Hoyer UK Ltd helps baby charity

A baby charity called Group B Strep Support has been given £500 by transport company Hoyer UK Ltd following a request by one of the training instructors that work at the company. Group B Strep Support is a UK charity set up to prevent GBS infection in newborn babies.

Hoyer UK Ltd (the Huddersfield based transport company with a depot in Coryton) has donated £500 to baby charity Group B Strep Support, following a request from Hoyer Driver Training Instructor, Gary Wilkes.  Gary, who became aware of the charity after a friend’s baby tragically died from this infection, nominated Group B Strep Support following one of Hoyer UK’s regular “safety sprint” schemes.

Allan Davison, Divisional Director on Hoyer’s Shell Fuels Contract, said “The aim of our sprint schemes is to encourage safe behaviour though incentivising the drivers and rewarding positive behaviour. This is the first time the rewards have gone to drivers’ nominated charities – and it really has worked. Hopefully our donation can go some way to assisting Group B Strep Support in raising awareness about this terrible disease.”

Susan Gregory, Trustee of Group B Strep Support, received the cheque from Mr Wilkes, Jonathan Lawrence and Sam Davidson (all from Hoyer UK Ltd).  Susan said, ”Group B Strep is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies and yet most pregnant women haven’t heard of it.  Group B Strep Support is a small charity and receives no Government funding – this donation is very much appreciated.  It is great Gary nominated us and we are so pleased to have been selected.  We will use the donation to help raise greater awareness so that more of these tragedies are prevented.”

Carrying group B Strep is harmless, but it can cause infection, most often in newborn babies before, during or shortly after birth – thankfully, this happens relatively rarely.  Without prevention, around 700 newborn babies would develop GBS disease a year and, even with the best medical care, up to 10% of babies die from their GBS infection and some survivors will suffer serious long-term disabilities as a result.

“Most group B Strep infections could be avoided.  But it seems unlikely that GBS testing will be available on the NHS in the near future,” said Susan Gregory.  “Every pregnant woman should be informed about GBS, yet most people have never heard of it.  This ignorance is causing babies and their families needless suffering.”

Group B Step Support is campaigning for pregnant women to be routinely informed about GBS as part of their antenatal care and for GBS-specific testing to be freely available to all pregnant women.  This is standard practice in other western countries, which have seen the incidence of group B Strep infection in newborn babies fall by approximately 80%.  In the UK, the incidence has been rising.

GBSS have just launched a petition http://www.gbss.org.uk/epetition which already has over 2,300 signatures.  If it gets more than 100,000 signatures, the subject should be debated in the House of Commons.

Hoyer UK Ltd’s generous donation will help Group B Strep Support raise greater awareness of just how effective prevention measures are.

Left to Right: Jonathan Lawrence (Hoyer), Susan Gregory (Group B Strep Support), Sam Davidson (Hoyer) and Gary Wilkes (Hoyer)

Group B Strep Facts

  • GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infection in newborn babies in the UK.  Without any screening, it is estimated that 700 newborn babies would develop GBS disease.  Up to 10% of babies infected with GBS die and some survivors will suffer serious long-term mental or physical disabilities as a result.
  • Evidence shows that using sensitive testing of pregnant women – and giving intravenous antibiotic injections during labour to those at higher risk of passing on the bacteria – would prevent up to 80% of all GBS infections in newborn babies.  At present only 3,000 or so women are tested each year in the UK using this test – less than 0.5% of pregnant women.
  • GBS is a normal bacteria carried by up to 30% of adults.  It can be passed from mother to baby during labour. For most babies this causes no problems: for others it’s deadly, causing blood poisoning and meningitis.
  • Sensitive tests for GBS are only readily privately in the UK and from a handful of NHS hospitals.  Packs containing the necessary swabs can be obtained free, and a postal service for carrying out the test costs around £32.  More information is available at www.gbss.org.uk/test

For more information on GBS or the charity, please visit www.gbss.org.uk

Posted by Emily Richardson

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