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Newborn Screening Programme must be expanded - John Brady TD

29 May, 2019 - by John Brady TD, Louise O'Reilly TD

Sinn Féin TD for Wicklow John Brady has called for the immediate expansion of the Newborn Screening Programme which sees newborn babies screened for a range of health conditions shortly after their birth.

Speaking today, Teachta Brady said:

“Today I hosted a Briefing for Oireachtas Members on the need to expand the Newborn Screening Programme alongside two Wicklow families who have been directly affected by the limited scope of our current screening programme.

“At the moment, in Ireland newborn screening is carried out to detect up to eight conditions. This compares to between 20 and 26 conditions in Poland, Portugal and Sweden and 40 conditions in Italy.

"This puts Ireland at the bottom of the table when it comes to international best practice for our newborn babies.

“Not only have these Wicklow families come forward and shared their devastating stories publicly but they have brought forward the solution to it. This is based on a well-functioning and effective screening programme in Italy which needs to be replicated here urgently.

“We are talking about saving lives by broadening the scope for screening meaning early diagnosis and early treatment. This would represent a cost of around €3 million annually following the initial set up. This is small money when it comes to the health Budget.

“I have written to both Minister Harris and the Taoiseach on this matter and I, along with my party colleagues will be following it up with both of them persistently.

Sinn Féin spokesperson for Health Louise O’Reilly concluded:

“The Government have already committed to a National Screening Programme as part of the National Rare Disease Plan for Ireland. They need to resource it and implement it in full.”

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