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Bliss-backed research project receives million-pound Government grant

29 June 2017

A research project supported by Bliss has received nearly £1 million to help improve the lives of premature babies.

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) was granted just over £924,000 by the Department of Health for a study which aims to tangibly improve outcomes for babies born premature.

The study, called OPTI-PREM, aims to improve service delivery for babies born between 27 and 31 weeks gestation by determining the best place of care for them.

Tilly Pillay, the study’s Chief Investigator, said: “Significant new evidence shows that care in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), as opposed to a Local Neonatal Unit (LNU), has benefit in terms of improved survival to discharge for those born at before 26 weeks gestation; this is shaping policy for this group in England. In contrast, there is little evidence to guide care of the larger number of babies born between 27 and 31 weeks of gestation.

"Our research will determine which environment offers the best clinical outcomes for babies at each gestational age in this group, and will take into account parent and staff perspectives on best place of care."

RWT is leading the study and is supported by Bliss, University of Oxford, University of Leicester, Imperial College London and the Neonatal Data Analysis Unit.

The study began in April 2017 and continues until 2020. It will analyse data on approximately 24,000 babies in England and the data will be used to develop national policy on how best to care for these babies in future.

Bliss is delighted to be supporting the OPTI-PREM research project which is looking at the best place to care for babies who are born between 27 and 31 weeks gestation. Bliss champions the right for every baby born premature or sick in the UK to receive the best care. We particularly welcome how the voice of parents, babies and their families have been involved in every stage of this project.

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