2009 FASD Statements from Government, MPs and Peers

 

Stewart Maxwell (West of Scotland) (SNP):

To ask the Scottish Executive how many and what percentage of babies in each deprivation quintile were discharged in each year since 2001 with a diagnosis of foetal alcohol syndrome, broken down by NHS board.

Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

Question S3W-26104

National data on babies born with congenital anomalies are collected centrally in Scotland using a range of administrative NHS and GRO databases. Data are published routinely on a number of individual anomalies such as Neural Tube Defects and Down’s syndrome, with recording considered to be sufficiently robust for reporting statistics comparable to those produced by other UK and European Congenital Anomaly Registries.

Foetal alcohol syndrome, although recorded as a condition on the central databases, does not form a category that is routinely reported in Scotland. There will be an unknown level of under-reporting on the current system as, although foetal alcohol syndrome is present at birth, it may not be ascertained until later and may not be recorded unless the baby requires admission to hospital subsequent to the birth episode.

Available information on singleton babies born in Scotland with foetal alcoholsyndrome for the years 2001 to 2006 (most recent available) is shown in the following table. It has not been possible to provide a breakdown by deprivation quintile and NHS board due to the very small numbers. Further background information is also attached.

Singletons Born in Scotland and Detected1,2,3 with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome4,5 at Birth or During Infancy: Numbers and Rates per 1,000 Births by Year of Birth: 2001-06

CCCCCC” cellpadding=”2″ cellspacing=”0″ width=”75%”>

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006P
Number 5 4 2 10 3 5
Rate per 1,000 0.09 0.07 0.03 0.17 0.05 0.09

Source: Linked Maternity Catalog and SMR Linked Catalog, Ref: IR2009-01815 (data produced October 2008).

P. The data for 2006 should be considered provisional at this time.

Notes:

1. The information given relates to each year of birth ending 31 December, and is based on babies born between January 1997 and December 2005.

2. Anomalies have been located from the diagnostic summaries contained within the linked source data comprising profiles of neonatal and inpatient hospital discharge records, stillbirth notifications and death registrations.

3. All infants followed up from birth for a period of one year to allow detection of anomalies from hospital inpatient records or General Register Office death registrations.

4. Using diagnosis code Q86.0 from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – Tenth Revision (ICD-10)

Stewart Maxwell (West of Scotland) (SNP):

To ask the Scottish Executive at what points in a child’s development foetal alcohol syndrome may be diagnosed and what the statistics are for each such point in each deprivation quintile in each year since 2001, broken down by NHS board.

Nicola Sturgeon Scottish National Party

The research base for diagnosing foetal alcohol syndrome is still being developed but current evidence indicated a number of different points in a child’s development at which foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) can be diagnosed, up to the age of 12. Although FAS diagnosis can be made at birth, it can be easily missed if the clinical team is not alerted to look out for the diagnosis of alcohol exposed pregnancies.

National data on babies born with congenital anomalies are collected centrally in Scotland using a range of administrative NHS and GRO databases. Data are published routinely on a number of individual anomalies such as Neural Tube Defects and Down’s syndrome, with recording considered to be sufficiently robust for reporting statistics comparable to those produced by other UK and European Congenital Anomaly Registries.

Foetal alcohol syndrome, although recorded as a condition on the central databases, does not form a category that is routinely reported in Scotland. There will be an unknown level of under-reporting on the current system as, although foetal alcohol syndrome is present at birth, it may not be ascertained until later and may not be recorded unless the baby requires admission to hospital subsequent to the birth episode.

Available information on singleton babies born in Scotland with foetal alcoholsyndrome for the years 2001 to 2006 (most recent available) is shown in the following table. It has not been possible to provide a breakdown by deprivation quintile and NHS board due to the very small numbers. Further background information is also attached.

Singletons born in Scotland and detected1,2,3 with foetal alcohol syndrome4,5 at birth or during infancy: numbers and rates per 1,000 births by year of birth: 2001-06

CCCCCC” cellpadding=”2″ cellspacing=”0″ width=”75%”>

2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006p
Number 5 4 2 10 3 5
Rate per 1000 0.09 0.07 0.03 0.17 0.05 0.09

Source: Linked Maternity Catalog and SMR Linked Catalog. Ref: IR2009-01815 (data produced October 2008).

Notes:

1. The information given relates to each year of birth ending 31 December and is based on babies born between January 1997 and December 2005.

The data for 2006 should be considered provisional at this time.

2. Anomalies have been located from the diagnostic summaries contained within the linked source data comprising profiles of neonatal and inpatient hospital discharge records, stillbirth notifications and death registrations.

3. All infants followed up from birth for a period of one year to allow detection of anomalies from hospital inpatient records or General Register Office death registrations.

4. Using diagnosis code Q86.0 from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems – Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/spwrans/?id=2009-08-17.S3W-26096.h&s=foetal+alcohol#gS3W-26103.q3


Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Health written question – answered on 3rd July 2009.

Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many babies have been diagnosed as having foetal alcohol syndrome in each year since 1997.

Gillian Merron Minister of State (Public Health), Department of Health

Analysis of Hospital Episodes Statistics (HES) data on the number of babies ‘diagnosed’ with Foetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) at birth shows that there are approximately 20 such babies diagnosed each year. This is not the number of babies actually born with FAS: it is widely recognised that many cases of FAS are only diagnosed later in childhood, and hence will not be identified through the national HES database, or may remain undiagnosed as children with learning or behavioural difficulty of unknown cause.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2009-07-03b.283427.h&s=foetal+alcohol


Special Educational Needs and Disability (Support) Bill

Prayers – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 15th May 2009.

Mary Creagh Labour, Wakefield 10:38 am, 15th May 2009

Another group of at-risk mothers are those who do not realise that they are pregnant, turn up at the hospital believing that they have appendicitis, and then discover that they are having a baby. I have met one such mother. These women do not alter their social behaviour as women tend to when they know that a baby is on the way, and are not able to take care of the child while it is in the womb. We are seeing an increase in the number of cases of foetal alcohol syndrome, which, in extreme cases, damages children’s facial characteristics. It may also be very difficult to spot that a child is carrying a learning disability alongside the physical damage that it suffered in utero.

Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children)

What the hon. Lady is saying is very interesting. I recently visited a home for foetal alcohol-damaged children in Copenhagen, and I think that the condition could well be responsible for many more disabilities than has been acknowledged—some of which may have been attributed to autism, which displays similar characteristics. I feel that it merits a great deal more investigation.

Mary Creagh Labour, Wakefield

I agree that we are dealing with a massive hidden problem. It is, in fact, the problem of maternal shame. We all want to do the best we can for our children. We all love our children. The possibility that something we did during pregnancy may have damaged our beautiful child, either at birth or at a later stage, is not something that most mothers—and fathers—I know would willingly contemplate.

I have dealt with the nature and scale of the birth-related problems. Let me now turn to the business of tracking a child’s subsequent development. There has been a huge increase in the number of children’s centres that can work sensitively and supportively with mother and baby in terms of early diagnosis and intervention. It is not a case of a child’s arriving at school at the age of five and there being “something wrong” with it, so that the situation becomes school versus mother. It is a case of a health visitor’s saying “Hmm. He is not sitting up quite as early as he should be”—or not walking, speaking or listening as early as he should be—and working with parents to help them to understand the nature of the damage that may have been caused.

Many people who are active in the foetal alcohol syndrome charity are adoptive parents. In the most extreme cases, the natural parents are alcoholics, their alcoholism has continued, and their children will go into care. It is the adoptive parents who are the champions and campaigners, and I fully understand the reasons for that.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2009-05-15b.1106.0&s=foetal+alcohol#g1130.2


Midwives

– in the Scottish Parliament at 5:01 pm on 6th May 2009.

Richard Simpson Labour 5:11 pm, 6th May 2009

The other problem is alcohol. Foetal alcohol syndrome was first diagnosed by Dr Peter Whatmore, a colleague with whom I worked in Cornton Vale prison. We discovered that a number of the babies who were born to women in the prison had unusual features. Foetal alcohol syndrome is now well recognised. As I am sure the minister will tell us, research is to be commissioned to determine the number of babies who are born with foetal alcohol syndrome, because we still do not know the numbers involved.

Shona Robison Scottish National Party 5:45 pm, 6th May 2009

I reassure members—specifically Mary Scanlon and Richard Simpson—that the programme has the support of all stakeholders, including the National Childbirth Trust. It plays well into risk assessment early in pregnancy, which enables early intervention for those who require additional medical or social support that is—crucially—tailored to their needs and delivered by the most appropriate professional. The evidence tells us that that is the way to proceed, whether we are dealing with foetal alcohol syndrome or the low birth-weight issues that Angela Constance identified. I reassure members that women who wish to continue to have their GP as first point of contact will be able to do so; there is no question about that. It is important to recognise that, and I hope that I have reassured members. The programme is positive, and it would be unfortunate to present it as anything other than that.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2009-05-06.17128.0&s=foetal+alcohol#g17143.0


Drug and Alcohol Misuse

– Scottish Parliament written question – answered on 27th March 2009.

Karen Whitefield Labour

Question S3W-21957

To ask the Scottish Executive, in relation to the recommendations in Hidden Harm – Next Steps: Supporting Children Working with Parents , what action is being taken to highlight the consequences of alcohol use in pregnancy and the possibility of foetal alcohol syndrome.

Shona Robison Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government has introduced a new NHS target on screening for alcohol misuse and delivering brief interventions to patients whose drinking may be putting their short and/or long-term health at risk. We have specified antenatal care as one of the priority settings for implementation.

We significantly increased funding to NHS boards for specialist alcoholtreatment and support services from £10 million in 2007-08 to almost £25 million in 2009-10, with further increases to follow. First call on these resources is to deliver the brief interventions target.

The number of cases of fetal alcohol syndrome diagnosed each year is low, but it is thought that a greater number go undiagnosed. We have therefore given a commitment to arrange a survey of the incidence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in Scotland. We are currently taking forward plans to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the scope and scale of the project.

I refer the member to the answer to question S3W-21978 on 27 March 2009. All answers to written parliamentary questions are available on the Parliament’s website, the search facility for which can be found at http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/Apps2/Business/PQA/Default.aspx.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/spwrans/?id=2009-03-27.S3W-21957.h&s=foetal+alcohol#gS3W-21957.q0


Alcohol Strategy

– in the Scottish Parliament at 10:21 am on 26th March 2009.

Christine Grahame Scottish National Party 10:58 am, 26th March 2009

One problem that we have not addressed is that some of our young Scots suffer from alcohol even though they have had no part in taking it. I am speaking of foetal alcohol syndrome, which was raised with the chief medical officer when he briefed the Health and Sport Committee. It is a great tragedy, not only for the mother but for the staff who deliver a baby who already has alcoholwithdrawal symptoms. It is trite but true to say that the healthy mothers who have healthy and responsible pregnancies give children the best start, which continues throughout life. I welcome the survey on foetal alcohol syndrome that is proposed in the framework because it will be a wake-up call to society. Nobody can sit back and say that society should sustain a situation in which babies are born with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/sp/?id=2009-03-26.16211.0&s=foetal+alcohol#g16222.0