6th July 2017

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what progress his Department has made on reviewing UK National Screening Committee guidance on Group B strep prevention; and if he will make a statement.

Mr Philip Dunne, Minister of State for Health: The United Kingdom National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the National Health Service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy, using research evidence, pilot programmes and economic evaluation; it assesses the evidence for programmes against a set of internationally recognised criteria. Guidance on early onset neonatal Group B Streptococcus (GBS) and other neonatal disease is provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Following the UK NSC’s meeting in February 2017, the Minister accepted the UK NSC’s recommendation that a population based screening programme for GBS carriage should not be offered. This is because there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate that the benefits to be gained from screening would outweigh the harms.

Although a population screening programme has not been recommended, the Chief Scientific Advisor recommended that the National Institute of Health Research should commission a clinical trial to compare universal screening for GBS against usual-risk based care. The Minister approved this and it is expected that the trial will provide better quality evidence to assess the clinical effectiveness, benefits and harms of a screening programme.

Grouped Questions: 2420

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