Premature birth is the leading cause of brain injury and cerebral palsy in babies. Evidence shows that you can protect babies from brain injury by giving women who are at risk of having a premature delivery magnesium sulphate. This protects babies’ brains and reduces the risk of cerebral palsy in a third of cases. But two thirds of premature babies in the UK do not receive this highly cost-effective treatment, which costs approximately £1 per dose.

To increase the uptake of the treatment, a quality improvement package, PReCePT1, has been successfully implemented in five maternity units in West England. The package was co-designed by clinical teams and mothers who had experienced premature deliveries. The proportion of women at these units receiving magnesium sulphate increased from 35% before the intervention to around 60% during and after the intervention. 

This Scaling Up Improvement project, PReCePT2, will scale this quality improvement package to another 10 maternity units across the UK. The project will use and evaluate the effectiveness of two different approaches to delivering the magnesium sulphate treatment: supported versus a self-engaged implementation.   

PReCePT2 is designed to increase awareness and knowledge about use of magnesium sulphate as a treatment during premature delivery. The project will provide practical tools and training to staff in acute clinical settings so they consider the treatment in women who are at risk of having a premature delivery.  

The project will involve clinical training at each site and quality improvement training at learning events. There will be visual data management and ‘nudges’ to remind staff and to encourage behaviour change. Engagement with patients and voluntary groups and use of social networks will all raise the profile of PReCePT2.

All women who are admitted to the participating maternity units with an imminent very premature delivery (less than 30 weeks gestational age) will benefit from this intervention, which if it were scaled up to a national level would mean around 11,000 infants per year benefiting. 

Find out more

Add new comment

* indicates a required field

Your email address will not be published on the site and will only be used if we need to contact you about your comment.

View our comments policy