Sunday, 8 January 2012

Group B Strep Support Founder Awarded MBE

Jane Plumb, joint founder of charity Group B Strep Support, has been awarded an MBE in the 2012 New Year Honours List in recognition of her work to prevent potentially deadly group B Streptococcal infection in newborn babies.

Jane said: “I’m delighted to be awarded this honour by Her Majesty the Queen," said Jane. "I was stunned when I received the news. This award recognises the unswerving commitment of all Group B Strep Support’s many supporters and medical advisors over the last 15 years and that of my amazing family. I’m incredibly proud of everything we have achieved together so far. Sadly, there is still so much more we need to do. Babies will continue to suffer and die needlessly until routine antenatal care in the UK includes informing women about group B Strep and offering them sensitive testing late in pregnancy, as is done in so many other countries.”

Jane and her husband Robert started Group B Strep Support in 1996 just weeks after the death of their second son, Theo, from group B Strep infection. At the time there was no information available on group B Strep for parents, there were no UK guidelines on preventing group B Strep infection in newborn babies, and group B Strep was almost entirely unheard of among parents-to-be and many health professionals.

Today, Group B Strep Support supplies a range of leaflets for parents and health professionals throughout the UK. It works with the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, the National Screening Committee and other national bodies on improving guidelines on preventing GBS infection in newborn babies.

A recent opinion poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of Group B Strep Support revealed that nine out of 10 young women want a national screening programme to detect group B Strep (GBS) in pregnant women. A total of 92% of women surveyed believe screening should be routinely offered to women in the later stages of pregnancy. The same percentage would also like information on the infection to be given to all pregnant women, while 95% believe antibiotics should be offered in labour to women carrying group B Strep.

Jane is currently working on a petition to the Prime Minister asking that information and sensitive testing for group B Strep to be made freely available to all pregnant women routinely during their antenatal care. Please support the campaign by signing the petition at www.gbss.org.uk/epetition.

Jane added: “Recent UK research2 shows that testing pregnant women for GBS late in pregnancy, and treating all those whose babies are at higher risk of developing GBS infection, would not only save lives but would save the Government millions of pounds a year. GBS infection is usually preventable, and I want every mother to have the opportunity to protect her baby from it.”

Debbie Slater, Chair of Group B Strep Support, said "I am thrilled and extremely proud of Jane's award. It is certainly no less than she deserves. Jane's unrelenting dedication and unerring efforts during the last 15 years created Group B Strep Support and she has steered it to become the well-established and highly esteemed charity it is today. Jane always does over and above what is needed and approaches each day with the same positive spirit that she had when starting the charity.

"Jane's inherent kindness and special qualities are felt by everyone who contacts or supports the charity. She deals with tragic stories with amazing compassion. Jane's modesty is another reason why she deserves this award; she is always first to recognise everyone else's achievements and show so much appreciation for the efforts of others whilst shying away from the lime-light.

"Thanks to Jane's efforts and that of others, so many more people are aware of group B Strep and consequently lives are being saved. Unfortunately, others still suffer the consequences of GBS and we will continue to support these families and to strive for change so these tragedies can be avoided. Above all, Jane's never ending energy and inspiration drives the charity (and me) forward. Her selfless devotion has meant that GBSS has achieved so much.

Jane always manages to say the right things to fire my enthusiasm and zest to tackle things I would never have imagined possible. I love working with her and look forward to a lot more exciting times for Group B Strep Support during 2012."

For more information about group B Strep, contact Group B Strep Support, tel: 01444 416176 or go to www.gbss.org.uk