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Northumberland hospital chosen to take part in a national Strep B clinical trial

Wednesday, 04 August, 2021
Northumberland hospital chosen to take part in a national Strep B clinical trial

An innovative hospital in the heart of Northumberland has been chosen to take part in a national clinical trial set to improve testing for pregnant people.

The Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, ran by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, has been chosen as one of the first hospitals in the UK to take part in a national trial which will offer rapid screening for Group B Streptococcus (GBS3) to pregnant people.

The trial will gather evidence on whether a universal screening program is both clinically and cost effective and whether testing pregnant people for Group B Streptococcus reduces the risk of infection in new-born babies. Pregnant people coming into the hospital will be asked to give consent to be part of the trial and will be able to decline if they chose.

Hospitals involved in GBS3 trial have been randomly allocated to one of two testing groups: A Lab Based Test at three to five weeks before the anticipated delivery date (Enriched Culture Medium Testing) and the Bedside Test at start of labour (Intrapartum Rapid Testing).

The Northumbria hospital, based in Cramlington Northumberland, has been chosen to take part in the Bedside Test which requires a swab to be taken during labour. The swabs are instantly put into a machine where results can be available within one hour. If the result is positive for group B Strep, the mother will be offered antibiotics immediately.

Jenna Wall, head of midwifery at Northumbria Healthcare said, “It’s fantastic that we’ve been chosen to take part in this trial. Group B Strep, or Strep B as it is sometimes known, is a common bacteria that doesn’t normally cause harm and a lot of people don’t know they carry it. But if a baby is exposed to it during childbirth, there is a very small chance of that baby becoming seriously ill or even dying.

“It’s hoped that the results of this trial will determine if universal testing should be introduced to improve the chance of Strep B being identified early and to reduce the risk of infection.”

Northumbria Healthcare is one of 80 hospitals in the UK to be involved in the trials ran by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU) at the University of Nottingham and will begin its involvement in the trial in August 2021.

The study will use information routinely collected by the NHS which will all be linked together using NHS/CHI numbers in a database kept by the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit (NCTU).

To find out more about the trial please go to: https://www.gbs3trial.ac.uk/home.aspx.


Kimberley Waugh, media assistant, kimberley.waugh@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk, 07967812355


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