Recommendation

Health NZ recommends that all parents and caregivers are offered newborn metabolic screening for their baby.

The final choice to have screening lies with the parents or guardians.

Blood sample best practice

Newborn Metabolic Blood Spot Collection learning module

Newborn Metabolic Blood Spot Collection learning module

For best practice guidance please complete The Best Practice - Newborn Metabolic Blood Spot Collection e-learning module. This is available on Learn Online.

This online learning module is available for midwives, and other health professionals, to update and refresh their knowledge and skills on newborn metabolic screening blood spot sample collection.

All midwifes are encouraged to complete this module and it is recognised by the Midwifery Council for continuing midwifery education hours.

Completing this module will support midwives and other health professionals to:

  • provide accurate advice and information to parents to enable them to make an informed choice
  • administer a good quality heel prick test
  • ensure the sample reaches the laboratory rapidly to optimize timely diagnosis and subsequent treatment for the baby.

Samples must be taken at or as soon as possible after baby is 24 hours of age provided consent has been obtained from parents or guardians.

It is also critical to minimise the time taken to get samples from the place of sampling to the laboratory for testing. Delays can lead to severe illness or even death of an infant or the inability to identify a condition.

Samples must therefore be dried and posted on the day of sampling.

Blood sample protocol for babies under 1500 grams

Blood sample protocol for babies under 1500 grams

This document provides details of screening for babies under 1500 grams birthweight. This replaces the SCBU and NICU protocols. There are no changes to the protocols but the revised document combines the SCBU and NICU requirements.

Blood sample protocol (heel prick) for babies under 1500 grams (pdf, 119 KB)

Update from 1 July 2024: Preterm Metabolic Bloodspot Screening Protocol

Update from 1 July 2024: Preterm Metabolic Bloodspot Screening Protocol

This protocol provides details of screening for babies with a birth weight of between 1000-1499g and a gestational age of between 28-32/40.

This replaces the Blood Sample Protocol (Heel Prick) for Babies under 1500 grams protocol from 1 July 2024.

The key changes are:

  • Inclusion of gestational age in addition to birth-weight criteria into the preterm screening protocol.
  • A single algorithm to be followed for all babies who meet birth-weight (<1500 g) or gestational age (<32/40) criteria.
  • An additional pre-discharge sample is to be collected at 36/40 corrected gestational age or prior to discharge home, unless there has already been a bloodspot sample collected within 2 weeks.

Quality standards

The Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Policy Framework provides guidance for all programme providers within the screening programme.

Policy framework

Policy framework

in conjunction with clinical and scientific experts, community organisations and other Government agencies has developed new policy and governance arrangements for the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme.

The Policy Framework formalises the policy for all programme activities and defines:

  • overall programme policies and governance
  • programme provider responsibilities
  • lead maternity carer responsibilities
  • laboratory responsibilities
  • processes for the return, storage and uses of residual blood spot samples
  • requirements for changes to the programme.

There are two key changes to previous Programme policies and procedures. These changes are that:

  1. governance arrangements have been clearly documented, and the roles and responsibilities between the Ministry of Health, Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme operations and the Governance Team have been clarified
  2. storage and use requirements for residual blood spot cards have been clearly defined, including the process required if the residual blood spot card is to be returned to individuals or family.

Key messages and associated questions and answers have been revised to support health practitioners in the provision of newborn metabolic screening services.

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Policy Framework - June 2011 (PDF, 463 KB)

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme monitoring indicators – February 2018

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme monitoring indicators – February 2018

This document dated February 2018 updates and replaces the indicators in the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Monitoring Framework, November 2010 pages 12 to 19.

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme monitoring indicators – February 2018 (PDF, 436 KB)

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Policy Framework Decisions

Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Policy Framework Decisions

Read the 2011 Cabinet Paper regarding the new policy and governance arrangements for the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme and the Cabinet Social Policy Committee Minute of Decision:

Newborn Screening and Diagnostic Protocol for Cystic Fibrosis in New Zealand

Newborn Screening and Diagnostic Protocol for Cystic Fibrosis in New Zealand

Newborn infants have been screened for cystic fibrosis (CF) as part of the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme (NMSP) since 1986.

Read the Newborn Screening and Diagnostic Protocol for Cystic Fibrosis in New Zealand (DOCX 182KB)

Read the Newborn Screening and Diagnostic Protocol for Cystic Fibrosis in New Zealand (PDF 294KB)