Programme to prevent cerebral palsy in pre-term babies wins HSJ Patient Safety Award

11 July 2019

The quality improvement programme Prevention of Cerebral Palsy in PreTerm Labour (PreCePT), led by clinicians at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and at the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), won a Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Award in the Maternity and Midwifery Services Initiative of the Year category on 2 July 2019.

Premature birth is the main cause of brain injury and cerebral palsy in babies. Through PReCePT, women going into early labour under 30 weeks are offered magnesium sulphate, which helps to protect their babies’ brains. As a result, fewer babies are likely to develop cerebral palsy, improving quality of life for both preterm babies and their families. A dose of magnesium sulphate costs from just £1. Find out more about the PReCePT programme.

PReCePT was originally developed in 2014 by Dr Karen Luyt, a neonatologist at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, working with colleagues at the West of England AHSN.

Since then, PReCePT has been rolled out across nationally and is also running in tandem with the PReCePT Study, a research trial nested within the national programme, funded by the Health Foundation and in partnership with CLAHRC West.

The judges’ citation said:

“This was on a different scale to the other entries. It has had a huge impact with good engagement from other organisations. The judges were particularly impressed with the patient/parent involvement.”

Speaking about the award, Dr Karen Luyt said:

“I’m thrilled PReCePT has won an HSJ Award! It has been amazing to see PReCePT grow from a small programme in the West of England to the national neonatal programme it is today, and I’m really proud to have been part of the team. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to PReCePT.”

Emma Treloar, consultant obstetrician at University Hospitals Bristol and obstetric lead for PReCePT, added:

“Working with Karen Luyt and being involved in the success of PReCePT at St Michael’s Hospital and the South West is hugely satisfying. Knowing that we are giving the best start to preterm babies born locally and, beyond this, sharing the work of PReCePT nationally is incredibly rewarding. For the programme to be recognised by the HSJ is fantastic for everyone involved.”

Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive of the West of England AHSN, said:

“We’re absolutely thrilled PReCePT has won an HSJ Patient Safety Award and for the success of the programme to be recognised at this prestigious event.

“PReCePT started as a brilliant evidence-informed idea from Dr Karen Luyt at St Michael’s Hospital, which the West of England AHSN helped to spread to all our maternity trusts in the region, using strong quality improvement methodology and involving both parents and staff. And with the coordination and leadership of the entire AHSN, it has grown into the national programme it is today, bringing together the entire neonatal community and working with all 152 maternity trusts in England.

“I’m immensely proud of what the team has achieved. Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to PReCePT and made a huge impact on the lives of very premature babies and their families.”


Watch the highlights from the HSJ Awards ceremony