Down’s syndrome screening Quality Assurance Support Service (DQASS) is a statistical support service for NHS Down's, Edwards’ and Patau’s syndromes screening laboratories nationwide, and is part of the NHS fetal anomaly screening programme (FASP). The overall aim is to monitor and support the quality and effectiveness of prenatal screening in England to ensure all pregnant women have access to a screening programme that is uniform, equitable and adheres to national guidance.
We have held the contract for DQASS at the University of Plymouth since its inception in 2006. Annually we analyse approximately 500,000 records from 23 laboratories and around 200 ultrasound units covering 3000 individual sonographers.
We provide an independent audit of laboratory and ultrasound nuchal translucency data in a standardised and statistically valid way. The statistical analyses monitor the screening process at various levels; from the overall standardised screen positive rate at the top level all the way through to specific adjustments for ethnicity, smoking and other factors applied to individual biomarkers.
The DQASS team
We produce a range of reports and feedback that we distribute to numerous stakeholders including NHS FASP, national Quality Assurance (QA) teams, regional QA teams, laboratory leads, screening and immunisation leads, NHS trust chief executives and individual sonographers.
We also administrate the ALLSTAT service; a UK-based worldwide email broadcast system for the statistical community, which provides a platform for the advertisement of job, conference and training opportunities as well as opportunity for general statistical discussions. There are currently around 6600 subscribers to ALLSTAT.
Since summer 2016, we have been responsible for the administration, maintenance and moderation of the list, including ensuring that all content is relevant and appropriate as well as responding to queries from list users.