Health Improvement Scotland advise that the first UK guidelines for diagnosing Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) has been published by the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network (SIGN). SIGN develops clinical guidelines for Scotland and is part of Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

The guidelines supports the Scottish Government’s national approach to improving outcomes and supporting the well-being of children and young people by offering the right help at the right time from the right people.

A report on the experiences of caregivers looking after individuals with FASD by Healthcare Improvement Scotland highlights that a lack of knowledge and understanding amongst healthcare professionals is a key barrier to formal diagnosis and to receiving meaningful support.

Children looked after or adopted are at significantly increased risk of having FASD, with 75% of children referred for adoption having a history of alcohol exposure during pregnancy.

Chief Medical Officer Dr Catherine Calderwood, said:  “Early diagnosis of FASD can make a huge difference in a child’s life and these guidelines will help raise awareness of the condition among healthcare professionals.

“We recently announced support for families affected by FASD in our programme for government, and highlighted this condition and actions focused on prevention and early intervention in our recent Alcohol Framework.

“Although this guideline is aimed at health professionals, I would make the call for all agencies to work together to support children and families to get the best outcomes for children with FASD.”

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