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New support is available for NHS antenatal and newborn screening providers to offer more digital screening info

woman uses her mobile phone to get information about screening.
PHE Screening has been moving antenatal and newborn screening information into the digital age

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), many maternity departments have been providing virtual screening appointments by phone or video call, rather than having them face to face, as they would usually.

Clearly, this makes it impossible to give out physical copies of Screening tests for you and your baby.

Regular readers of the PHE Screening blog will know about our work to reduce our reliance on antenatal and newborn (ANNB) printed screening information and promote digital versions.

We worked with 10 NHS early adopter sites, who gave digital information rather than physical leaflets to pregnant women over the last few months. This was really successful and we gained a large amount of insight about how to support other trusts to do this.

With coronavirus limiting social contact, we wanted to use the knowledge, expertise and practical resources we have developed to help maternity providers signpost women to digital versions of our NHS ANNB screening information.

Spreading the word

Over the last month or so, PHE Screening staff have been joining lots of virtual meetings with Screening Quality Assurance Service (SQAS) colleagues and screening coordinators to talk about the findings of the digital project, how we can help, and answer any questions.

So far, we have provided support and information to over 30 NHS maternity providers across England, and we have had some really positive feedback about how this will help to deliver a safe and effective service.

We've been telling people how to make the best of the digital resources available and promoting the many benefits of digital screening information.

As services return to normal following the coronavirus outbreak, we will continue to support maternity providers who have moved to providing digital screening information.

Available resources

We have created a range of resources to support services moving to providing digital information and we think the current situation with coronavirus could make them more useful than ever. They include:

  • standard text for your websites, emails and text messages to signpost women to the digital information
  • cascade training for community midwives
  • ideas for local social media
  • a generic booking letter with link to digital screening information

We do also have business cards, flyers for midwives, and posters, which you can order for free. However these are not going to be as useful during the current time, given face-to-face contact is massively reduced. But you will probably want to order some to use locally as lockdown restrictions ease.

Our ANNB short animation (below) is an integral part of the digital version of the leaflet. It has proved incredibly popular as a visual tool to show women the screening tests offered during pregnancy and after their baby has been born.

Get in touch

If you would like further information on how we can help your organisation signpost women to digital ANNB screening information during these challenging times, or to access any of our resources, please contact the PHE Screening helpdesk.

Signposting to digital NHS ANNB screening information rather than giving out physical copies of is part of ongoing moves to digital antenatal and newborn screening information.

Our research so far shows that providing digital information is popular with both women and midwives, and the screening coordinators involved told us the process was very straightforward, and much easier than they’d all anticipated

PHE Screening blog

The PHE Screening blog provides up to date news from all NHS screening programmes. You can register to receive updates direct to your inbox, so there’s no need to keep checking for new blogs. If you have any questions about this blog article, or about population screening in England, please contact the PHE screening helpdesk.

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