Professor Gina Radford

Department of Health and Social Care

In 2019, The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC)  for the first time invited stakeholders to a meeting convened by then Deputy Chief Medical Officer Prof Gina Radford. National FASD helped to organise the meeting.

The Department has convened cross-government meetings and has been studying FASD more thoroughly.  It has now identified a point person for FASD. In 2020 it provided its first grants related to FASD. National FASD received one of these awards in a partnership bid with the Seashell Trust.

These are important steps but so much more can be done with leadership and political will. National  FASD recommends that the DHSC must:

  • take a lead on full funding projects for FASD support, training and research
  • lead on  training for health and social care professionals
  • do more, working with Chief Medical Officers, to provide public health messaging on alcohol and pregnancy
  • continue to convene cross government meetings and meetings with stakeholders
  • build awareness and training about FASD into social care work.

A powerful session that led to change

On 22 October 2018, 26 participants took part in what is many believe to be the first FASD stakeholders meeting convened by the UK Government. National FASD was approached by Professor Gina Radford the Deputy Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health and Social Care England to host an event with her and service users and stakeholders to discuss the future policy development on issues relating to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD). This followed on from a meeting held 17 September with a panel of health and care experts to get their perspectives. Many important points were raised by stakeholders throughout the meeting. A very powerful session involved six adults and young adults with FASD who shared their personal experiences trying to access diagnosis, support and services. This was the core of the session and a reminder that these issues deeply affect the wellbeing of individuals and families across the UK. Online feedback from 22 individuals with FASD also was distributed.

The agenda included presentations by:

  • Martin Butcher, East Hertfordshire and Area FASD Support Network introducing a statement on behalf of the FASD UK Alliance;
  • Pip Williams, on behalf of the UK-EU Birth Mothers Network-FASD;
  • Brian Roberts, a former virtual school head who discussed Looked After Children, FASD and education;
  • Andy Jackson and other adults with FASD;
  • Sandra Butcher, NOFAS-UK offered brief closing comments.

Change is coming!

Following the meeting, the Department of Health took pivotal steps, including identifying key people to work in the department to work on FASD, convened interdepartmental meetings on FASD and it released its first funding bid for FASD projects. In May 2019, the Department announcement  that NICE would establish a Quality Standard on FASD.

All of the changes that are coming are due to the hard work and powerful advocacy of individuals with FASD and their supporters over decades. We are all standing on the shoulders of giants. It finally looks like change is coming,  though a great deal of work is yet to  be done to be sure it’s meaningful.

Report from Roundtable

Insights from 22 adults with FASD

Policy reports

FASD Stakeholders

Future Policy Development on Issues Relating to Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)

Report from Deputy Chief Medical Officer Roundtable

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