Letters Guthrie cards in Republic of Ireland

Irish public would prefer legislation to protect Guthrie card archive rather than destroy it

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f5232 (Published 04 September 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f5232
  1. John Allen, senior house officer, paediatrics 1,
  2. Peter McCarthy, senior house officer, neonatology2,
  3. Eugene M Dempsey, consultant neonatologist 1,
  4. Jonathan O’B Hourihane, consultant paediatrician and professor of paediatrics and child health 13
  1. 1Cork University Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland
  2. 2Cork University Maternity Hospital, Cork, Republic of Ireland
  3. 3University College Cork, Cork, Republic of Ireland
  1. j.hourihane{at}ucc.ie

The Republic of Ireland initiated the national neonatal blood card screening programme in 1966. In 2012 the Department of Health and Children (DOHC) announced its decision to destroy much of the archive from before 2010 (>1 million cards), fearful of non-compliance with data protection legislation.1 After lobbying by interested parties,2 this destruction was deferred in March 2013.3 The DOHC sought justification for retaining the archive in relation to existing …

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