Newborn screening to be expanded in pilot study
Published: 8th Apr 2012 01:59:08
The number of genetic diseases for which newborn babies are tested is to double in a pilot study by the Department of Health.
About 700,000 babies in the UK are tested for genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis every year.
Now an additional five debilitating disorders - all of them rare - will be tested for in five areas of England.
The chief medical officer for England said it would give more children the "chance to live a long, healthy life".
The tests are performed by a midwife and they generally take place within the first week of life. The baby's heel is pricked and drops of blood are collected and analysed in a laboratory.
This method of screening gives families access to specialist treatment and support from an early stage if there is a problem.
At the moment five conditions are tested for: sickle cell anaemia, which affects 350 babies a year; cystic fibrosis, which affects 250 babies a year and phenylketonuria, congenital hypothyroidism and medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD).
The pilot scheme in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and London means 430,000 newborns a year will be also screened for:
All affect about one in every 100,000 births - or about seven babies - a year.
The chief medical officer for England, Prof Dame Sally Davies, said: "This is a fantastic step forward for the newborn screening programme and shows the NHS at the cutting-edge.
"This pilot will identify more babies with serious conditions, giving them the chance to live a long, healthy life."
Dr Anne Mackie, the director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said: "This pilot will gather evidence so we can understand whether offering tests for these conditions to a whole population is of overall benefit.
"The UK is a world leader in screening policy. We look forward to reviewing the findings of this study."
The trial will run for one year, starting in July.
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Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Newborn screening to be expanded in pilot study [Online] (Updated 8th Apr 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1421177/Newborn-screening-to-be-expanded-in-pilot-study [Accessed 19th Apr 2014]
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With the doors to its brand new £1million training centre officially open, one of the UK's leading apprentice training providers, Bristol based S&B Automotive Academy, is showcasing its world-class facilities by launching a series of foreign student exchanges for the first time in its 41-year history. To get a flavour of what life is like as an apprentice in the UK, the Academy hosted 16 apprentice engineers and bus drivers from the G9 Automotive College in Hamburg, Germany, as part of a Europe-wide vocational training initiative called the ‘Leonardo Programme’ with support from the European Social Fund. In a reciprocal arrangement, S&B will be sending nine apprentices to Germany during February 2012 so that they can get an appreciation of life in the automotive industry on the Continent. A further three German exchange groups are being planned for next year. Designed to assist the development of vocational skills and training across Europe, including work placements for trainees, the Leonardo Programme has a budget of €1.75bn, which is helping to encourage UK organisations to work with their counterparts abroad. In what is expected to be another challenging year for employers in the UK automotive sector, S&B’s Chief Executive, Jon Winter, claims that the exchange initiative will bring many benefits to the Academy and its apprentices: “In a world of global automotive brands, it’s important for our learners to understand the international context of the industry they have chosen to make their career. This new exchange programme will enable apprentices and Academy staff alike to achieve a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities within the automotive arena in Europe. With the Academy’s influence also extending to the USA and Asia, there’s every possibility that this initiative could move further afield in the future.” Continued Winter: “The need for skilled technicians across the world is on the increase and we actively encourage our apprentices to look at broader horizons during their training. Many of them have already learned the phrase ‘Vorsprung durch Gelehrtheit’, quite simply, ‘Advancement through learning.” In the 2010/11 academic year, S&B doubled the number of successful Apprenticeships over the previous year with some 350 apprentices graduating from the Academy. At the same time, achievement levels reached an all-time high with an overall success rate of 85%. For those learners on the Advanced Apprenticeship three-year programme, success rates were even higher, at over 98%. PHOTO CAPTION: As part of their exchange visit, S&B Automotive Academy arranged for the German apprentices to visit Hampshire bus operator, Bluestar, at its Barton Park depot. The students are pictured with S&B’s Andy West (3rd right) and Steve Prewett, Bluestar’s Area Engineering Manager (2nd right). Ends http://www.sandbaa.com