Newborn screening programme

Newborn and Infant Physical Examination (NIPE)

Within 72 hours of giving birth, you will be offered a top-to-toe physical examination for your baby by a Paediatric Doctor or Midwife. This will include 4 specific screening tests to find out whether your baby has a suspected problem with their:

  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Hips
  • In boys, their testes

This will enable identification which could benefit from early investigation and treatment. It will be repeated when your baby is between six and eight weeks of age during the routine appointment with the GP.

The health professional will also identify whether your baby is eligible for BCG immunisation during this examination.

How are the results received?

You will receive the results straight away and informed if a referral for further assessment is needed. The results will be recorded in your baby’s case notes and personal child record (‘red book’).

Newborn hearing screening

We provide a newborn hearing screening programme, as early identification of hearing loss is important for baby development.

How is the Newborn hearing screening performed?

A small soft tipped earpiece is placed in your baby’s ear and soft clicking sounds are played. The screening test takes a few minutes and is simple and painless. It needs to be performed when baby is settled and there is no background noise.  Sometimes, newborn babies can have fluid or a temporary blockage in the ears which can affect the screening response, therefore a further test will be offered at a later date in the community to complete the screening.

If your baby is unable to have the screening test prior to discharge from the hospital or was born at home, the Newborn hearing screening team will contact you to arrange an appointment within a community clinic for your baby to have the hearing screening performed within four weeks of birth.

Newborn blood spot screening

Newborn blood spot screening is offered to all babies born in the UK, to help identify rare but potentially serious conditions.

Why is screening offered?

Most babies screened will not have any condition but, for the small numbers who do, the benefits of blood spot screening are enormous, so that early detection of 9 rare but serious conditions. can be identified, with referral, and treatment given to improve health outcomes.

How is the blood spot collected?

On day five, the midwife will prick your baby’s heel using a special device to collect some drops of blood (the blood spot) onto a card. The card is sent to a laboratory for analysis. You can help by making sure your baby is warm and comfortable, and by cuddling and feeding them.

How are the results received?

You will receive a letter with the results by post usually within six weeks of the blood spot being taken. You will be contacted sooner if there is a suspected condition.

Watch our video below showing the screening tests available during pregnancy and for newborn babies:

Read the Antenatal screening tests for you and your baby digital leaflet before your midwife booking appointment to find out much more about the screening tests offered during and after pregnancy. This link is also provided in your Booking Appointment letter and the information is also available in other languages and easy guide.