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Dáil Éireann Debate, Friday - 3 December 2021

Friday, 3 December 2021

Questions (103)

John Brady

Question:

103. Deputy John Brady asked the Minister for Health if he will report on the work of the National Screening Advisory Committee in relation to the status of the expansion of the new-born screening programme; the conditions that are being considered for inclusion in the programme; the progress to date on the work being carried out by the Committee in consultation with his Department, the HSE, clinical experts, patient advocates and other key stakeholders; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59218/21]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

I am strongly supportive of expanding our national newborn bloodspot programme.

Last year I approved the addition of a condition (ADA-SCID) to the Programme; other SCID types are now actively being formally assessed by HIQA, and work is ongoing on development of a pipeline of other conditions for formal assessment.

This is an area which can have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of children and families, and it is important our approach is robust and in line with best international practice.

The work to expand the National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme is led by the National Screening Advisory Committee, an independent expert group which makes evidence-based recommendations to me.

As I mentioned, in 2020 I approved the addition of a condition known as ADA-SCID, which is a rare, inherited immune system disorder, to the Programme. The HSE is currently implementing this addition, bringing the number of conditions screened for by the Programme to nine.

The addition of other SCID types is currently being evaluated by the Committee. HIQA is undertaking a health technology assessment which will look at the evidence in a robust, systematic and transparent manner, and it is expected the Committee will have the findings of this review in 2022 to make recommendations to me.

Work is also being progressed by the Committee, working closely with my Department, the HSE, HIQA and other key stakeholders, including clinical experts and patient advocates,  on further expansion of the Programme.

In addition, the Committee is currently conducting its first public call for suggested changes to screening programmes, including the newborn bloodspot screening programme.  This is open until 23 December at gov.ie/screeningcall.

I look forward to further recommendations from the National Screening Advisory Committee on expansion of this important Programme in the coming year.

Question No. 104 answered orally.
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