Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


MoU signed covering access to Guthrie cards

MoU signed covering access to Guthrie cards

The Ministry of Health and the Police today announced the joint signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which regulates requests from the Police for access to the country's historical store of blood spots or 'Guthrie cards'.

Collection of blood spots via heel pricks from newborns was introduced as a national service in the 1960s for the purpose of identifying specific metabolic conditions, such as congenital hypothyroidism and cystic fibrosis. Heel prick tests continue to be used today with the testing, reporting and treatment for metabolic conditions, screening over 56,000 newborns each year.

The MoU between the Police and the Ministry clarifies the circumstances in which requests for access to the cards may be granted and the process for doing so.

National Screening Unit Group Manager Karen Mitchell described the MoU as recognition that the blood spot card and information associated with it is collected for health purposes only and any use of the card for non-health related purposes is exceptional.

"The Guthrie cards, as part of the Newborn Metabolic Screening Programme, are a valuable means of identifying rare, metabolic conditions. That's what the blood spots are collected for and it's important that we reflected that in this MoU."

"However, it's also important to acknowledge that there will be requests from the Police from time to time for access to the cards for other legitimate purposes."

The Police may request access to a specified card, for example where a body is found and all other avenues for identifying the person have failed, or where biological material is available and requires a match to identify a specific person who is deceased or missing.

Police spokesperson Inspector John Walker said that the MoU formalised current practise.

"The MoU formalises what has largely been current practise for the Police in terms of the circumstances for requesting access to the cards. It provides us with clear guidelines and processes for doing so," he said.

The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Acting Police Commissioner Steve Long and Director-General of Health Dr Karen Poutasi.

The MoU is seen as one step covering access to the cards. The Ministry is working on further policy, in relation to the on-going storage, retention and use of the cards, which may lead to future legislation.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods (is the dollar up or down?) the outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Negotiations: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word.. More>>


Contains Highly Colloquial Language: Your F**king Guide To Government Formation

The following message is in no way endorsed by the Electoral Commission. They are f**king done with this election. More>>

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election