The PReCePT programme (PReventing Cerebral palsy in Pre-Term labour) is brightening the futures of families across the South West by reducing the likelihood of preterm babies developing cerebral palsy.
The South West Academic Health Science Network has led the roll out of the national PReCePT project across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Devon and Somerset since 2017.
As the adoption stage of our regional programme comes to an end, Dr Wisam Muhsen, consultant neonatologist at University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust and regional PReCePT lead in the South West reveals the keys to PReCePT’s success and how the programme has brought everyone on board.
PReCePT aims to improve how we manage the delivery of infants born 10 or more weeks early. The programme focuses on increasing the number of women presenting in pre-term labour electing to be treated with a medicine called magnesium sulphate. Research shows that this drug, if given to a mother in pre-term labour, can protects the development of their baby’s brain and reduce the likelihood of them developing cerebral palsy, a group of lifelong conditions affecting movement and coordination.
At University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust we were administering magnesium sulphate to mothers before the region began to adopt PReCePT, but our aim was to increase awareness and confidence among practitioners. We sought to ensure that they were better able, at the right time, to offer this important drug to pre-term mothers.
Our clinical skills team undertook training with doctors, nurses, and support workers both face-to-face and online. This investment of time, skill and attention has paid off.
PReCePT has had an immediate impact on patients and practitioners, as well as shown potential for its long-term impact too. In the months leading up to the close of the formal adoption stage, PReCePT in the South West was reporting 100% take up of magnesium sulphate among eligible mothers.
Feedback from practitioners shows adoption of the program has had practical, tangible results as well as lasting benefits for the team members that participated. Staff feel the programme has helped to improve hospital-to-hospital communications and relationships, as well as given them strength in implementing a serious change in practice.
PReCePT owes its success to a three key factors: individuals, networking, and organisational support.
The team was comprised of professionals who are enthusiastic and eager to have a positive impact on maternity and neonatal services both locally and across the region. We had the right mix of expertise.
Team members placed in different parts of the region allowed for easy access to data from maternity units, enabled exploration of local needs, and gave opportunities for regular feedback, while enabling the sharing of ideas and experiences across the region.
We received great support from the South West Academic Health Science Network through regular communications, meetings and sessions to share information and ideas. These activities were crucial in getting the project up and running. The SW AHSN’s analytical and statistical input was also essential in analysing how the project was progressing. Participating NHS trusts were also committed to the programme.
Through my role as regional lead for the PReCePT project I have gained a valuable insight into the working dynamics of the maternity and obstetric teams on a regional level. It has also highlighted to me that the best possible outcome can be achieved if maternity, obstetric, and neonatal teams work together at regional or national level as one giant team. Furthermore, PReCePT shows that regular communications and sharing experiences are central to the success of any project, especially the ones aimed to improve quality of care for patients. It was an eye opener!
For more information on PReCept, visit our webpage.