Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 54

Supplementary memorandum from Professor John Wyatt

  This further memorandum has been provided at the request of Dr Chris Tyler in order to clarify the data presented in my earlier evidence.

  In my original evidence to the Committee I quoted the figures which had been presented to the European Society for Pediatric Research (Riley et al 2004).

  In that analysis the denominator was all babies admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit at UCLH within the relevant time period. Hence those figures included infants born at UCLH and infants born at other hospitals and transferred to UCLH after birth. It is not possible to compare those figures directly with the EPICURE data, because we did not have information on all other babies born alive at all the other hospitals from whom we received babies.

  Hence for the benefit of the Committee I reanalysed the data to look only at babies born at UCLH. The denominator included all infants who were born at UCLH showing signs of life on labour ward but who died before admission to the neonatal unit.

  Hence the exact percentages are slightly different from those quoted in my original evidence to the committee, although the trend of the data is very similar. The fact the survival for inborn babies is, if anything, slightly higher compared with the analysis involving all babies is not in my opinion surprising. There is a body of evidence suggesting that extremely preterm babies who are born in major centres have a better outcome compared with those who are transferred after birth from other hospitals, and our data are consistent with this. In addition, the number who were born alive at UCLH but not admitted to the neonatal unit was small, a total of 5 out of 69 babies within the time period. Hence their inclusion in the denominator did not make a large difference to the overall percentages.

October 2007

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