Taunton Mum spearheads campaign to save new-borns
By abbie_taunton | Friday, October 12, 2012, 16:36
A Taunton mum is campaigning for changes to NHS advice and procedure after a deadly infection was passed on to her new-born son.
Justine Baker's son Harrison, now four, who nearly died of GBS
Group B Strep (GBS) is a harmless bacterial infection commonly found in women but can be deadly for newborn babies.
The infection can be treated easily but currently the UK does not have a policy demanding pregnant women must be tested.
Taunton Deane mum and Councillor Justine Baker is spearheading the campaign locally after her son was born with the infection:
"When my son Harrison was born 4 years ago he became extremely ill within hours of being born," She said, "and within 8 hours of his birth was fighting for his life in neonatal at Musgrove Park Hospital.
"He was my second child and so you would have thought we had heard about GBS before but neither me or my husband had ever heard of it"
"If it wasn't for the quick thinking of a neonatal doctor at the hospital who decided to give him antibiotics as a precaution he would not be alive today.
"Harrison spent the first few weeks of his life fighting for his life and us as parents could do nothing other than watch in utter despair.
"We were one of the lucky ones as he survived and without any long term problems, sadly this is often not the case for babies that get the infection.
GBS is one of the biggest killers of new-born babies in the UK, but sadly many people have never heard of it or the heartache it can cause for families.
Group B Strep Support has been calling for a change in the advice given and now there is an opportunity for every parent to comment on the public consultation and make a real difference and help save babies lives.
Justine believes the charity should be more widely recognised and is campaigning tirelessly to raise awareness for mum's everywhere.
She said: "After the support we received as a family from the charity, Group B Strep Support we wanted to help raise awareness of this infection.
"It is also important that we campaign for the test to be offered routinely for women.
"During pregnancy women are offered tests for a number of diseases and infections so why not GBS?"
A public consultation about GBS is being done by the UK Screening Committee this year so parents who share Justine's concerns can have their opinions heard.
Justine is urging Somerset parents to take the time to tell the NCS that the test should be offered routinely.
She added: "I would not want any other family to go through what we went through, so please take the time to respond to the public consultation."
If you want to support the GBS campaign you can find the full details at www.gbss.org.uk. The public consultation ends on October 23.