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Exciting developments with blood spot failsafe

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: NHS Newborn Blood Spot Screening Programme

In today’s blog post we’d like to tell you about the great progress we’ve made with the Newborn Blood Spot Failsafe Solution (NBSFS).

NBSFS is a web-based system that helps to detect all babies born in England that have missed or delayed newborn blood spot screening. It works by alerting maternity staff when a baby’s blood spot card hasn’t arrived in the screening laboratory on time.

A health professional carrying out a newborn blood spot test on a baby.

Making an impact

All labs and maternity units in England and the Isle of Man (including the Portland hospital) are now using NBSFS, and there is even a link to a similar system in Wales. Specialist children’s hospitals such as Birmingham Children’s Hospital are also interested in using the system to make sure that newborn babies in their care haven’t missed screening.

NBSFS really works – users tell us it’s regularly picking up babies who may have otherwise missed screening. The benefits of this are huge. If these babies had a condition, missed screening might have meant serious illness and even death due to late diagnosis and treatment. A local user highlighted a great example:

There has been one record that I wanted to make you aware of which was for a baby born at [hospital]. They failed to notify [neighbouring community team] of the discharge home and therefore the first we knew about it was when the baby appeared on failsafe so this is an excellent example of where the system picked up not only a blood spot that had been missed but the postnatal care of mum and baby. It is all sorted now.

Exciting developments

The next step is for labs to upload blood spot screening results onto NBSFS. This means that in the future these results can be sent with the baby’s hearing and newborn physical screening results to child health (where the baby’s screening and immunisation records are held).

Excitingly, NBSFS could also be used to track long-term health outcomes for babies with screen-positive results. This will help to monitor the effectiveness of the screening programme.

If you have a problem that affects use of NBSFS please contact the service helpdesk (0845 070 2778 /

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