Blood Spot Quality Management

Extended Screening Policy

Regional Policy template for newborn screening for Inherited Metabolic Diseases (IMDs) in the South West.

Turn around time & Quality standards 

The UK National Screening Committee sets national standards for newborn screening. Several of these relate to turn-around time and availability of results.


  • Samples should be received by the laboratory within 4 working days (target within 3 working days). It is therefore important that samples are posted on the day of sample collection.
  • Avoidable repeat rate <2% ideally <0.5%.
  • Timeliness of repeat sample collection: within 3 calendar days of receipt of request from the laboratory (This excludes repeats for borderline TSH which should be collected between 7 - 10 days after the previous sample, and Inconclusive CF repeats to be collected at 21 days of age).


  • Once the sample has been received by the laboratory, positive screening results for IMDs and CHT should be available and clinical referral initiated within four working days (target within 3 working days).

Receipt into clinical care: 

  • Babies in whom an inherited metabolic disease is suspected through newborn screening should attend their first clinical appointment by 17 days of age (target by 14 days of age). Targets for babies in whom CHT, SCD or CF is suspected vary between 2 and 8 weeks of age depending on the number of samples collected and types of tests performed in the diagnostic algorithm. 

Timeliness of results to parents:

  • Letters to parents from the child health record departments for babies in which NONE of the 9 conditions are suspected, must be sent by six weeks of age.

Laboratory Quality Assurance
Within our UKAS Accredited laboratory, we strive to provide results of excellent quality. To ensure that we continue to improve our service we hold regular quality meetings, perform a detailed annual audit and have annual governance regional meetings. We also participate in the following external quality assurance schemes:

  • UKNEQAS for Newborn Screening (includes Phe, Tyr, TSH, IRT, C8, C10, C8/C10, C5, C5DC, Leu, Met)
  • UKNEQAS Sickle cell screening
  • CDC Bloodspot Galactosaemia screen
  • ERNDIM Bloodspot acylcarnitines
  • ERNDIM Organic acid profile
  • ERNDIM Organic acid proficiency DPT

Contact Newborn Screening

Newborn Screening
Clinical Biochemistry
Pathology Sciences Laboratory
Southmead Hospital
BS10 5NB

Telephone: 0117 4148412

Opening times: 9am - 5pm Monday - Friday excluding bank holidays.

Clinical advice & interpretation is available during working hours.

Access the NHS Blood Spot Screening Programme Centre