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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00970: Donald Cameron (Highlands and Islands)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking to improve the (a) diagnosis and (b) treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 11 July 2016

A) Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term which defines a wide range of developmental disorders of childhood including in the most severe cases major difficulties which affect growth behaviour and learning. There is evidence that early diagnosis and tailored interventions can improve outcomes for the child.

The Scottish Government will publish the fetal alcohol spectrum disorder care pathway in the summer. This e-learning tool will sit alongside the NHS Education Scotland(NES) FASD eLearning resource and gives professionals, whether neonatal nurse, GP, teacher or social worker, the guidance required to engage with the appropriate medical personnel to initiate the diagnostic process.

We are also providing pilot funding for NHS Ayrshire and Arran to develop a diagnostic pathway that better meets the needs of families affected by FASD.

B) There is no known single ‘treatment’ for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder which is highly variable in its presentation and severity, and is a life-long condition. However there is evidence that early intervention and support, for example to enhance learning and manage self-regulation and behaviour, can be beneficial. This involves early enrolment with relevant educational resources and other agencies such as social and psychological services. Enhanced awareness and recognition of FASD and adopting the Getting it Right for Every Child approach to support families can optimise the long term management of FASD.