Procedures and practices

Image of sample being taken from the heel of a 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.

The 17-minute video below provides best practice advice for practitioners providing services within the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme (NMSP).


Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme Best Practice Key Messages

The key messages document accompanies the video and contains best practice reminders and details the metabolic disorders currently screened for by the NMSP.

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: 02 December 2014