15th August 2013
As part of the Healthy Child Programme (1), newborn babies are screened in a number of ways. A semi-automated test picks up significant hearing impairment; the newborn examination (part of the Newborn and Infant Physical Examination – NIPE) screens for abnormalities of the hips, heart, eyes and testes; while the newborn blood spot test, previously known as the “Guthrie test”, screens for a further five conditions. While health visitors do not usually carry out this screening, they are often called upon to explain the programme to parents and support them if any of the screening tests suggest a disorder may be present or a repeat sample is required. Occasionally they, or a member of the HV team, may be called to take the blood spot spots from a child outside the midwife’s remit. This digest considers newborn blood spot screening.
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