Pulse oximetry - your chance to voice your opinion

The UK’s National Screening Committee has been considering routine pulse oximetry screening for critical heart defects in newborn babies for a number of years.

A recent review undertaken by NHS England recommended to the UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) against using pulse oximetry as an additional test in the newborn and infant physical exam (NIPE).

A public consultation is now being held on whether the evidence presented supports the decision, if you have an opinion on the importance of pulse oximetry testing this is your chance to speak.

Pulse oximetry screening is a safe, painless and simple test that has been shown, in research studies involving almost half a million babies, to identify consistently babies with life-threatening heart defects (critical congenital heart defects or CCHD) before they become seriously unwell.

Guidance about the pulse oximetry consultation.

An overview of the subject areas covered by the consultation, including The National Screening Committee’s outline regarding their current decision against offering pulse oximetry in all hospitals.

All responses to the consultation will be of great value to the consultation organisers, especially parental feedback on their own experience of pulse oximetry testing.

If your child was offered pulse oximetry testing, and their congenital heart disease was diagnosed because of the test, please share this with the consultation.  Positive stories are very important.

Should you also wish to share your experiences relating to issues affecting:

  • parental anxiety
  • longer stays in hospital
  • transfers to neonatal units and overdiagnosis of treatment
  • false reassurance or false negatives

and how these were addressed in a positive way, that too will be of great value to the consultation.

There are four steps to the consultation process:

  1. 1. Look at the consultation website
  2. 2. Read the cover note 
  3. 3. Complete the consultation comments form that can be downloaded from here
  4. 4. Send the comments form to screening.evidence@nhs.net by 09 August 2019.


Background information relating to the National Screening Committee’s Pulse oximetry pilot

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