In response to question from Fiona Bruce MP, the Department of Health has published estimates of the costs of prenatal screening in England.
The Chair of the UK Parliamentary Inquiry into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability, Fiona Bruce MP, recently tabled a question requesting the costs of prenatal screening for Down syndrome. In reply, the Department of Health provided estimated costs of the National Health Service Foetal Anomaly Screening Programme – which includes screening for Down syndrome. These offer a base, lower and upper scenarios at 2009/10 and 2010/11 prices for England:
|2009-10 prices||2010-11 uplift||2009-10 prices||2010-11 uplift||2009-10 prices||2010-11 uplift|
|Estimates of birth used||671,058||650,000||700,000|
|Total screening strategy from the offer to the screening results||17,080,673||18,020,110||16,544,677||17,454,634||17,817,344||18,797,298|
|Invasive diagnostic procedure (CVS / amniocentesis)||7,802,120||8,231,237||7,557,287||7,972,938||8,138,617||8,586,241|
|Cost of healthy foetal loss||93,600||98,748||90,663||95,649||97,637||103,007|
|Cost of those T+ who terminate||486,739||513,510||471,461||497,391||507,732||535,657|
|Total cost of T21 screening population live births||983,759||1,037,866||952,889||1,005,298||1,026,188||1,082,628|
|Total screening pathway cost||28,342,626||29,901,470||27,512,712||29,025,911||29,483,253||31,104,831|
|Total cost, excluding continued pregnancies||27,358,867||28,863,604||26,559,823||28,020,613||28,457,065||30,022,203|
In 2010/11, approximately 850 babies who would have been born with Down syndrome were not born as a consequence of the screening programme. I therefore estimate the cost of each live birth ‘prevented’ to be around £34,000.