Making sure health professionals have training to provide a high quality service is an essential part of any screening programme.
We held 8 training events across England in preparation for the implementation of an evaluative rollout of non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) to the fetal anomaly screening pathway.
More than 400 people attended the events. Most of the delegates were screening midwives, midwives, sonographers and obstetricians.
We wanted to see how effective the training was in improving the delegates’ knowledge of NIPT and their confidence in talking to women about Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome.
Evaluation of events
Delegates were asked to complete 2 surveys to assess their knowledge and confidence before (survey 1) and after attending the training (survey 2). Of those who attended the training, 277 completed the pre-event survey and 255 completed the post-event survey.
Four-fifths of those who completed the survey rated the training excellent or good.
We compared the 2 surveys (see presentation below) and they showed that after the training a higher number of professionals reported having very good knowledge and feeling very confident.
On a 4-point scale, from very good to very limited, almost twice as many people reported their knowledge as very good after the training compared to before the training.
The number of people reporting feeling confident in providing information about NIPT at antenatal booking was 3 times higher after the training compared to before the training. And 3 times as many people reported high levels of confidence post training when discussing lower and higher chance NIPT results compared to pre-training.
The training improved reported levels of confidence in discussing a diagnosis of Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome. The number of people reporting low levels of confidence post training decreased 7-fold when compared to pre-training levels.
Delegates reported that the highlights of the training were:
- receiving information about the new screening pathway and accuracy of test
- learning how NIPT will be structured alongside current procedures
- hearing from parents of children affected by Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome and support organisations
- learning more about Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome
What the delegates said
Feedback included the following comments:
I went to the study days with very limited knowledge regarding Down’s syndrome, Edwards’, Patau’s and the NIPT but came away feeling I had learnt so much and really enjoyed it – midwife
Good progress in the screening history. Less invasive test means less stress to patients – obstetrician
I enjoyed the day fully and the most important point for me was a better understanding of the details of the test. I had a good understanding prior but the day gave me the bits of missing information I needed – screening midwife
The parent experience presentations were very emotional and thought-provoking and I will certainly change some of my practice because of them. Excellent speakers throughout the 2 days – fetal medicine midwife
Giving parents correct information and answering their question as truthfully as we can means they can make an informed decision about the course of action that they want to take and we can also offer support or direct them to the appropriate agency – midwife
Delegates also commented on the need for a refresher closer to the roll-out date and asked for regular updates on NIPT.
NIPT training resources include a cascade training resource made available to providers in 3 formats (online, google drive version and a USB data stick sent to each NIPT champion on request).
The NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme is currently developing a NIPT e-learning module that will serve both as a refresher and a resource for new starters.
Further updates on the roll-out of NIPT will be communicated via the PHE Screening blog.
We would like to thank the following organisations for contributing to developing and delivering the training:
- parents of children affected with Down’s syndrome, Edwards’ syndrome and Patau’s syndrome
- Antenatal Results and Choices (ARC)
- Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA)
- Support Organisation for Trisomy 13/18 (SOFT UK)
- Down’s Syndrome Research Foundation (DSRF)
If you have attended a local NIPT cascade training session, please complete our survey.