New NHS Alcohol Exposed Pregnancy Programme Launches in Greater Manchester
The Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership is investing £1.6 million in a pioneering programme aiming to eliminate new cases of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder within the Tameside, Oldham, Rochdale and Bury areas of Greater Manchester and to establish the city-region as a world-leader in tackling the impacts of alcohol in pregnancy.
Launching this week, the programme’s key goals include:
To raise awareness around the harms associated with alcohol consumption during pregnancy through a major public campaign
To provide new training across the region’s health and social care workforce
To introduce new actions, support and advice for would-be mothers, prior to pregnancy
To develop targeted, specialist, enhanced support for vulnerable and at-risk mothers and their partners during a woman’s pregnancy
To establish additional peer-support to reduced the likelihood of long term alcohol-related harm post pregnancy
As the programme acknowledges, many myths and misunderstandings surround pregnancy and alcohol consumption. However, existing research around this area remains conflicting and incomplete and, as a result, official guidance from NHS England and Wales is that ‘women should desist from drinking alcohol entirely during pregnancy’.
It is estimated that 1,195 children are born each year in Greater Manchester with Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), though the actual number could be higher.
Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders is a collective term used to describe four diagnoses which include: Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Partial Foetal Alcohol Syndrome, Alcohol Related Neuro-development Disorder and Alcohol Related Birth Defects.
Children and adults affected by FASD are significantly more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, anxiety, depression, intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, oppositional defiant disorder, severe mental disorders and reactive attachment disorder.
Using the hashtag #Drymester, the Greater Manchester programme champions the message that no amount of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. With the aim to eradicate FASD and make the city-region a place where future generations grow up protected from the implications of drug and alcohol use, the programme hopes to establish Greater Manchester as a world leader in tackling the impacts of alcohol in pregnancy.
FASD is caused when expectant mothers consume alcohol during their pregnancy. It can be prevented by completely abstaining from alcohol consumption while pregnant.
For more information about this campaign, please visit: http://www.drymester.org.uk
Roisin and Rachael from Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership will be running a workshop about the programme at NHS SMPA’s Annual Conference.