Calls are being made for basic, uniform testing regimes to be implemented for all newborn babies born in the European Union.

Fianna Fáil MEP Billy Kelleher raised the issue during an intervention, as Gaeilge, on the introduction of a possible European Health Union, whereby certain competencies in health would be managed at a European level.

“At present, every country when it comes to, for example the heel prick test, decides which diseases or syndromes to test for. Ireland tests for nine, France tests for six, yet Spain tests for 24.

“This is crucially important for the diagnosing and early treatme of rare diseases. There should be a basic set of uniform tests provided to newborn babies born in the European Union,” he said.

According to Kelleher, the European Health Union is a topic of debate that is gaining traction across Europe, and the Covid-19 pandemic has shown, at an EU level, the need to work together better.

“This is an issue that merits introduction. This isn’t about taking the day-to-day running of health services away from national governments but it’s about setting basic standards of care and diagnostics that all citizens should be able to avail of.

“The European Health Union was an issue that was raised considerably in the Conference on the Future of Europe, and I expect this issue to become a key discussion when the Convention, the body charged with proposing possible treaty changes, is set up,” concluded Mr Kelleher.