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Screening in Cardiff
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Kara Dent, West Midlands Perinatal Institute, June 2001


The deficiencies in our national antenatal screening services have been recognised since 1993, when the RCOG formed a working party on biochemical markers (Reference1). This is no more apparent than in Down's Screening where women all over the country are offered different tests, with different cut-off values, depending on where they live. Recent DOH figures show that only 71% of women have access to serum screening, 8% to nuchal translucency with 21% having access just to age-restriction risks (Reference2) .Ideally, there would be an agreed standard nationally with all options offered and available throughout the country.

The UK National Screening Committee have now commenced a 3-year plan to look at screening, in order to improve the services available and put into place those recommendations made by the 1993 RCOG Working Party. These have been instigated in an excellent service offered by Bro-Taf (Cardiff), preceding the NICE recommendations in 1996. Details of this service were presented by Bryan Beattie at the forum where he explained the advantages and benefits seen by an integrated service that sought to offer its women more information and autonomy in their pregnancy. Its success is difficult to qualify, as an increased uptake of a service is not a measure of its merit. Instead, he reiterated the importance of continual audit and improvement of the system.



1. Report of the RCOG Working Party on Biochemical Markers and the Detection of Down's Syndrome. London: RCOG Press 1993
2. Whittle M. Down's Synrome screening: where to now? Br J Obstet Gynaecol 2001;108:559-61


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