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Oliver Thorne, a specialist clinical negligence lawyer, has welcomed the Government’s announcement that a meningitis vaccine is to be offered to all babies by the National Health Service.

“I have been a clinical negligence specialist for almost 10 years and have encountered a number of meningitis cases during that time. Meningitis B is a serious condition. If it is left untreated it can have catastrophic consequences. A freely available vaccine for meningitis B is long overdue. Just a couple of weeks ago was I was consulted by a family who have been devastated by the effects of meningitis. I am shocked that GP’s and Hospitals are still failing to diagnose and treat the condition,” said Oliver.

Meningitis is an infection of the protective membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by bacterial or viral infection.

Bacterial meningitis is the most serious form of the disease. It is caused when bacteria from an infection enters the bloodstream and septicaemia occurs. It can have catastrophic or even fatal consequences if it is not urgently treated with antibiotics.  Children under five years of age and teenagers are most at risk.

Viral Meningitis is the most common form of the condition. Its symptoms can often be mistaken for flu.

The Government’s announcement that all babies in the UK will soon be vaccinated against meningococcal B (MenB) disease as part of the national childhood immunisation programme follows a recommendation by the Joint Committee on Vaccines and Immunisations. The vaccine will be offered to babies at 2, 4 and 12 months of age and is expected to be available from September 2015. It is already available in the UK to those who have an increased risk of the disease due to other medical conditions.

“Unfortunately, like a number of antibiotic treatments, the delay in providing the Meningitis vaccine through the NHS was due to funding constraints,” said Oliver.

Symptoms of meningitis include a fever, with cold hands and feet, vomiting, pale blotchy skin and sometimes a rash, a stiff neck and a severe headache.

Failure by GPs and hospitals to diagnose and treat meningitis can give rise to a claim for medical negligence. If you are affected by a failure to diagnose or treat this condition it is important to consult a specialist clinical negligence lawyer.

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Meningitis B vaccine is to be offered to babies