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Family origin questionnaire: future options for maternity service providers

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia Screening Programme

We’ve been blogging for some time about moving from providing printed NHS screening information to signposting to accessible digital resources.

This transition is in line with the government’s digital by default strategy and PHE’s efforts to be good custodians of public money. We’re working to make sure this change will be good for everyone and that providing information in HTML format will add value to local screening services.

Most people now benefit from and expect to receive information digitally, as our user research with women and midwives into the digital version of Screening tests for you and your baby has shown.

Start planning for future without free national printed FOQs

Local NHS maternity services can currently order free printed copies of the family origin questionnaire (FOQ) antenatal screening form.

The NHS Sickle Cell and Thalassaemia (SCT) Screening Programme uses the FOQ to help assess if someone is likely to be a carrier for sickle cell, thalassaemia or another haemoglobin disorder.

Local screening providers can continue to use and order free printed copies of the national FOQ for several months until stocks run out. But they should now be developing plans for replacing the national printed FOQ from spring 2021 onwards.

The national NHS SCT Screening Programme team regularly reviews and improves the FOQ in response to evidence from incidents and commentary from providers. It is important any locally commissioned digital or paper FOQ form remains consistent with this national specification.

Options for local antenatal screening providers to consider include:

  • developing their own local digital version of the FOQ
  • using a combined booking bloods and FOQ form which goes to the screening labs with all the antenatal samples

Either of these options would have the benefit of reduced environmental impact and reduction in staff time within labs and maternity services.

We are keen to make the transition as smooth as possible for local screening providers and will be publishing support and sharing examples of best practice via the PHE Screening blog. So please watch this space.

Please contact the helpdesk if your service has successfully developed a local digital version of the FOQ or a combined booking bloods and FOQ form. We can then make sure other services can learn from your experience via the blog.

Please also contact us if would like to work with us on user research to optimise our ongoing support for local services in making the transition from printed to digital information.

Thank you for your help in implementing this change.

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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