A MOTHER has slammed a decision to not routinely screen for a potentially fatal infection her son battled as a baby.
Justine Baker was told to prepare for the worst as Harrison spent his first eight weeks fighting for his life after contracting Group B Strep.
Harrison pulled through and is now a healthy schoolchild.
But Mrs Baker, of Staplegrove Road, Taunton, was incensed when the National Screening Committee announced last week that women in the UK will not be offered a routine test during pregnancy, unlike many other countries.
She said: “What made Harrison’s case so heartbreaking was that we found out the infection was totally preventable.
“If women in the UK were offered a simple test, I could have found out I was a carrier and had antibiotics in labour – and Harrison would never have been so dangerously ill.
“We count ourselves very lucky as Harrison is now a happy four-year-old.
“However, sadly, this is not the case for many parents – most children that get GBS are either left with long-term disabilities or tragically die.
“I was completely dumbfounded and angry by the NSC decision, especially after 93% of people who responded to a consultation said the test should be offered.”
Jane Plumb, chief executive of GBS Support, said: “In countries where routine screening has been introduced, GBS infections in babies have fallen dramatically, while here in the UK they’ve continued to rise.
“The current situation in the UK is unacceptable.”