Code of practice for newborn blood spots storage revised

By Julie Griffiths on 03 January 2018 Newborn Public Health England

Public Health England has published a revised code of practice for the retention and storage of residual newborn blood spots.

The revised code sets out guidance agreed from 1 January 2018 by the Blood Spot Advisory Group on behalf of the newborn blood spot (NBS) screening programmes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The code requires laboratories to retain all residual newborn blood spots for five years as part of quality assurance. Following this retention period, residual newborn blood spots should be destroyed by the laboratory within 12 months.
Guidance on implementation dates and processes issued to English screening laboratories confirms that the revised code of practice also applies to archived specimens over five years old. 

Any samples that are already over five years or become more than five years old before 1 July 2018 should be destroyed by 30 June 2019. All other samples should be destroyed within 12 months of becoming five years old.
The programmes in Wales and Northern Ireland are seeking final approval of implementation dates and processes, and will communicate these with their respective laboratory directors.
The NBS screening programme is currently reviewing parent and professional information on residual newborn blood spots to ensure it is aligned with the new code of practice.

Access the updated code of practice here.