Urgent Review Launched After NHS Fails Thousands of Deaf Babies
The NHS has failed to offer some families the chance to test for a kind of deafness that can only be detected shortly after birth, according to a report in The Sunday Times. The Independent Screening Committee will now launch an urgent review of the tests offered to newborn babies in England.
Parents whose children were born deaf without any known genetic causes have been calling for a universal screening programme for the condition, after it emerged that some NHS trusts failed to offer the recommended auditory screening test to newborns. The newborn hearing screening programme, which was introduced in England in 2006, is supposed to be offered to all newborns within four to five days of birth.
A screening test can also detect a much more rare form of deafness known as auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder (ANSD), which can only be seen within a narrow window of time following birth. When the condition is missed and remains undiagnosed, it can have a significant impact, as the children’s development and language skills will be affected. It is estimated that 100 to 150 babies every year are born with ANSD.
The report claims that less than half of all newborns in England are being offered the ANSD screening test, which is a “source of distress and potential long-term harm” to many families.
What the Department of Health Says
The Department of Health says that it welcomes the review and will work closely with the Independent Screening Committee. The department also says it will look at how the system can be improved to ensure that all babies who could have the ANSD condition are identified and referred for support.
What is Being Done?
The Independent Screening Committee has now launched an urgent review which will investigate the quality of screening services offered by the NHS. The review will focus on the ANSD test, to make sure that all babies who need it are being tested.
Hospitals that are found to be failing could face financial penalties, according to sources quoted in the Sunday Times report.
#NHS #Deafness #ANSD #ScreeningService #NewbornHearingScreeningProgramme #DepartmentofHealth
The Independent Screening Committee is carrying out an urgent review after The Sunday Times reported that the NHS failed to offer all newborn babies the chance to test for a kind of deafness that can only be detected within a narrow window of time following birth. The screening can detect a rare form of deafness known as ANSD, which can have a significant impact on children’s development and language skills. The review will look at the quality of screening services offered by the NHS, and ensure that all babies who need the ANSD test are being tested. The Department of Health says it will work closely with the committee and look at how the system can be improved. Hospitals that are found to be failing could face financial penalties. #BUSINESS