Heel prick screening
All newborn babies are screened for 8 conditions that are rare, but treatable, if detected early in life. This is known as the 'heel prick' because a small blood sample is taken from the baby's heel.
Heel prick screening – also known as 'newborn bloodspot screening' – checks for 8 rare but serious conditions in babies. Screening is strongly recommended.
The conditions the heel prick screens for are very rare, but treatable if detected early in life. That's why we screen your baby when they're just 3 to 5 days old.
You'll be asked to sign your baby's 'newborn screening card' to confirm that you agree to the test.
If you do not want your baby to be tested, you'll need to tell your midwife or public nurse why and sign an 'opt-out' form.
The National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Laboratory stores your baby's blood sample securely as part of your baby's health record.
If your baby's results are positive, a nurse or doctor will contact you, usually 1 to 2 weeks after the heel prick. If your baby's results are negative, they will not contact you.
A midwife or nurse takes a few drops of blood from your baby's heel using a special device. They collect the blood onto a special card and send it for testing.