newborn screening programme


Kernicterus is a condition caused by jaundice in newborn babies. It can result in a type of brain damage that can cause death or long-term effects including cerebral palsy and hearing loss. Premature babies are most at risk.

Read more about kernicterus on the NHS website.

UK NSC screening recommendation Based on the last UK NSC review of this condition that occurred in August 2016.

Screening is not currently recommended for this condition.

Universal newborn screening for Kernicterus is not recommended because:

  • it is not clear if screening would help to find babies at risk of developing kernicterus
  • current tests identify babies as being ill when they are not, many would be treated without need
  • current treatments can reduce bilirubin levels but it is not known if they are effective in the long term

Supporting documents from the 2016 review

Evidence summary Kernicterus (2015)
This document provides the evidence on which the current UK NSC recommendation is based.

UK NSC coversheet & consultation responses Kernicterus (2016)
This document summarises the review process including the public consultation comments.

Review cycle

Date previous review completed: 2016

Next review estimated to be completed: 2021 to 2022.

To see previous evidence reviews, visit the UK NSC archive.

Organisations interested in Kernicterus

These organisations have expressed interest in this recommendation and may submit responses to evidence reviews.

List of organisations

If you think your organisation should be added, please contact us.