All pregnant women should have Group B Streptococcus screening – The Wellington Educational Lecture: infections in obstetrics and gynaecology debate
On 27 May at the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Philip Steer gave a barnstorming speech setting out the case for group B Strep screening being offered to all pregnant women. This educational lecture, organised by the Obstetrics & Gynaecology Section of the Royal Society of Medicine, was attended by health professionals interested in obstetrics and gynaecology, as well as some of the team from Group B Strep Support.
Prof Steer, Emeritus Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Imperial College London and Chair of Group B Strep Support’s Medical Advisory Panel, was debating Dr Austin Ugwumadu, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust.
The debate was the climax to a fascinating evening – Prof Steer and Dr Ugwumadu each had 15 minutes to make their case. Before the debate, the audience was asked to vote for or against the motion. At that point 66% voted in favour of all women having GBS screening, and 34% against.
After the debate and time for questions, 96% voted in favour of all women having GBS screening, with only 4% voting against.
It was so encouraging to see so many health professionals won over by Prof Steer’s arguments, which rested on the key facts, offering women informed choice and the availability of good preventative medicine. Sadly this debate will not mean a change to national policy, but it does send an important message to the decision makers that key health professional believe pregnant women should be offered screening for group B Strep. Change is needed.
(An honourable mention must go to Dr Ugwumadu, who presented the case against screening very clearly.)