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Preterm babies more likely to survive in larger newborn care units
Date:7/8/2014

including age, birth weight and sex of the baby.

Fellow researcher Professor Neena Modi from the Department of Medicine, Imperial College London said: "Our research shows that neonatal units that are larger and busier in terms of the amount of care they provide to preterm babies are more likely to show better clinical outcomes for these vulnerable infants. This supports the networked approach that centralises the delivery of specialised neonatal care in high volume units and enables women at risk to be transferred to these units to receive the care they need."

There has been much debate about the organisation of critical care services for newborn babies, especially in relation to the volume and intensity of care units. In 2003 the UK created a model of networked, regionalised units to facilitate the transfer of preterm babies to higher care specialist units (NICUs), whilst also maintaining access to less specialist low volume units for those mothers and babies less at risk. These are now known as English Operational Delivery Networks. The results of this study support this approach but the researchers call for a need to further evaluate the effect of the transfers and to consider ways to improve procedures surrounding them.

Sam Watson said: "Our study indicates that ensuring very preterm babies, particularly those born at less than 27 weeks, are delivered in hospitals with high volume neonatal units improves their outcome, but there could be a knock-on effect on other patient groups if smaller neonatal units are closed. Babies who are not born so early but who are still vulnerable may have to travel far from home as a consequence and this is why further research is urgently needed."

Fellow researcher and professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Warwick, Wiji Arulampalam added: "This research underscores the importance of academic collaboration to bring together expertise from different fields of study. The stu
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Contact: Kelly Parkes-Harrison
k.e.parkes@warwick.ac.uk
07-824-540-863
University of Warwick
Source:Eurekalert

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