The Vermont Oxford Network (VON) is a non-profit voluntary collaboration of health care professionals dedicated to improving the quality and safety of medical care for newborn infants and their families. The VON maintains a database of information regarding their care and outcomes. It is a unique organisation, collecting information from over 900 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) worldwide.
The National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre funds and facilitates membership of the VON on behalf of all 19 neonatal centres in the Republic of Ireland. In Ireland, we participate in the VON’s Very Low Birth Weight Database, which collects information on infants born ≤1500g and/or ≤29 weeks.
To date, the NPEC, in association with the NICORE (Neonatal Intensive Care Outcomes Research and Evaluation) Group, has published two annual national reports which include all very low birth weight infants born in the Republic of Ireland in the years 2014 and 2015:Very Low Birth Weight Infants in the Republic of Ireland Annual Report 2014 and Very Low Birth Weight Infants in the Republic of Ireland Annual Report 2015.
The National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre has established a national audit on the following events in pregnancy:
The NPEC operates as an audit stream within the National Office of Clinical Audit (NOCA). The NOCA provides assisted governance to sustainable clinical audit programmes across all health services at national level, in order to improve outcomes for Irish patients.
It has responsibility to return recommendations arising from its audits to hospitals, via structured governance systems and changes applied either through the actions of individual clinicians or through more general systems improvements to the care of patients.
On behalf of the NPEC, the NOCA ensures that recommendations made in successive NPEC audit reports are adequately reviewed by hospitals with the aim to promote continual learning. When identified, the NOCA will ensure that data outliers identified by the NPEC are reviewed, reported and escalated appropriately.
The NPEC places a high value on the importance of quality audit data; the review of audit output at hospital level; and the feeding of learning back to the wider health system for the benefit of patients. It is with this in mind that the NPEC operates as audit stream within the NOCA.
Further information on the NOCA can be obtained at: www.noca.ie.