NICE extends consultation period for new quality standard on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder

NICE has today (20 August, 2020), released its draft quality standard on fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) for further public consultation.

In line with recommendations by the UK's Chief Medical Officer and the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, the quality standard looks at the assessment and diagnosis of FASD, as well as prevention. 

Healthcare professionals are encouraged to discuss the risks of alcohol consumption with expectant mothers and to share information on supportive care if needed, such as counselling or help to stop drinking.

The quality standard also highlights the role of recording alcohol consumption in the diagnosis of FASD, and steps that should be taken to assess, diagnose, and manage the condition.

The draft statements were originally published for consultation during March and April 2020. However, because this period overlapped with the start of lockdown, many organisations didn’t have an opportunity to comment on the quality standard. We are therefore holding a second period of consultation to allow a further opportunity for comment.

Judith Richardson, acting director of health and social care at NICE, said: “The feedback we receive from external organisations and members of the public is instrumental in understanding what works, and what doesn’t, for practice in England.

“Our hope is that this second consultation will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to help NICE produce statements that will reduce the prevalence of, and improve the diagnosis of FASD.”

Professor Tim Draycott, Vice President for Clinical Quality, Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Alcohol consumption during pregnancy can lead to long-term harm to infants, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).

“Although diagnosis of FASD can be difficult, diagnosis at the earliest possible stage is vital for early intervention and care programmes that lead to better outcomes for infants at risk of FASD.

“It is important that a wide variety of stakeholders participate in this consultation on FASD to ensure that the quality standard is robust, achievable and has a multidisciplinary approach to the care of woman and their infants at risk of, and affected by, FASD.”

The quality standard is the latest in a series of guidelines and quality standards produced by NICE to address public health issues such as air pollution, smoking cessation, and alcohol-use disorders

The draft quality standard is open for public consultation until 18 September 2020 and can be viewed here. All comments submitted during this period, as well as those submitted during the initial consultation period will be reviewed by the committee.