Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

RCSI Welcomes Minister for Health’s decision to convene Guthrie heel-prick cards expert group

26 March 2013

The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland greatly welcomes Minister for Health James Reilly's decision to postpone destruction of the Guthrie heel-prick cards and convene an expert group to review how the cards can be archived. 

Professor Patrick Broe, President of RCSI said "The Guthrie heel-prick test cards are a unique and precious National archive. As a medical institution, RCSI strongly believes the archived test cards are a great National resource for basic and clinical research. The genetic information contained on these cards has already saved lives and alleviated immense suffering within Ireland and they are a precious resource for future genetic studies of the Irish population. These cards put us in a unique place to study patterns of disease within Irish society over many years and their importance should not be ignored."

Prof Broe continued "Given the rapid advances being made in medical sciences, it is highly probable that the use of these cards in ethically approved research will lead to future discoveries that will alleviate suffering from many additional syndromes in the future."

"I greatly welcome Minister Reilly's decision to review in greater detail the protection of these cards and hope that the expert group Minister Reilly is convening will include medical and scientific experts who understand the immense medical and societal value that these cards possess," Prof Broe continued.