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Recommendations on ordering blood tests for neonatal heel prick screening programme : Planning and recent developments

Synopsis

The Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) has entered into agreements with a number of laboratories for the performance of blood tests as part of the neonatal heel prick screening programme. The terms of these agreements run until 31 December 2016. Any new agreements to be concluded after that time must take account of the provisions of the new Procurement Act (Aanbestedingswet), and strike the right balance between the costs and benefits of performing blood tests. As a result, new laboratories may qualify for RIVM contracts. Laboratories can only submit a properly elaborated offer if the requirements they must meet are known in full. However, the requirements applicable to blood tests are not clear at this time since numerous changes are expected in this field in the coming years. For instance, research must be performed into the consequences of the inclusion of fourteen new and rare conditions in the heel prick screening programme. In April 2015, the Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport announced her intention to gradually expand the programme to include these conditions. In addition, the specifications for the programme's new ICT system and the modernized equipment to be used have not yet been finalized. For these reasons, RIVM recommends concluding interim agreements with a five-year term with the laboratories currently performing blood tests. This approach will allow the knowledge and experience gained by these laboratories to be used to introduce innovations in the screening programme.
 

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