Newborn Screening Working Group – Final Consultation Workshop

RVA News

A second and final newborn screening consultation workshop was held on 12 August 2015, to discuss the development of a national policy framework for newborn bloodspot screening. RVA attended alongside 39 stakeholders from across the country. Attendees included academics, clinicians, consumers, industry, laboratory scientists, pathologists, program managers, policy makers, and representatives of colleges and professional organisations. The purpose of the workshop was to bring together key stakeholders to discuss the policies contained in the policy framework, as well as the beneficiaries of screening and the potential harms and risks of NBS. All attendees have been notified that a copy of the final report from the day will be made available publicly on the project website.

A review of current international decision-making processes for newborn screening: lessons for Australia was released last week. This article was authored by NBSWG members Karla Lister, Selina Metternick-Jones (Secretariat), and Craig White (Chair), along with Prof Hugh Dawkins and Prof Tarun Weeramanthri of WA Health’s Public Health Division.

‘NBS has been operating successfully in Australia for almost 50 years. Recently, the development of new technologies and treatments has led to calls for the addition of new conditions to the screening programs. Internationally it is recognized by governments that national policies for newborn screening should support transparent and evidence-based decision-making, and promote consistency between states within a country. Australia is lagging behind the international community, and currently has no national policies or decision-making processes, agreed by government, to support its newborn screening programs. In contrast, New Zealand (NZ), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States of America (US) have robust and transparent processes to assess conditions for screening, which have been developed by, and have pathways to, government. A review released last week provides detail on the current policy environment for newborn screening in Australia.’ 

Source: Metternick-Jones SC, Lister KJ, Dawkins HJ, White CA and Weeramanthri TS (2015). Review of current international decision-making processes for newborn screening: lessons for Australia. Front. Public Health 3:214. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2015.00214

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