Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders

Health written question – answered on 13th July 2004.

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Photo of Professor Ross Cranston Professor Ross Cranston Labour, Dudley North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what recent representations he has received about the dangers of drinking in pregnant women and its links to foetal alcohol spectrum disorders; and if he will make a statement;

(2) what measures he is taking to monitor the incidence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Miss Melanie Johnson Miss Melanie Johnson Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Department of Health

The Department has received a number of representations about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy and these have been considered as part of the alcohol harm reduction strategy for England. The Department has made no specific estimate of the incidence of foetal alcohol spectrum disorders or of foetal alcohol syndrome in England.

The Department does not collect specific information about the incidence of foetal alcohol syndrome. We do have information on admissions for foetal alcohol syndrome in England in recent years and this is shown in the table.

All diagnoses (ICD-10 Q86.0) foetal alcohol syndrome—count of finished consultant episodes (FCEs) in national health service hospitals, England 2000–01 to 2002–03
2000–01 95
2001–02 90
2002–03 128


1. A FCE is defined as a period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one healthcare provider. Please note that the figures do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the year.

2. Figures are grossed for both coverage and missing/invalid clinical data, except for 2001–02 and 2002–03, which are not yet adjusted for shortfalls.

3. All diagnoses count of episodes. These figures represent a count of all FCEs where the diagnosis was mentioned in any of the 14 (seven prior to 2002–03) diagnoses fields in a hospital episode statistics (HSE) record. A record is only included once in each count, even if a diagnosis is mentioned in more than one diagnosis field of the record.


Hospital episode statistics, Department of Health.

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