Updates to the Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme handbooks

Essential ultrasound guidance now all in one place

Published: 28 July 2021 Ultrasound

The Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (FASP) for England have amalgamated the previous three handbooks into one location on the FASP website, with hyperlinks to other guidance documents.

The SoR Ultrasound Advisory Group (UAG) were consulted on an early draft of the document and changes were made in response to the feedback. 

So what’s changed? Minor changes have been made to terminology of the auditable conditions list. There are also some extremely important additions to the document relating to parent-centred care and choice in the ‘Overview’, section 3, in light of the Mordel v Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust case in 2019.

It clarifies the role of the midwife and sonographer in the consent process, whilst also highlighting that consent is not a static decision, it can change throughout the screening pathway. 

Updated images and associated line diagrams are included for the 20-week scan base menu. There is a new quality assurance tool, information to assist departments improve standards through shared learning and image review and an associated Excel spreadsheet for logging findings of the image review. Additional information on prenatal diagnosis has been included within the handbook.

Patient information has also been revised and includes more information about having a support person in the ultrasound room: 'You may like someone to come with you to the scan appointment. Most hospitals do not allow children to attend scans as childcare is not usually available. Please ask your hospital about this before your appointment'.

Antenatal screening standards data report for 2019-2020 were also published for those who want to compare their local practice against the national data.

Professionals working within the screening programmes, including sonographers who have a vital role to play in the fetal anomaly screening programme and other screening programmes, were thanked by FASP for their ability to adapt to changing circumstances and provide high quality screening services in what has to be the most challenging 16 months of most people’s careers.