1 Feb 2013

Improvements to newborn hearing programme

9:32 am on 1 February 2013

A review by a group at the Ministry of Health is recommending changes to improve screening procedures for the hearing of newborns.

In December it was revealed the hearing of 2000 babies in six district health board areas were not properly screened. People employed to do so, screened their own hearing instead.

The review ruled out incompetency, but said intense work pressure, lack of training and support, and funding constraints may have been factors.

The reviewers said little harm was done, with only one rescreened baby found to have a hearing loss.

Associate Health Minister Jo Goodhew said she accepts the review's 21 recommendations, and implementing them will be a top priority.

She said 100 screeners did their job properly and a few did not.

The parents of the 2000 babies tested are being contacted about having them re-screened.