21st December 2018

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the finding of the recent Group B Strep Support report that cases relating to group B Strep cost the NHS £40 million in compensation, what steps his Department is taking to (a) improve prevention of and (b) reduce instances of clinical negligence relating to that infection.

Jacke Doyle-Price, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Mental Health, Inequalities and Suicide Prevention: The Department is aware of the recent Group B Strep Support report, published in December 2018, regarding clinical negligence costs incurred by the National Health Service relating to cases of Group B Streptococcus.

The Department notes the report’s recommendations regarding adherence to guidelines, which reinforce the Department’s expectation that all health professionals adhere to the relevant National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance and consider that provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as specifically mentioned in the report.

The Healthcare Safety Investigations Branch (HSIB) has now been established and begun rolling out its approach to investigations of unexplained severe brain injury, intrapartum stillbirths, early neonatal and maternal deaths in England so that the NHS learns from what went wrong and uses this to prevent future tragedies. The HSIB will involve families and are in the process of developing an effective family engagement service.

NHS Resolution fully supports improving greater and earlier recognition of this very serious infection in neonates, establishing an early notification scheme for severe harm in maternity in 2016, and reviewing all cases of possible brain injury reported to them, prior to the receipt of a claim.