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PReCePT – Reducing rates of cerebral palsy in pre term labour

The PReCePT initiative has been designed to help reduce cerebral palsy in babies by administering magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) to mothers during preterm labour.

We are working with trusts across the partnership to increase the use of magnesium sulphate for neuroprotection to 85% of eligible pre-term births. This work is part of a national ambition underway with all the AHSNs in the country to help reduce the rates of cerebral palsy.

Why is this important?

Babies born preterm are at an increased risk of dying in the first weeks of life, and those who survive may suffer from varying degrees of cerebral palsy, including blindness, deafness or physical disabilities.

Antenatal magnesium sulphate given prior to preterm birth for fetal neuroprotection considerably reduces the incidence of cerebral palsy.

For more information on the efficacy of magnesium sulphate for neuroprotection, read The Cochrane Systematic Review of Magnesium Sulphate for neuroprotection.

For guidance on the use of magnesium sulphate for neuroprotection, see section 1.10 of theĀ NICE Guidance NG25.

Get involved

We launched the PReCePT programme for the region in June 2018. With the support of a regional clinical lead, we are working with all maternity and neonatal units in the region to undertake a quality improvement project to increase the use of magnesium sulphate for pre-term births between 24 weeks to 30 weeks gestation.

The programme includes:

  • Backfill for a midwife champion in each unit to lead training and implementation
  • Clinical guidance packs and training materials to support implementation (download here)
  • Access to the Life QI online platform to help you to monitor progress and share learning with other units
  • Regular learning and sharing sessions for midwife champions to learn together and speed progress
  • Quality improvement support from UCLPartners
  • Support from the regional clinical lead

We are taking a phased approach to the programme. If you would like to join now, please get in touch.

Where did the PReCePT initiative come from?

PReCePT has been trialled in five maternity units in the West of England Academic Health Science Network, and evaluated by the West NIHR Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC). Results showed that administering magnesium sulphate to mothers during preterm labour reduces the risk of cerebral palsy by 30%.

During the programme, trusts in the West of England increased their magnesium sulphate rates from 21% to 88%, and they continue to be in the top 10 in the country.

Following the success of PReCePT in the West of England, it has been selected as one of seven programmes to be adopted and spread across England by the AHSN Network.

For further information, see the West of England PreCePT case study, or read the BMJ article.