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J Med Screen. 2006;13(1):14-9.

An analysis of the costs of implementing the National Newborn Hearing Screening Programme in England.

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Audiology & Deafness Group, School of Psychological Sciences, Faculty of Medical and Human Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK.



The primary aim of this analysis was to prospectively assess the full economic costs associated with implementing Newborn Hearing Screening Programme (NHSP) based on a two-stage screen, transient evoked otoacoustic emissions followed, if there is no clear response, by automated auditory brainstem response. Economic data were also collected from the Infant Distraction Test Screening (IDTS) service performed by health visitors at around eight months of age, which was being phased out. A comparison of costs and outcomes associated with NHSP and IDTS was conducted.


20 NHSP sites were invited to provide detailed cost data on NHSP implementation and 14 of these sites were selected to provide costs on the IDTS service that was being supplanted.


There was marked variability in the costs. Given the higher yield of NHSP sites, the average cost per case detected across NHSP sites (31,410 pounds/case) was approximately half that of IDTS sites (69,919 pounds/case). Including family costs, the average total cost per case of NHSP (34,826 pounds/case) was almost a quarter of IDTS (117,942 pounds/case).


Family costs and cost per case associated with NHSP are considerably less than that with IDTS. These findings support the policy of implementation of NHSP and the phasing out of the IDTS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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