• The national newborn bloodspot screening programme (NNBSP) process

      Jennings, P; Hegarty, M; Smith, L (Irish Medical Journal, 2013-06)
      The National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme (NNBSP) incorporates screening for several conditions where early identification helps prevent serious disability or mortality. A national group was established (2009) to plan for the inclusion of screening for cystic fibrosis (CF); as part of this process a review of the existing NNBSP was undertaken. Information was obtained through consultation with the Director of the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory (NNBSL) and survey of maternity units (20), Local Health Office (LHO) areas (32), and practicing domiciliary midwives (16). Response rate: hospitals 100%; LHO areas 100%; domiciliary midwives 56%. Potential for strengthening quality assurance was identified e.g. single comprehensive screening register, consistent and timely procedures for checking results. Recommendations, many of which have since been implemented, included overall governance structure, liaison officer, quality assurance programme, ring-fenced funding, standardised unique identifier, dedicated laboratory IT system, secure web-based transmission of results and fail-safe method of tracking samples.