A directive in Australia that hospitals seek parental consent before carrying out heel-prick testing has raised concerns that there may be a decrease in the number of babies tested and identified as having any disease.
A State Government report said that hospitals would be better off if they took written consent instead of verbal consent prevailing now. "It's important that children are tested so they can have treatment properly before they get sick, to prevent them developing intellectual disability or other problems," Genetic Health Services Victoria director Agnes Bankier said. "I think there is a real risk that there would be babies who would not receive treatment early enough."
Health Minister Bronwyn Pike is currently mulling if there is a need to introduce new legislation for newborn screening programs.