Links are provided here to activity within the Scottish Parliament concerning group B Strep – Motions, Public Petitions Committee and Parliamentary Questions.

If you haven’t already, please ask your MSP to support better awareness and prevention of group B Strep infections in newborn babies in Scotland. If you don’t know who your MSP is, click here to find out (you’ll need your postcode).

Motions about Group B Strep

Motions are submitted by MSPs for debate in the Scottish Government. They also allow MSPs to draw attention to an event or cause and they register their support by signing individual motions. The most recent Motion is:

Awareness of Group B Streptococcus – That the Parliament notes with concern what it understands is the lack of public awareness regarding group B streptococcus (GBS) and the effects that it can have on newborn babies; understands that, in the UK, GBS infects over 500 babies every year and that 340 will develop early-onset GBS infection and one in 10 of them will die; believes that the incidence of early-onset GBS infection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained unchanged since prevention strategies were first introduced in 2003 and that, in Scotland, it has increased from 0.21 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 0.47 in 2012; understands that many countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany and Spain, offer routine testing for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy; notes that, although the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not recommend routine testing, the Scottish Government is not bound by this approach, and notes calls for the Scottish Government to introduce guidelines so that hospitals in the west of Scotland and beyond provide expectant mothers with information regarding GBS and either offer routine testing or provide information on how testing can be accessed privately.
Awareness of Group B Streptococcus – That the Parliament notes with concern what it understands is the lack of public awareness regarding group B streptococcus (GBS) and the effects that it can have on newborn babies; understands that, in the UK, GBS infects over 500 babies every year and that 340 will develop early-onset GBS infection and one in 10 of them will die; believes that the incidence of early-onset GBS infection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained unchanged since prevention strategies were first introduced in 2003 and that, in Scotland, it has increased from 0.21 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 0.47 in 2012; understands that many countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany and Spain, offer routine testing for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy; notes that, although the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not recommend routine testing, the Scottish Government is not bound by this approach, and notes calls for the Scottish Government to introduce guidelines so that hospitals in the west of Scotland and beyond provide expectant mothers with information regarding GBS and either offer routine testing or provide information on how testing can be accessed privately.
Group B Strep Awareness Month That the Parliament welcomes July 2014 as Group B Streptococcus (GBS) Awareness Month; notes the risk that is associated with GBS carriers and pregnancy, which can pass on the infection, which is commonly carried without harm by many people but can lead to serious infection in infants during birth if a pregnant mother happens to be a carrier; understands that approximately 700 infants will be born in the UK with GBS in 2014 and that this can be prevented by GBS testing for mothers and treatment with intravenous antibiotics during labour, especially if a previous child developed GBS shortly after birth; believes that the risk to infants who contract GBS is very serious and that infection can lead to death and permanent medical complications such as long-term disability; notes the dangers that exist as a result of the reported growing resistance of GBS to clindamycin, a medication that is essential for pregnant mothers who are allergic to penicillin, and further notes petition PE1505 regarding GBS in pregnancy, which was discussed by the Public Petitions Committee on 18 March and is scheduled to be discussed again on 17 November, which calls for a requirement for patients to be informed about the risk of GBS.
Awareness of Group B StreptococcusThat the Parliament notes with concern what it understands is the lack of public awareness regarding group B streptococcus (GBS) and the effects that it can have on newborn babies; believes that, in the UK, GBS infects over 500 babies every year; understands that, of these babies, 340 will develop early-onset GBS infection and one in 10 of them will die; believes that the incidence of early-onset GBS infection in England, Wales and Northern Ireland has remained unchanged since prevention strategies were first introduced in 2003 and that, in Scotland, it has increased from 0.21 per 1,000 live births in 2000 to 0.47 in 2012; understands that many countries, including the USA, Canada, Germany and Spain, offer routine testing for GBS at 35 to 37 weeks of pregnancy; notes that, although the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists does not recommend routine testing, the Scottish Government is not bound by this approach, and welcomes public petition, PE 01505, Awareness of Strep B in Pregnancy and Infants, which was lodged by Jackie Watt from Kilwinning and asks the Scottish Government to introduce guidelines advising that all expectant mothers should be given information about GBS and be offered either routine testing or given information on where they can be tested privately.
Group B Streptococcus – That the Parliament acknowledges the recently published report by the charity, Group B Strep Support, that highlights the health benefits and cost savings associated with routine sensitivity tests for pregnant women whose newborn baby is identified at low risk of developing group B streptococcus (GBS); understands that an estimated one in every 277 babies born is infected by GBS, a bacterium that is harmlessly carried by approximately 21% of pregnant women in the UK but can become dangerous to newborn babies on exposure at birth when their immune system is at its weakest and lead to diseases and complications such as septicaemia, pneumonia and meningitis; considers that there are benefits of introducing GBS testing for pregnant women, which allows intravenous antibiotics to be offered during labour, reducing the risk of the baby developing severe complications and becoming infected; understands that many countries, including the USA, Spain and Australia, have introduced screening programmes to identify GBS and have witnessed radical improvements, with infections in newborns falling by over 80% in the USA; considers that there are significant cost savings associated with implementing a universal screening test, as health economists at the University of Birmingham have estimated that £633,000 would be saved for every baby death avoided and £45,000 would be saved per disease avoided, and therefore supports introducing GBS testing in Scotland.

Public Petitions Committee

In February 2014, Jackie Watt lodged a petition calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to introduce new guidelines advising that all expectant mothers are given information about Strep B and are either screened for Strep B as a matter of routine or given information on where to go if they wish to be tested privately. All of the key information is available by clicking here.

Parliamentary Questions about Group B Strep

Question S4W-18508: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what targets it has set for long-term reduction in the number of cases of group B streptococcus infection in babies in the first (a) six and (b) 90 days of life.

Question S4W-18507: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to increase awareness of the signs of group B streptococcus infection in newborn babies.

Question S4W-18506: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to increase awareness among (a) pregnant women and their families and (b) maternity care health professionals of group B streptococcus infection and how to avoid such infection developing in babies.

Question S4W-18505: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what plans it has to analyse group B streptococcus infection rates.

Question S4W-18504: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what recent analysis it has carried out of adverse antibiotic reaction to intrapartum antimicrobial prophylaxis using narrow-spectrum penicillin to combat group B streptococcus infection in newborn babies.

Question S4W-18503: Nanette Milne, North East Scotland, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party, Date Lodged: 21/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government when it last met stakeholders to discuss group B streptococcus infection rates.

Question S4W-18502: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that pregnant women whose babies are at higher risk of group B streptococcus infection are identified.

Question S4W-18501: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what information it collects on the (a) short and (b) long-term impact on babies of group B streptococcus infection.

Question S4W-18500: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to reduce the incidence of the (a) early and (b) late onset of group B streptococcus infection in pregnancy.

Question S4W-18499: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what guidance it issues regarding testing for group B streptococcus infection in late pregnancy, and when it last reviewed the guidance.

Question S4W-18498: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what recent meetings it has held to discuss group B streptococcus infection.

Question S4W-18497: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 20/11/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that enriched culture medium testing for group B streptococcus infection in pregnancy is available in each NHS board.

Question S4W-15632: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the impact of the 2003 Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists guideline, The Prevention of Early-onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Disease, on the incidence of group B streptococcal infections in newborn babies in Scotland and what it expects the impact will be of the 2012 update.

Question S4W-15631: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to make testing of pregnant women in Scotland for group B streptococcal infection as described in UK Standards Microbiology Investigations: Processing Swabs for Group B Streptococcal Carriage available on request, and what the timetable is.

Question S4W-15630: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to educate health professionals about the suitability of different tests for group B streptococcal carriage.

Question S4W-15629: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government how many NHS microbiology laboratories follow the UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations: Processing Swabs for Group B Streptococcal Carriage.

Question S4W-15628: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 12/06/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government what the reported incidence of (a) early and (b) late onset group B streptococcus infection has been in each year since 2003.

Question S4O-02192: Margaret McDougall, West Scotland, Scottish Labour, Date Lodged: 22/05/2013 – To ask the Scottish Government whether it will introduce a group B streptococcus screening programme for pregnant women.