September 11, 2014, the 40th anniversary of the Dutch neonatal screening
programme was celebrated. While the programme stably screened for one, and then
three diseases (PKU, CAH, CH) for many years, in 2005 an advisory committee of
the Health Council (the major advisory body on health issues towards the Dutch
ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports), recommended to expand the programme
with 14 diseases at once. The minister adopted this advice and in two years’
time, the entire Dutch neonatal screening organization prepared to be ready for
this major expansion, starting January 1, 2007. In 2013, the minister of Health
ordered a follow-up advice of the Dutch health council, focusing on four
- Should the programme be expanded yet again, and with what diseases?
- How should the programme deal with unintended findings?
- How should the programme deal with detected carriers?
- Should the timing of the blood sampling be changed?
presentation, the carefully crafted approach of shaping the innovation of the
Dutch neonatal screening programme is covered. Then, the major points of the
most recent advice of the Health council, issued April 8, 2015 are discussed, to
give an overview of the developments in the next coming years. To uncover a
glimpse of what awaits us, the minister of Health, in a very speedy response,
sanctioned an expansion of the programme with yet another 14 diseases, possibly
making it one of the most expanded in Europe.