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FASD is a lifelong condition and GPs will see a variety of presentations in all age groups each year in their practice.
The GP and others in the GP surgery are in a vital position to give pre-conceptual advice around the reasons for alcohol abstinence in pregnancy in order to prevent babies being born with permanent brain damage.
For cases of suspected FASD GPs providing the correct referrals can make the world of difference to the outcomes for an individual and their families and could reduce the likelihood of secondary difficulties.
All GPs and other healthcare professionals should familiarise themselves with the coming NICE Quality Standard on FASD (January 2021). All CCGs and NHS Trusts have to ‘have regard’ for NICE Quality Standards and show how they are improving the quality of services. This change will often start with the initial contact in GP surgeries.
These are the types of proof that can be provided re an alcohol-exposed pregnancy. Sometimes a review of the maternal records with a fresh set of eyes by the professionals can yield the proof needed. This is from Scottish SIGN guidelines that have been accepted by NICE as the basis for the upcoming NICE Quality Standard on FASD:
Confirmation of PAE requires documentation that the biological mother consumed alcohol during the index pregnancy based on:
NOTE: a diagnosis of FASD is possible without confirmation of alcohol-exposed pregnancy in the <10% of instances when three sentinel facial features are present.
The NOFAS-UK GP Survey was conducted by OnePoll between August 22nd and September 1st, 2017. It polled 150 GPs that work in England. Principal outcomes were as follows:
Children and young people exposed prenatally to alcohol
Pamphlet explaining the new diagnostic process