Procedures and practices

Image of sample being taken from the heel of a baby

Best Practice - 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 is a new online learning module 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 new 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/information to parents to enable them to make an informed choice
  • administer a good quality metabolic 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 48 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 (Heel Prick) for Babies under 1500 grams

The blood sample protocol (heel prick) for babies under 1500 grams 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.

In this section

  • Offering newborn metabolic screening is an integral part of an LMC’s antenatal and postnatal care, and obtaining informed consent for participation in the NMSP is central to best practice in maternity care.
Page last updated: 10 November 2020