Are you an agency sonographer working in fetal anomaly screening?

Published: 26 April 2017 Ezine

Public Health England Screening has published a blog outlining the criteria required for sonographers working in fetal anomaly screening.

The blog states that all ultrasound practitioners, including those employed via agencies, must meet these criteria before undertaking the first trimester Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s screening as part of the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (FASP).

Any practitioner undertaking a fetal anomaly ultrasound scan should hold, as a minimum, one of the following:

  • Certificate/Diploma (as appropriate) in Medical Ultrasound (CMU/DMU) of the College of Radiographers (CoR) with evidence of appropriate continuous professional development (CPD)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Medical Ultrasound (PgCert) approved and validated by a higher institute of education and accredited by the Consortium for Sonographic Education (CASE) or equivalent (the qualification should be relevant to obstetric ultrasound practice)
  • Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG)/Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) Diploma in Obstetric Ultrasound or the Advanced Training Skills Module (ATSM)

Practitioners must also complete the following e-learning resources:

  • Screening for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes (this new resource focuses on supporting women to make a screening decision that is right for them and should be completed every 24 months)
  • nuchal translucency (NT) training resource (this resource supports practitioners undertaking the ultrasound component of the combined screening test and should be completed every 12 months)

Both e-learning resources are on Health Education England’s (HEE's) e-learning for Healthcare website.

Find out details on how to register here

Nigel Thomson, the SoR’s Professional Officer for Ultrasound, said: “All sonographers should read and comply with the requirements stated in the FASP blog.

“The FASP requirements are in place to ensure that screening is able to meet the published standards for screen positives and detection of the screened for conditions.

“The requirements apply to individual sonographers, agencies providing staff and the departments themselves.”

The blog also provides advice for managers and service providers

Screening providers must check that their last Down’s syndrome quality assurance support service (DQASS) submission was green or amber flagged. Practitioners should have a copy of their most recent DQASS report.

Providers must work with practitioners to make sure image review is undertaken and appropriate action is taken as specified in the FASP ultrasound practitioners handbook.

Once all the above criteria are satisfied, there should be a process for ongoing regular image review and submission of data to DQASS, as is the requirement for other ultrasound practitioners.

You may also want to read the recent sonography workforce supply review commissioned by the Department of Health and HEE.