Monica Urges Scottish Government and NHS Lanarkshire to Introduce Vital Pregnancy Testing

Monica has urged both NHS Lanarkshire and the Scottish Government to help pregnant women get access to testing to help identify those at risk of pre-eclampsia before it progresses to dangerous stages.

Pre-eclampsia is a condition affecting up to one-in-ten pregnancies and can lead to serious complications including death for both mother and baby if not monitored and treated.

On 23 March, the Scottish Health Technologies Group (SHTG) published guidance recommending four tests to measure PIGF levels to help make decisions about caring for those presenting with suspected preterm pre-eclampsia. However, testing is not automatically available in maternity units in Scotland.

Monica wrote to NHS Lanarkshire last week to ask what actions they are taking to help identify pregnant women at risk, she commented:

“This is an issue which is very close to my heart, and I know it is important to my constituents in Lanarkshire.

“This new guidance from SHTG clearly shows that PIGF-testing for pre-eclampsia needs to be available in every maternity unit in Scotland. Pregnant women deserve to feel reassured when receiving care and healthcare professionals should be able to feel confident in their diagnosis.

“Maternity care is, unfortunately, a postcode lottery for many. It’s not right that some women will have access to improved testing while others won’t- universal PIGF testing will help remove health inequalities between regions.

“However, it is the Scottish Government’s responsibility to fund and assist with the implementation of testing. England and Wales are currently striving ahead of Scotland when it comes to this service. I look forward to hearing the new Women’s Health Minister’s plans to introduce testing across Scotland’s maternity units.”

Marcus Green, CEO at Action on Pre-eclampsia commented:

“These tests are vital in the armoury of clinicians combatting pre-eclampsia, they help diagnose who needs more care and who isn’t going to get pre-eclampsia in the next fortnight.  Already they are widely in use in other parts of the UK.  With Scotland being behind the curve women’s lives are at risk and this inequality can and must be stopped.

Monica Lennon is an MSP for the Central Scotland Region. In 2021, she passed the ground-breaking Period Product (Scotland) Act. Follow her on Twitter for recent updates.