Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Title: Optimising neonatal service provision for preterm babies born between 27 and 31 weeks gestation in England (OPTIPREM), using national data, qualitative research and economic analysis: a study protocol
Authors: Pillay, T
Modi, N
Rivero-Arias, O
Manktelow, B
Seaton, S
Armstrong, N
Draper, E
Dawson, K
Paton, A
Ismail, AQ
Yang, M
Boyle, E
First Published: 2019
Publisher: BMJ Journals
Citation: BMJ Open, 2019, In Press
Abstract: Introduction: In England, for babies born at 23-26 weeks gestation, care in a Neonatal Intensive Care unit (NICU) as opposed to a Local Neonatal Unit (LNU) improves survival to discharge. This evidence is shaping neonatal health services. In contrast, there is no evidence to guide location of care for the next most vulnerable group (born at 27-31 weeks gestation) whose care is currently spread between 45 NICU and 84 LNU in England. This group represents 12% of preterm births in England and over a third of all neonatal unit care days. Compared to those born at 23-26 weeks gestation they account for four times more admissions and twice as many NHS bed days/year. Methods: In this mixed methods study our primary objective is to assess, for babies born at 27-31 weeks gestation and admitted to a neonatal unit in England, whether care in a NICU versus a LNU impacts on survival and key morbidities (up to age 1 year), at each gestational age in weeks. Routinely recorded data extracted from real-time, point-of-care patient management systems held in the National Neonatal Research Database, Hospital Episode Statistics and Office for National Statistics, for January 2014 to December 2018, will be analysed. Secondary objectives are to assess a)whether differences in care provided, rather than a focus on LNU/NICU designation, drives gestation-specific outcomes, b)where care is most cost-effective, c)what parents’ and clinicians' perspectives are on place of care, and how these could guide clinical decision-making. Our findings will be used to develop recommendations, in collaboration with national bodies, to inform clinical practice, commissioning and policy making. The project is supported by a parent advisory panel, and a study steering committee. Ethics and dissemination: Research ethics approval has been obtained (IRAS 212304). Dissemination will be through publication of findings and development of recommendations for care. Strengths and Limitations of this Study Strengths  Scientific evidence from this study will be used to develop national recommendations for health service delivery for babies born between 27-31 weeks gestation in England.  This will be guided by clinical outcomes, cost-effectiveness, parents’ and staff perspectives. Limitations  As a retrospective population-based observational cohort study it is subject to selection bias in the assignment of location of birth of babies.  Heterogeneity in the quality of care provided within and between LNU and NICU, is likely, and will be addressed.  Formal study-driven neurodevelopmental follow up is not cost-effective in this large cohort, so routinely collected data will be used to investigate their outcomes.
ISSN: 2044-6055
Links: TBA
Embargo on file until: 1-Jan-10000
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2019. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Description: Project details can be found at Information on how to obtain data from the NNRD can be found at: Project registration This Research is registered on the database (NCT02994849), and the ISRCTN registry (ISRCTN74230187).
The file associated with this record is under embargo until publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Health Sciences

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
bmjopen19june2019v2proof.pdfPost-review (final submitted author manuscript)891.19 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

Items in LRA are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.