Guidance

Newborn and infant physical examination screening: programme overview

An overview of the NHS newborn and physical examination (NIPE) screening programme, its 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.

The newborn and infant physical examination screening programme (NIPE) is one of the antenatal and newborn NHS population screening programmes.

NIPE screens newborn babies within 72 hours of birth, and then once again between 6 to 8 weeks for conditions relating to their:

  • heart
  • hips
  • eyes
  • testes

The 6 to 8 week screen is necessary as some conditions appear later in a child’s development.

NHS choices has further information that parents may find helpful.

Screening is different to diagnosis and there will always be some false positive and false negative results.

Evidence and recommendations

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

Conditions

The screening tests for you and your baby document sets out the screening tests used for newborn and infant physical examinations.

NIPE currently offers newborn screening to babies born in England for:

Providing prompt care

There is a clear pathway to care for healthcare professionals.

Use the NIPE screening standards document combined with clinical guidance documents to offer a consistent service that conforms nationally.

Data and quality assurance

NIPE uses key performance indicators to help define the standards of care required, collecting data to determine if clinics and staff are meeting those standards.

Health professionals should use the national quality assurance team’s managing incidents guidance should any problems occur during the screening procedure.

There are also failsafe procedures in place to ensure there is a back-up if there are any problems.

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

Commissioning

Commissioners for NIPE must use the set service specification to offer a programme that is fit for purpose and meets the standards set by the national NIPE programme.

Education and training

Read about the education and training for healthcare professionals working in NIPE screening.

This includes e-learning and other training resources.

Contact the screening programme

NHS population screening helpdesk

PHE Screening
Floor 5
Wellington House
133-155 Waterloo Road

London
SE1 8UG

The helpdesk is not for media enquiries and does not have access to screening results. For queries about results, contact your GP or local screening service. Order screening leaflets at www.gov.uk/phe/screening-leaflets.

Published 1 January 2013