Newcastle Laboratories

Newborn Blood Spot Screening

Newcastle Laboratories are commissioned by NHS England to provide the Newborn Blood Spot Screening service for the North East of England and the Northern part of Cumbria.  This service is provided by a specialist multi-disciplinary team within Newcastle Laboratories directed by Dr Fiona Jenkinson and led by Mrs Kelly Phillipson and Mr Nick Preacher.

The Newborn Blood Spot Screening Programme provides screening for 9 conditions as advised by the National Screening Committee. The conditions are as follows:

  • Congenital Hypothyroidism
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Phenylketonuria
  • Medium Chain Acyl CoA Dehydrogenase Deficiency (MCADD)
  • Sickle Cell Disease
  • Isovaleric Acidaemia
  • Homocystinuria
  • Glutaric Aciduria type 1
  • Maple Syrup Urine Disease

Detailed information on all of the above conditions including the reasons for screening and the screening pathways can be found on the Public Health England website:

https://www.gov.uk/topic/population-screening-programmes/newborn-blood-spot

 


Sampling

The screening samples must be taken onto Newborn Blood Spot screening cards as per the national sampling guidance on day 5-8 after birth.  Detailed information on completing the card and taking the blood spots can be found on the Public Health England website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/newborn-blood-spot-screening-sampling-guidelines

The blood spot card must contain all the patient identifiable information including the baby’s NHS number  – preferably all contained on a barcoded label.

Four good quality spots must be taken. A good quality spot requires to fill the whole circle and soak completely through the card. Any samples that are not of sufficient quality will be rejected.

Rejection Criteria

            1. Insufficient samples
            2. Multi-spotted samples or multi-layered samples
            3. Samples spotted on both sides of the card
            4. Samples missing NHS Number, Patient name, Date of Birth or date of sample
            5. Samples which are more than 14 days in transit
            6. Samples taken within 72 hours of blood transfusion
            7. Samples taken before day 5 unless pre-transfusion for Sickle Cell screening
            8. Expired card
            9. Contaminated card

Further detailed information of this rejection criteria can be found in the sampling guidance as described above.

Sample Transportation

Blood spot screening samples should be placed in a prepaid screening envelope after air-drying and be sent the same day either by local courier arrangements or first class post to the Newcastle Newborn Screening Laboratory.  Further supplies of envelopes can be obtained from your Local Screening Co-ordinator.

The Newborn Bloodspot Screening laboratory supplies the screening co-ordinators with envelopes on a six monthly basis. Screening Co-ordinators only – please contact the laboratory if further supplies are required prior to this.

Turnaround time

This is in line with the national standards, with all samples reported within 4 working days of receipt in the laboratory.

Reporting

Results of Newborn Bloodspot Screening are emailed to the relevant Child Health Record department on a daily basis using secure email.

Positive screening tests are phoned to the relevant clinical lead by a member of the screening clinical team as soon as the results are available to ensure that the baby enters the clinical pathway soon as possible in line with the National Screening Committee recommendations.

How to Contact us

All enquiries regarding Newborn Screening can be dealt with between 08:30 and 18:00 Monday to Friday.

Please contact all members of the team on 0191 2820339 or by secure email:

Tnu-tr.newcastlenewbornscreening@nhs.net

Please note: it is not possible for the laboratory to provide results of individual screening tests to parents. Please speak to your GP, midwife or health visitor should you require further assistance.