New group B Strep injury code will drive improvements in maternal care

Following a campaign by Group B Strep Support, NHS Resolution (which handles clinical negligence claims) has introduced a series of learning codes to improve identification of injuries suffered by babies around birth and in the early months of life.

The new learning codes include for the first time an injury code for group B Strep infection – which is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies.

"The new learning codes are designed to increase data accuracy and improve the safety of maternal and neonatal care in the future. The codes will help us to work with NHS Trusts to monitor the level of claims, identify trends and highlight learning themes to inform future work that will drive improvements," commented Denise Chaffer, director of safety and learning at NHS Resolution.

Minister for patient safety, Nadine Dorries, added: “Strep B infections can have a devastating impact on mothers and their newborns, and can be entirely preventable. These new learning codes will provide valuable insight into what more can be done, as we strive to make the NHS the safest place in the world to give birth. Alongside this improved data, we are already funding a large-scale clinical trial to understand whether universal screening for Group B Strep can save the lives of more babies.”

Group B Strep Support published the report, The cost of group B Strep infection, in 2018 which found that GBS clinical negligence represents a significant burden to families and their babies, emotionally and financially. Although data on GBS clinical negligence claims were not collected by NHS Resolution at that time, the charity estimated that clinical negligence claims relating to group B Strep cost the NHS in England around £10 million a year.

Individuals affected by group B Strep infection, who believe they have received negligent care, can contact the charity’s expert Legal Panel.