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DNA from millions of newborn babies is secretly stored on NHS database

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Carol Driver
UK Daily Mail
May 24, 2010

DNA taken from millions of newborn babies is quietly being stored by hospitals without proper parental consent.

The blood samples, taken in heel-prick tests that check for serious conditions, can be accessed by police, coroners and medical researchers, Freedom of Information Act requests reveal.

Despite Government guidelines advising hospitals to destroy the DNA after five years, some facilities have kept them on file for more than 20 years – prompting fears that a covert database is being created.

Campaigners claim the 32-page leaflets – explaining that newborns’ DNA will be stored – handed to new mothers, does not constitute consent for hospitals to carry out further research.

Nor, they say, does it make clear the samples could be accessed by the police to identify people involved in crimes.

And, although the DNA of each child is stored anonymously, The UK Newborn Screening Programme Centre, which oversees the use of samples, say they could be linked to hospital admissions and the child could be identified that way.

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This article was posted: Monday, May 24, 2010 at 10:31 am





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