FRESH worries have been raised over the amount of mothers who drink through pregnancy in light of figures which show St Helens has the fourth highest rate in the country for women admitted to hospital through alcohol related illnesses.

Marie Rimmer, MP for St Helens South and Whiston sits on an All Party Parliamentary Group which has been looking into the current picture of Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). This is a condition caused when a baby is exposed to alcohol in the womb, leaving them with a range of physical and behavioural difficulties later in their life.

The parliamentary group found that the UK is lagging behind other developed countries in raising awareness of the condition and implementing effective services and strategies to confront the growing challenges posed by FASD.

In a report compiled by the MPs it highlighted that thousands of children put up for adoption had been affected by the condition.

An audit of adoption services in Peterborough showed that 75 per cent of children undergoing adoption medicals had a history of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Statistics in St Helens show an alarming amount of women admitted to hospital because of booze, at a rate of 500 per 100,000.

Rimmer has raised the issue with council officers in St Helens over the last few weeks.

Speaking after the release of the report she explained: "Since being elected in May I have been in contact with several local families who have been affected by Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. It is clear from the conversations we have had that not enough post adoption support is available for those affected by FASD

"More than 7,000 children born in the UK each year are affected by FASD. It should not be the case that parents and carers have to fight for support services for their children. Tackling FASD requires a response from the government. I am delighted that St Helens Council is taking action locally but without a national response from the Government FASD as an issue will continue to be overlooked by the population as a whole."