Public information about FASP is available on the NHS website.
Healthcare professionals, including midwives, should offer screening for Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome, Patau’s syndrome and 11 physical conditions to all eligible pregnant women as part of their usual antenatal care.
Information about the screening tests should be provided to each pregnant woman so she is able to make a personal informed choice about the tests.
The FASP handbook brings together all the guidelines and recommendations that relate to the screening pathway and are not covered in detail in the other handbooks.
The FASP laboratory handbook: Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome sets out the requirements for laboratory staff involved in the pathways for first trimester screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome and second trimester biochemical screening for Down’s.
The FASP ultrasound practitioners handbook sets requirements for ultrasound practitioners involved in the pathway for first trimester screening for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
Public Health England (PHE) is committed to reducing inequalities and variation in participation to help make sure everyone has fair and equal access to screening services.
PHE has also published information about patient confidentiality in population screening programmes.
Screening for Down’s syndrome is offered to all eligible pregnant women, and takes place between 10⁺⁰ and 20⁺⁰ weeks of pregnancy.
Screening for Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome is offered to all eligible pregnant women and takes place between 10⁺⁰ and 14⁺¹ weeks of pregnancy.
Screening for 11 physical conditions as part of the 20-week scan is offered to all pregnant women and takes place between 18⁺⁰ and 20⁺⁶ weeks of pregnancy. Scans can be completed up to 23⁺⁰ weeks of pregnancy.
Conditions screened for
Information leaflets are available for the conditions screened for in the 20-week scan:
Care pathways are available for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome screening, as well as for the 20-week scan.
The screening tests for you and your baby leaflet sets out the test process and purpose.
The combined test is offered in the first trimester to assess the chance of the baby having Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome or Patau’s syndrome, and is the test of choice.
The quadruple test is offered in the second trimester to assess the chance of the baby having Down’s syndrome.
The 20-week scan is offered to screen for Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome, and 11 physical conditions.
The private screening: important information leaflet provides information for people who ask about private screening options.
Non-invasive prenatal screening test (NIPT)
NIPT will be added to the existing NHS screening pathway for Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome as part of an evaluative rollout from 1 June 2021.
NIPT will be offered following a higher chance result (between 1 in 2 and 1 in 150) from either the combined or quadruple test in both singleton and twin pregnancies.
For more information, refer to the operational guidance on NIPT.
Find out more about NIPT on the PHE Screening blog.
A diagnostic test is offered where a woman has received a higher chance screening test result for Down’s syndrome and/or Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome, and if there are unexpected findings at the time of the ultrasound scan. This could be:
- chorionic villus sampling
CVS and amniocentesis: information for parents explains more about these tests .
FASP is one of 11 NHS national population screening programmes available in England.
The UK NSC makes recommendations to ministers in the 4 UK countries on all aspects of population screening. It ensures that screening provides more benefit than harm, at a reasonable cost to the NHS.
You can read the:
Data and intelligence
PHE publishes reports setting out annual data collected from FASP.
For 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 data onwards, PHE publishes a joint antenatal screening standards data report.
Key performance indicator (KPI) data reports are available for all 11 national screening programmes.
Guidelines on handling patient information explain how to use and safeguard personal data in screening.
Requests for screening data and research
All requests for access to FASP data for research purposes need to be approved by the antenatal and newborn screening research advisory committee (RAC).
PHE also has terms of reference for NHS population screening programme RACs.
All routine data requests (not research) should go via the PHE Screening helpdesk.
The purpose of the service specifications for the FASP programme (specification numbers 16 and 17) are to outline the service and quality indicators expected by NHS England.
Guidance is available on the FASP programme’s processes for ensuring seamless and safe screening across the whole pathway.
Down’s syndrome quality assurance support service (DQASS)
The Down’s syndrome screening quality assurance support service (DQASS) is commissioned by PHE to support FASP.
The main aim of DQASS is to monitor and support the quality and effectiveness of Down’s syndrome, Edward’s syndrome and Patau’s syndrome screening in England.
Workforce – education and training
Education and training resources are available for healthcare professionals working in FASP.
There are also more general resources to support screening professionals in their initial training and continuing professional development (CPD).
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