UK screening tests for newborns have been found lacking in number and relevance according to a recent report. The support shows that more than 40 established tests done around the globe are being missed out by UK Health authorities.
The National Health Service (NHS), UK offers blood tests to screen for up to 9 conditions, which is found extremely scanty when compared to the European prescribed 20 or more tests and over 50 screens in the US. Genetic Alliance, a charity reports that due to this lack, newborns could be at risk of serious health conditions and some rare ones as they would go undetected in absence of the process.
The country’s National Screening Committee states that the screen list is evidence informed and undergoes reviews, however, the respective governments of the diverse UK discern the use recommended.
Genetic Alliance UK says affordable ways to expand the screening exist, but are not being used.
It is known that heel prick blood samples procedure could be used to detect more illness conditions than those for which screening currently happens. The same has been recommended by the National Screening Committee. The report says that as these common practices aren’t followed, many diseases go undetected. The problem also surfaces when rare and inherited diseases go unnoticed and parents unassuming cannot make correct judgements in having more children.
Most babies will not have any of the situations for which they are screened. And screening results are not 100% certain. A baby with a negative screening result may later turn out to have the disease he or she was screened for, while some babies with a positive result will turn out not to have the disease eventually.
The UK National Screening Committee weighs the risks and benefits of introducing any new checks before making commendations. Every September the committee makes a call for new conditions to be considered for screening and this year they’ve received a number of proposals to consider new diseases as part of the newborn blood spot screening program.