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Newborn bloodspot screening policy framework for Australia

P. O’Leary, S. Maxwell,

Academic Literature

2015

Background The aim of newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) is to identify rare genetic and non-genetic conditions in children soon after birth in order to commence therapies that prevent the development of progressive, serious, and irreversible disabilities. Universal NBS programmes have been implemented in most countries, with minor adaptations to target conditions most relevant to the local healthcare environment. Aims In this article, we describe the initiatives of international and Australian governments to develop policies to address the expansion of NBS in their healthcare systems. Methods We have reviewed published public policies and literature to formulate recommendations based on clinical, social, legal, and ethical principles to inform a national governance and policy framework for Australia. Results Australian policy makers have been slow to develop a coordinated plan. While the experience from other governments can guide our national policy, there are specific areas that require further consideration by Australian health experts. Key reforms involve the separation of policy and operational activities, multidisciplinary decision-making and oversight by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council for policy direction. Conclusion A formal national policy framework will guide the coordination of NBS services that can adapt to the needs of Australian children and families. © 2015, Australasian Medical Journal Pty Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication information

Journal/Publication : Australasian Medical Journal

Domain/s: Social relationships

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