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Getting your baby's heel prick results

Most babies will not have any of the conditions. Like all screening, the heel prick is not 100% accurate.

If your baby's screening results are negative

If your baby has a negative screening result, we will not contact you with the result. This is because the screen shows that your baby is not suspected of having any of the 9 conditions we screen for.

You can ask your public health nurse (PHN) for the results if you have concerns.

If your baby's screening results are positive

If your baby has a positive screening result for any of the 9 conditions, a nurse or doctor will contact you. This usually happens a few days after your midwife or PHN sends your baby's blood sample to the laboratory.

A positive screening result does not always mean your baby has one of the conditions. Doctors will do more tests to confirm if your baby has the condition. Your baby may need to stay in hospital during this time.

If your baby has one of the conditions, they will be referred to a specialist centre. A team of health professionals will work with you to manage your baby’s condition.

For most conditions, your baby will be referred to Children's Health Ireland at Temple Street.

If your baby might have cystic fibrosis, they'll be referred to a hospital in Dublin, Cork, Limerick or Galway. This depends on where you live.

Most babies with these conditions will grow well and be healthy when their treatment has started.

False positive result

A false positive is when heel prick screening identifies a baby that is screen positive, but further tests show that the baby does not have the condition.

False negative result

A false negative is extremely rare.

It means that even though the screening result showed that your baby was at low risk of having the condition, they may still be diagnosed with one of the conditions screened for later on.

Page last reviewed: 22 August 2022
Next review due: 22 August 2025