Enriched Culture Medium Test

Oral Answers to Questions — Health – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 21st March 2017.

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Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex 12:00 am, 21st March 2017

If his Department will take steps to introduce the enriched culture medium test for group B streptococcus for pregnant women; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

My right hon. Friend will be aware that Public Health England published a paper in June 2015 precisely on this subject, but it concluded that within the currently accepted clinical guidelines there are no clinical indicators for testing women using enriched culture medium methods. This test is not, therefore, recommended for routine use at present.

Photo of Nicholas Soames Nicholas Soames Conservative, Mid Sussex

My hon. Friend will be aware from his reading of the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit report that the incidence of group B strep has increased by 30% over the last 15 years. Does he agree that this matter has gone on for far too long, and that the Government must come to a conclusion to prevent further tragedies?

Photo of Philip Dunne Philip Dunne The Minister of State, Department of Health

As my right hon. Friend will be aware, the UK National Screening Committee is reviewing the evidence for antenatal screening, including the use of enriched culture medium tests for group B streptococcus, following a public consultation. I understand that its recommendation will be published very soon, and I assure him that I will consider the recommendation very carefully and write to him with my view.