Objective To describe and assess the selection criteria currently being used when booking women for different places of birth. Design A cross-sectional survey. Setting The South and West region of England. Sample The 27 NHS Trusts who provide maternity care in the South and West region of England. Main measures Selection criteria used when booking pregnant women for different places of birth; length of time criteria in use; whether criteria applied individually or as part of a risk score; and method by which criteria developed. Results The response rate was 81%; 128 different, individual criteria, used as the basis to select women for different places of birth, were identified. No single criterion appeared on all the sets of criteria. None of the trusts who responded used the criteria in order to calculate a risk score. In all but one case the criteria were being used to select women who might be suitable for birth outside a consultant-led maternity unit. Only two trusts used sets of criteria which identified, to any extent, 1. outcomes for which women could be at risk and 2. strategies that should be implemented to reduce that risk. Over half the trusts were able to identify a rationale for the particular set of criteria which they used but in only two cases was any reference made to an evidence base. Conclusions A large variety of criteria are being used as a basis on which to book women for different places of birth but they appear to be poorly focused on particular adverse outcomes. To be effective, selection criteria must identify quantifiable differences in the risk of particular preventable adverse outcomes for births booked at different locations. Furthermore, there must be evidence that the risk could be reduced by a selecting a particular location. A systematic review is required to determine which selection criteria, if any, should be employed at booking.
|Translated title of the contribution||Review and assessment of selection criteria used when booking pregnant women for different places of birth|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology|
|Publication status||Published - Jun 1999|