New Scottish recommendations for pre-eclampsia blood test welcomed, but clear route to implementation needed

Action on Pre-eclampsia welcomed today’s news that the Scottish Health Technologies Group has recommended the use of a ground-breaking test which can predict, rule in and rule out pre-eclampsia.

However, APEC has cautioned that there is much more to be done to get the test implemented so lives can be saved.

Placental Growth Factor (PlGF) testing can help diagnose the potentially fatal pregnancy complication, and has been accessible to expectant mums in England since 2016.  Use of PlGF-based tests can help enable swift decision-making by clinicians, provide clarity to pregnant women and people, and relieve pressure on the NHS.

APEC has been campaigning for an end to the postcode lottery in PlGF-based testing, so that every expectant mum in the UK can access a clear, timely diagnosis of pre-eclampsia should they need it – regardless of where they live. 

Marcus Green – Chief Executive of Action on Pre-eclampsia (APEC) said:

“Pre-eclampsia is a relatively common complication of pregnancy which left unchecked can be fatal to mother and child – indeed in recent years there has been a four-fold increase in maternal deaths in the UK.  A test which has been commonly used in England to rule in or rule out pre-eclampsia in the short term has now been recommended for use in Scotland.

“We are delighted that the Scottish Health Technologies Group has published new guidance recommending the routine use of placental growth factor (PLGF) testing across Scotland to help diagnose or rule out suspected pre-eclampsia. The guidance finally brings Scotland into broad alignment with the advice and services available to expectant mothers in both Wales and England.

“This welcome advice for Scotland broadly mirrors the NICE guidelines in England and Wales. This is the latest step in a long journey for this lifesaving, timesaving and cost saving test and we now need to see a very clear path to funding and implementation.

Dr Rosemary Townsend, Senior Fellow in Obstetrics, Deanery of Clinical Sciences, MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, Usher Institute said:

“As a clinician and a researcher, I have seen the benefit of PlGF testing in the context of studies like PARROT-2 trial. The test brings clarity and speeds up the diagnosis for women with suspected pre-eclampsia, meaning we have the best information available to help make informed decisions around treatment and timing of birth. I welcome the implementation of PLGF testing in Scotland and look forward to seeing the benefits of this test available to women all over Scotland. “

“We have today written to Professor Anna Glasier OBE, Women’s Health Champion for Scotland seeking an urgent meeting to understand what steps Scotland will take to implement this test and how we can support that.”

Read our open letter to Prof Glasier

Read the Scottish Health Technologies Group recommendations