A new consultation has been launched on whether it would be worthwhile for the NHS to screen babies for severe combined immune deficiency (SCID).
The UK's independent expert screening committee is considering whether or not SCID should be added to the existing NHS newborn blood spot screening programme, which currently checks for nine serious health conditions from a blood sample.
“Public Health England has launched a consultation to assess whether screening for severe combined immune deficiency in babies should be tried within the NHS.“
Screening for SCID would use blood from the current heel prick test to check if a baby has a low white blood cell count, which may make them more likely to experience infections. SCID is a rare inherited condition known to make these infections harder to overcome.
The Public Health England consultation will determine whether screening will save lives, as well as looking at the number of healthy babies with low numbers of white blood cells, and the treatment options available for babies with low numbers of white blood cells for reasons other than SCID.
Dr Anne Mackie, director of programmes for the UK National Screening Committee, said: "This consultation will consider key organisations' and the public's views on how testing for SCID would work practically within the NHS. We need this information before the screening committee can make a recommendation."
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