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NHS North West: Antenatal, Newborn and Child Health Screening Failsafe Assessment

The UK National Screening Committee (NSC) had mandated that all regional Antenatal, Newborn and Child Health Screening Teams undertake a failsafe assessment of screening services within regions. ESC was commissioned to conduct the failsafe assessments for the North West region.

ESC objectives were to;

  • Provide expertise and additional operational capacity to deliver the UK NSC required failsafe assessment.
  • Deliver high quality reporting to improve screening services across the North West region.


What ESC did

  • Completed the specified failsafe assessments for the antenatal and newborn screening pathways for 23 North West maternity service providers. This involved site visits, telephone interviews and email data collection.
  • Data collected from non-clinical and clinical pathways: midwifery, obstetrics, paediatrics, ultrasonography and local/regional laboratory services.
  • Assessed practices and policy against UK NSC standards and presented complex and sometimes contentious findings in provider reports.


  • Provider reports identified non-compliant protocols, areas for improvement and also, best practice which was subsequently shared in an overall regional report.
  • Audit identified three organisations with non-compliant protocols initiating incident and recall steps.