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Consent standards and guidance

 

Guidance around the offer of screening tests for Down's syndrome and Fetal Anomaly

Before the review of the consent standards, the NHS FASP had standards pertaining to consent in two separate publications to reflect the two screening programmes - Down's syndrome screening and Fetal Anomaly screening.

  • "Consent standards for screening fetal anomalies during pregnancy 2007" were developed in the 2006-2007 period and covered consent around the offer of the Fetal Anomaly scan.
  • The consent standards around Down's syndrome screening were covered in the "Antenatal screening - working standards for Down's syndrome screening 2007 - National Down's syndrome screening programme for England"  in sections 7-9.

The review was initiated in June 2010 and invitations for regional nominations were circulated to all nine regional teams. We received a very good response to the invitation and feel that the group consists of a relevant range of health professionals.

The group met three times between October 2010 and July 2011 in London and published the new guidance in August 2011 along with a range of supporting materials for health professionals and parents. Before signing off the consent standards published in this document, the standards were placed on the NHS FASP website for a month long consultation. Comments were also invited from various support groups and charities for their input.

The main outcome of this review has been to provide comprehensive and up to date guidance for the service on consent for Down's syndrome and Fetal Anomaly screening. It is underpinned by robust rationale and evidence and highlights the requirements (including documentation and process) from the service around consent.

The consent standards in this document will be incorporated into the review of the "Antenatal screening - working standards for Down's syndrome screening 2007 - National Down's syndrome screening programme for England" currently being undertaken by Donna Kirwan, National Projects Officer for NHS FASP.

The group would like to gratefully acknowledge everyone who contributed to the drafting of these standards and guidance as well as the supporting material. We commend these standards to you and hope you find the document an interesting and informative read.

 

Additional resources

In addition to the standards and guidance, the group has developed additional resources for parents and health professionals. These include three pathways and a mini guide for health professionals on obtaining consent, as well as the health professional responsible for each stage of the consent process.

Three pathways:

  • "Screening choices in pregnancy - Guidance around the offer of screening tests for Down's syndrome and Fetal Anomaly"
  • "National Health Service Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (NHS FASP) information available for health professionals"
  • "National Health Service Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme (NHS FASP) information available to parents"
  • "Consent for Fetal Anomaly screening, supporting guidance for health professionals"

All of these documents are available within the standards booklet and as stand alone documents.

 

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