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Fetal anomaly screening providers can sign up now for NIPT training

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme

Back in November 2016 and March 2017 we published blog articles about the additional option of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to the fetal anomaly screening pathway.

Blood test
Non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) involves a blood test from the pregnant woman

Evidence has shown that introducing this test could reduce the number of women undergoing invasive diagnostic testing, which carries a risk of miscarriage. NIPT will be offered to women who have received a higher risk/chance result of having a baby with Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndrome following first trimester combined or second trimester quadruple screening. It involves taking a blood test from the pregnant woman.

Do have a look back at the previous blog articles to find out more about NIPT, how it works, the work going on behind the scenes to support its evaluative roll-out and what this will mean for women who choose to have screening.

The NIPT information and education group is planning a series of 2-day national training events to help healthcare professionals support women in making personalised informed choices about screening for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes.

The screening quality assurance service (SQAS) and screening and immunisation teams will monitor attendance at the national training events and the compliance of provider trusts with local cascade training. This local training requirement is also included in the 2017 to 2018 fetal anomaly screening service specification.

Through 2017-18 the FASP programme will undertake a scoping exercise to plan how NIPT might be integrated into the current screening pathway as an additional option for women with a higher risk result. This will require education and training of all staff contributing to the screening pathway and development of local pathways and policies in readiness for an evaluative roll-out in 2018-19.
Extract from the 2017 to 2018 fetal anomaly screening service specification

We’re asking provider trusts to identify and nominate up to 3 delegates each to attend both days. These 3 ‘NIPT champions’ will be responsible for ensuring all relevant staff members in their organisations engage in a defined programme of cascade training.

We suggest the 3 NIPT champions per trust should be:

  • a local screening coordinator (LCO)
  • a community midwifery representative
  • another appropriate member of staff – for example, deputy LCO, community midwife or obstetrician

Day 1 – NIPT information day

Screening and immunisation leads will attend this day along with representatives from SQAS and NHS England and the NIPT champions.

Training will be delivered by the national programme team, national SQAS team, the Down’s Syndrome Quality Assurance Support Service (DQASS) and relevant affiliated experts and laboratory representatives.

Day 1 will cover issues such as:

  • what NIPT is and how it works
  • statistics and screening
  • the impact of NIPT on the current screening programme
  • the new screening pathway and practical pathway issues
  • the role of NIPT champions in introducing NIPT into the screening pathway for Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes in their local units
  • how the roll-out will be monitored and evaluated

Day 2 – NIPT: Supporting personalised informed choice day

This day will be attended by NIPT champions only.

Training will be delivered by the national programme team, supported by PHE Screening’s Information and Education for Public and Professionals (IEPP) team, and in collaboration with Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC), the Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) and Support Organisation for Trisomy 13/18 (SOFT UK).

Day 2 will cover issues such as:

  • personalised informed choice and the woman’s perspective
  • what does personalised informed choice look like?
  • supporting personalised informed choice in practice
  • recognising professional challenges
  • parents’ experiences of Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes
  • women’s stories of ending a pregnancy affected by Down’s, Edwards’ or Patau’s syndromes

Calendar of training events

Dates Location
27 to 28 September Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Greater London, SE1 6HZ
4 to 5 October Birmingham City Football Club,  St Andrew’s Stadium, Birmingham, B9 4RL
11 to 12 October Horizon Leeds, 3rd floor, 2 Brewery Wharf, Leeds, Yorkshire, LS10 1JR
1 to 2 November Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Greater London, SE1 6HZ
15 to 16 November Macdonald Manchester Hotel and Spa, London Rd, Manchester, M1 2PG
22 to 23 November National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS
29 to 30 November Holiday Inn Taunton, Deane Gate Avenue, Taunton, Somerset, TA1 2UA
6 to 7 December Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, Greater London, SE1 6HZ

For more information or to book a place on the training, please contact Louise Toal (

Watch this space

We will continue to share further information on the plans and progress for the evaluative roll-out of NIPT via the PHE Screening blog.

This information will be relevant to any healthcare professional involved directly or indirectly in any part of the Down’s, Edwards’ and Patau’s screening pathway, so please make you and your colleagues are signed up to receive updates (see below).

PHE Screening blogs

PHE Screening BLOGs provide up to date news from all NHS screening programmes – replacing our previously published newsletters.

You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs.

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