling for action to protect newborn babies.

Sir Nicholas Soames, who is a Patron of GBSS, said; “For too long the UK has trailed behind our peers on how we reduce group B Strep infection in babies. Yet more and more families every year are suffering the devastation that avoidable group B Strep infection can bring.

“I applaud Fiona and Scott for their brave work, following the tragedy of their son’s death from group B Strep infection, to get the Department of Health to see sense. We must change what we do – by informing all expectant parents of group B Strep, and offering women the opportunity to be tested in pregnancy – to reduce these awful infections in newborn babies.
“I’m delighted that Fiona and Scott are working closing with the charity, Group B Strep Support, of which I am Patron, who work tirelessly to achieve this aim.
“If we continue what we’ve always done, we will get what we have always got – and in the UK that is a higher than necessary and rising number of potentially avoidable group B Strep infections in newborn babies, resulting in too many families suffering unnecessarily the trauma of infant death, disability or illness.”

Their petition calls on the Secretary of State for Health; Jeremy Hunt MP, the Chief Medical Officer for England; Professor Dame Sally Davies and the Chief Executive of Public Health England, Dr Duncan Selbie, to ensure sensitive testing for group B Streptococcus (GBS or Strep B) carriage is routinely and freely available for all pregnant women in the UK. Routinely offering these tests could prevent over 80% of GBS infections in newborn babies born to women carrying the bacteria.