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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.

Answered by Michael Matheson (03/12/2013):

(a) The Scottish Government funds NHS Health Scotland to develop and publish “Ready, Steady, Baby” a guide to pregnancy which is given to all pregnant women at their first booking appointment with a midwife. “Ready, Steady, Baby” advises, that in some areas, routine testing for Strep B in mothers is being considered and women should ask their midwife about local policy.

(b) There are no specific national educational initiatives commissioned by the Scottish Government about the suitability of different tests for group B streptococcal carriage.

Healthcare professionals will have to demonstrate knowledge, skills and competence relevant to their profession during their undergraduate and postgraduate training, including in areas of diagnosis and appropriate treatments. It is also a professional obligation that such staff participate in continuous professional development activities in order to keep their knowledge and skills up-to-date.

In the absence of specific national educational initiatives, healthcare staff are expected to follow professional guidance from their respective Royal Colleges, such as the recently revised guidance “The Prevention of Early-onset Neonatal Group B Streptococcal Disease” from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, issued in June 2012.

Current Status: Answered by Michael Matheson on 03/12/2013