Foetal Alcohol Syndrome

Health written question – answered on 13th September 2013.

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Photo of Dan Jarvis Dan Jarvis Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to produce a strategy to address foetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health

The Government's Alcohol Strategy, published on 23 March 2012, addresses the full range of harm from alcohol.

The strategy recognises that:

foetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD) are caused entirely by drinking alcohol during pregnancy and so are completely preventable; and

FASD can be caused by mothers drinking alcohol even before they know they are pregnant, so preventing them is strongly linked to reducing levels of heavy drinking in the population, especially among women.

We will continue to raise awareness of the need for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive to avoid alcohol, including by increasing the awareness of health professionals.

The Chief Medical Officer is overseeing a review of the Government's alcohol guidelines, including those for women who are pregnant or trying to conceive.

The Department will continue to raise awareness of research needs for FASD, including gaps in our knowledge on whether a 'safe' level of alcohol consumption could be identified, how to characterise and diagnose neuro- developmental problems in children with FASD, prevalence of the condition, and effective treatment.

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