HC Deb 26 February 2004 vol 418 cc562-3W
Mr. Hancock

To ask the Secretary of State for Health when testing using enriched culture media will be available in the NHS for diagnosing group B streptococcus colonisation in pregnant women. [156556]

Dr. Ladyman

The recently published National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) clinical guideline on antenatal care recommends that pregnant women should not be offered routine antenatal screening for group B streptococcus (GBS) because evidence of its clinical effectiveness and cost-effectiveness remains uncertain.

The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (NSC) is currently reviewing the prevention of GBS infection in new-born babies. As part of this review, the NSC organised a workshop in November 2003. The workshop discussed both the current tests available and potential tests for diagnosing GBS colonisation in pregnant women which are the subject of research now under way. This includes the enriched culture medium test. Further work on the use of different tests will be undertaken.

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