GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK.
Most developed countries offer all pregnant women a GBS test late in pregnancy and then offer antibiotics in labour when the test result is positive, and have seen significant drops in the rates of GBS infection in newborn babies. In the UK, since 2003 we have used a risk-based approach to identify which newborn babies are most likely to develop GBS infection. If a risk factor arises, the mother is offered antibiotics in labour to reduce the risk of the newborn baby developing the infection. Our rate has risen.
GBS3 is a huge clinical trial of routine testing pregnant women for group B Strep (GBS) in the UK. It is designed to establish whether testing all pregnant women is better than the UK’s current approach. It will also compare two different testing approaches (ECM at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy or a PCR test in labour). The trial will involve 80 hospitals in England, Wales and Scotland, and will report its findings in 2023.
We at GBSS have been closely involved right from the start of this trial, and look forward to its results informing future GBS prevention policy in the UK.
Is my hospital taking part in GBS3?
NHS Trusts and Boards can still apply to participate in the GBS3 trial – hospitals can express their interest here. The GBS3 trial team is allocating hospitals to the 3 trial arms every month (overall, 40 will be allocated to standard care, 20 to ECM testing, and 20 to PCR testing in labour).
Below are the hospitals that have agreed to participate in the GBS3 trial (including which arm of the trial they’ve been allocated to). The GBS3 trial team is working with many hospitals, so if yours is not listed here, they may still be discussing their participation. Not all hospitals will be able to take part, but at least 80 should be able to.
Confirmed taking part:
- Chelsea and Westminster
- Coventry and Warwick
- County Durham and Darlington
- London North West
- Milton Keynes
- North Tees
- North West Anglia
- Royal Devon and Exeter
- South Tees
What can I do if my hospital isn’t taking part?
If your hospital is not taking part, please do write to your MP and ask them to encourage the hospital’s CEO to take part in this hugely important trial. Please get in touch with us if you need any further information.
For more information
There’s more information on the GBS3 Trial website here.