HSIB publishes group B Strep impact report

on 16 July 2020

The Healthcare Safety Investigation Branch (HSIB) has published a report into the impact of group B Strep (GBS) as part of a series of maternity investigations across the country.

The report said that some women were not receiving information on GBS during pregnancy, with eight women saying they received information but it was insufficient.

It was also highlighted that some women in early labour whose newborn babies were at risk of contracting GBS were encouraged to stay at home for as long as possible

The report also said that positive GBS test results were not communicated to the woman or noted clearly on her record.

Commenting on the report, Executive Director for Professional Leadership at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM), Birte Harlev-Lam, said: “There is much to learn from this latest report. Its recommendations cover what midwives and those working in maternity services already know as best practice when caring for pregnant women with group B Strep. It is therefore disappointing that some women were not receiving enough information on group B Strep from their midwives during pregnancy.”

In the conclusion report, HSIB recommended that Trusts providing maternity care should consider the report’s findings and make changes to local systems to ensure women and babies receive care in-line with national guidelines.

Chief Executive of Group B Strep Support (GBSS), Jane Plumb, said: “Some of these tragedies may have been prevented if, for example, all expectant women were routinely provided with the information leaflet co-written by the RCOG and GBSS and if our ‘GBS alert’ stickers were routinely used on the hand-held notes for all women known to be at higher risk of their newborn baby developing GBS infection.”

The HBIS report can be found here.