Population screening programmes – guidance

Infectious diseases in pregnancy screening: programme overview

This document explains the NHS infectious diseases in pregnancy screening (IDPS) programme, its policies and services, and contact information.

Screening is the process of identifying people who appear healthy but may be at increased risk of a disease or condition.

Healthcare professionals will offer information, further tests and appropriate treatment to reduce any complications arising from the disease or condition.

Evidence and recommendations

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) assesses evidence and makes recommendations to the 4 UK governments about population screening programmes.


The infectious diseases in pregnancy screening (IDPS) programme currently screens for:

Screening tests

Midwives and healthcare professionals should offer and recommend testing to all pregnant women as part of their antenatal care. The woman’s decision to accept or decline testing should be noted in the woman’s health records.

Healthcare professionals take a blood sample from a pregnant woman and send it for testing. The screening tests for you and your baby leaflet sets out the test process and purpose.

Providing prompt care

Each condition has a clear pathway to care. Healthcare professionals should be familiar with these pathways and the timeframe in which to refer patients.

Acute hepatitis B is a notifiable disease in England and Wales. The screening lab must report all confirmed positive results to Public Health England (PHE). Further information on the diagnosis and vaccination of babies born to infected mothers is available from PHE.

The IDPS programme is currently developing leaflets to help support discussions with women who screen positive.

More information on hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV as well as the the screening process is available on NHS Choices.


Healthcare professionals can register for the IDPS learning module to update their knowledge about the screening process.


All commissioners and service providers should refer to the NHS IDPS service specification, and supporting documents to ensure a programme is set up correctly and is meeting the standards set by the national screening team.

The service specification sets out expected outcomes and funding provided for NHS England to commission public health services.


Key performance indicators (KPIs) for the NHS screening programmes measure how the screening programmes are performing. The IDPS programme currently collect 2 KPIs.

The IDPS programme works collaboratively within PHE to support collection of surveillance data as part of the national antenatal infection screening and monitoring (NAISM).

The IDPS programme commissions the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre of Epidemiology for Child Health at University College London Hospitals (UCLH) Institute of Child Health to collect data on screening programme outcomes. Current projects include:

The guidelines on handling patient information explain how to use and safeguard personal data in screening.

Contact the screening programme

NHS population screening helpdesk

Public Health England Zone B
Floor 2 Skipton House
80 London Road


Please note the helpdesk is not for media enquiries.

The helpdesk and national programmes do not have access to screening results.

Parents: contact your midwife or health visitor for information on screening results.

Health professionals: contact the local screening team, screening laboratory or local child health records department.