Many expectant parents opt to have private scans during pregnancy, often in addition to their NHS screening scans, as an opportunity to buy 3D images, 4D video clips, find out the sex of their baby for “gender reveal” activities and share the experience with multiple family members or friends.
Others use private providers to access reassurance scans when they have concerns about their pregnancy, want to check the growth of their baby or gain a second opinion. A number of SoR members work in these clinics and provide diagnostic scans for expectant parents under clear protocols and guidelines.
Some private clinics provide only “souvenir scans” where the aim is to simply provide pictures and/or video images of the baby.
Despite guidance suggesting that scans should not be performed solely for the purpose of producing souvenir images or videos1,2 many new souvenir scan clinics are opening in the UK. A number have been rated as “inadequate” or “needing improvement” by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
To help ensure that services are as safe as possible for expectant parents, the SoR has been working with the CQC and the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) to find ways to inform parents about the difference between souvenir and diagnostic scans and the qualifications needed for safe practice.
The CQC has updated the information for parents on its website. The SoR has also developed competencies for private baby scan clinics. These can be used by the clinics to self-assess the standard of training and competency of staff, but also by CQC inspectors when monitoring clinics.
There are a number of key points in the document to protect the expectant parent, such as:
The competencies cover equipment, quality management and safety, infection prevention and control, quality assurance and learning, early pregnancy and all three trimesters of pregnancy.
The document, Competencies for Ultrasound Practice in Private Baby Scan Clinics, can be found in the SoR document library at www.sor.org/babyscans
Image: Marko Geber/ DigitalVision/Getty Images
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