All babies born in Ireland are screened for 6 rare conditions soon after birth. This ensures that babies with rare conditions can be given early and appropriate care. This is known as the Heel Prick Test. It involves taking a few drops of blood from the baby's heel onto a screening card for testing. The screening programme was updated in June 2011 and screening cards are now stored with parental consent for 10 years after the test is completed.
The National Newborn Bloodspot Screening Programme has older screening cards from all heel prick tests carried out since 1984 in storage. To comply with national and EU Data Protection law, these screening cards from babies born between 1984 and 2002 will be disposed of during 2013. From 2013, this will be done every year for cards over 10 years old.