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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.


Answered by Michael Matheson (26/06/2013):

As set out in the answer to question S4W-15628 on 26 June 2013, the number of laboratory confirmed reports of early onset invasive group B streptococcal infections has not changed significantly over the last four years (2009- 2012), for which data collection is complete. Figures for 2013 are provisional, based on reports received up to mid-June and will change as more data, including retrospective reports, are received throughout the year.

Current practice for testing for Group B Streptococcal (GBS) infection in Scotland is based on the current Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists ‘Green-top’ guideline updated in July 2012 and current testing methods in Scotland, as for the rest of the UK, are based on the culture of the organism as described in the Health Protection Agency’s document UK Standards for Microbiology Investigations-Processing Swabs for Group B Streptococcal Carriage.

The revised RCOG guideline looked at whether all pregnant women should be offered bacteriological screening for GBS. The guideline states that there is currently no conclusive evidence that routine antenatal screening would reduce mortality rates and that it could carry disadvantages for the mother and baby including: anaphylaxis; increased medicalisation of labour and the neonatal period; and possible infection with antibiotic-resistant organisms, particularly when broad-spectrum antibiotics such as amoxicillin are used for prophylaxis.

The approach recommended is on risk-factor basis only, therefore pregnant women in Scotland are not currently routinely offered testing for Streptococcal Group B infection as part of their antenatal care.

All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at:

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/28877.aspx.


Current Status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 26/06/2013