Newborn bloodspot screening: setting the Australian national policy agenda

Susannah J Maxwell and Peter O’Leary
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (3): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.10974
Published online: 17 February 2014

Australia lags behind other countries in developing a national policy framework for newborn screening

Since the late 1960s, newborn bloodspot screening (NBS) programs have successfully integrated public health and clinical medicine to identify and treat rare disease early, preventing disability and death. The management of these programs is increasingly being challenged by opportunities offered by rapidly evolving technologies, and by different perspectives on the role of screening. For NBS programs to respond effectively and consistently, a national mechanism is required to define and monitor standards and guide the introduction of new tests and technologies. This mechanism exists (or is in development) in many countries, but not in Australia.

  • Centre for Population Health Research, Curtin University, Perth, WA.

Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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