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Addition of ADA-SCID to newborn blood screening ‘not likely’ until 2022

The addition of adenosine deaminase severe combined immunodeficiency (ADA-SCID) to the national newborn bloodspot screening programme will “likely” not take place until 2022, this newspaper has been told.

On 17 July, the national screening advisory committee (NSAC) approved the application of the national newborn bloodspot screening programme governance group for ADA -SCID to be added to the list of eight conditions screened in the existing programme. The NSAC then made a recommendation to Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly.

A HSE spokesperson said Minister Donnelly has since contacted the Executive to approve this recommendation. However, they said the addition may not take place until 2022.

“The addition of any new condition to the list of conditions that are screened for is a complex process requiring clinical, laboratory, technical, public health and project management expertise,” the HSE’s spokesperson told the Medical Independent.

“The HSE has started the planning process to achieve screening for ADA-SCID in the national newborn bloodspot screening programme. This includes submissions for funding to the annual service planning process that is part of the preparation of the annual financial estimates that is submitted to the Department of Health.

“Once this is confirmed, the relevant work streams can be implemented. It will likely be 2022 before screening is actually implemented, but no start date can be given at this stage.”

The role of the NSAC is to undertake an independent assessment of evidence for screening for a particular condition against internationally-accepted criteria and make recommendations.

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