MSPs have called for "definitive action" on testing for a preventable infection in pregnancy after hearing emotional evidence from a mother who lost her newborn son to meningitis.

A petition lodged by Shaheen McQuade with the Scottish Parliament after the death of her son Zach in August last year has attracted more than 12,700 signatures.

Zach was less than two weeks old when he died of meningitis, brought on by an infection called Group B Strep passed to him during labour.

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Ms McQuade told Holyrood's Public Petitions Committee a simple swab would have identified the bacteria in the birth canal, allowing antibiotics to be administered and her son's life to be saved.

She is calling for every pregnant woman to be routinely tested and made aware of the risk of Group B Strep infection as well as for more funding to find more reliable methods of testing.

Ms McQuade told MSPs: "Zach was not given the right to live. I've been denied the right to have my son in my life and watch him grow up. Instead I have been sentenced to a lifetime of heartache.

"To lose a baby is devastating, to know it could have been prevented is torture. This has to change.

"I think it's neglect, the NHS took a gamble with my son's life and they lost. I don't want any other parents or families to suffer what we have had to go through."

An earlier petition on the same issue was closed by MSPs in May last year after the Scottish Government said it would redraft the Ready Steady Baby! booklet given to pregnant women to include more information on Group B Strep, but Ms McQuade said she had never been given or heard of such a booklet.

Independent advisory body the UK National Screening Committee is also reviewing the evidence on Group B Strep screening of pregnant women.

Committee convener Michael McMahon said: "This is done in other countries and it has been proven to be successful in other countries and why we appear to be, in the vernacular, swinging the lead when it comes to actually making progress on this, hiding behind arguments that there isn't a particularly good test, well, let's find a test, let's invest the money to get the test so that we can make sure that it works properly.

"We have to make sure that action is taken on this because while we've been waiting on a review taking place Shaheen, and I've no doubt other people, have suffered the tragic loss of their child when it could have been avoided. If this committee says anything at all, we should say that that is not acceptable."

Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw said there appeared to be a "lack of urgency to find a way forward".

Committee members agreed to write to press the Scottish Government on what action is being taken to address the issue.