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  • 1 September 2018 to 29 February 2020
  • Project No: 400
  • Funding round: FR 15

A greater level of intervention in how babies are born and being born early are thought to be associated with poor health outcomes in children. Poorer health outcomes are themselves associated with increased healthcare costs; however, there is currently little evidence on the types of healthcare in which these additional costs fall, and the size of these additional costs. We aim to investigate whether the method of delivery and the number of weeks’ gestation a baby is born at result in greater healthcare costs and, if so, where those additional costs are incurred in the health care services.

We will select a group of children from routinely collected GP medical records to investigate whether their method of delivery and the gestational age at which they were born influenced the cost of different forms of healthcare in childhood. This will provide important information that will be useful as a spur for planning future studies on childhood health in the UK. By more accurately estimating extra costs from different methods of delivery and being born early, this study will also inform more accurate budget planning for healthcare services, which may save costs, and help inform other evaluations of healthcare services.

A patient and public involvement group will be convened to gather opinions on how this research should be disseminated to pregnant women and other stakeholders and on the interpretation. We will communicate the research findings through peer-reviewed publication.