Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Health written question – answered on 16th January 2007.

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Photo of Tim Loughton Tim Loughton Shadow Minister (Children)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate she has made of the number of children born in England with foetal alcohol syndrome in each of the last 10 years.

Photo of Caroline Flint Caroline Flint Minister of State (Department of Health) (Public Health)

Hospital episode statistics publications contain information on admissions to hospital together with information around the primary and secondary diagnosis of the patient being treated. However, the diagnoses of foetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) are rarely recorded in hospital systems as such a diagnosis may not be identified at birth. It requires identification of the facial or other FAS abnormality at this early stage, which can be very difficult and problems that raise the possible diagnosis may only become apparent during schooling. In addition, sensitive information about heavy drinking during pregnancy may not be revealed in that context.

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