AHSN Network national programme from April 2018-March 2020


precept logo hands small“From a non-clinical perspective, I hadn’t heard that you could do anything to prevent cerebral palsy. I came into it through the Academic Health Science Network. I just met the project lead to see if I could offer her any project support, but actually all the project materials and the collateral from the AHSN was there. I didn’t really have to do anything because it was all there. From my perspective it was evidence-based, it was a good thing to do… so now we’re just rolling it out. For me it was just a no-brainer to do.” Member of staff, maternity unit


The use of magnesium sulphate is still recommended and here are a few things to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PReCePT project has so far prevented around seven cases of cerebral palsy in the West of England, representing potential lifetime healthcare savings in the region of £5 million – and substantially more when including loss of productivity and social care costs over a lifetime.

website buttonPReCePT was developed by the West of England AHSN in collaboration with University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, and involved both patients and staff.

This evidence-based, cost-effective project was designed to help reduce cerebral palsy in babies through the increased antenatal administration of magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) to mothers during preterm labour, costing from £1 per individual dose.

The intervention was adopted by all five maternity units in the West of England. Projection modelling indicates that since the launch of the project in August 2014, phase one of PReCePT has prevented seven cases of cerebral palsy across the region.

Between 4,000 and 5,000 babies are born before 30 weeks’ gestation in England per year and stand to benefit from full national roll-out of the PReCePT programme. Successful scaling up of PReCePT is likely to prevent several hundred cases of cerebral palsy per year, based on highest grade evidence1.

Following the successful rollout of PReCePT to all five acute trusts in the West of England in 2016, the project is now benefiting from £0.5 million in ‘Scaling Up’ funding from the Health Foundation. This will fund an evaluation to study the effectiveness of two different Quality Improvement approaches in implementing the intervention across a subset of maternity units. Read more here.

Funded by NHS England, PReCePT is also one of the seven local AHSN programmes to have been selected for adoption and spread across the national AHSN Network during 2018-2020. This work was led by the West of England AHSN. Meet the PReCePT Regional Clinical Leads across the country.

This work brought together the 15 AHSNs and the aligned drivers of the Maternal and Neonatal Health Safety Collaborative (MNHSC) and the national Patient Safety Collaboratives (PSCs) to support the aim of achieving 85% uptake of administration of magnesium sulphate to preterm babies in all maternity units in England, with a stretch target of 95% by 2020.

1. Crowther et al. 2017; PLoS Med 14(10): e1002398 https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002398  

Health Education England and the AHSN Network training module

This interactive e-learning resource has been designed for perinatal healthcare professionals to support education around the administration of magnesium sulphate for neuroprotection to mothers in preterm labour. Building on current NICE guidance, and the successful roll out of the national PReCePT programme, this module will guide clinicians through the clinical benefits of administering magnesium sulphate (MgSO4) to mothers who go into labour before 30 weeks gestation. It will provide information on the neuroprotective qualities of this cost-effective and readily available drug, the detail of how it is administered and the positive impact it can have on the lives of neonates and their families.

PReCePT videos

Watch our publicity and educational films made by AHSN teams around the country

Useful links

Download PReCePT resources here.  For more information on PReCePT, email weahsn.precept@nhs.net.

Meet the PReCePT Regional Clinical Leads across the country.

Read the PReCePT case study on Atlas.

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