The Very Low Birth Weight Infant Audit


The Very Low Birth Weight Infants Audit (VLBW) - Vermont Oxford Network (VON)

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. This is the single largest international database to benchmark outcomes of VLBW babies.

The network includes 1200 Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs), across more than 30 countries globally, collaborating to improve neonatal care around the world with data-driven quality improvement and research.

The NPEC funds the membership of the VON on behalf of all 19 neonatal centres in the Republic of Ireland (ROI), while also providing project management and epidemiological support to the VLBW Infant Audit. In ROI, we participate in the VON's Very Low Birth Weight Database, which collects information on infants born less than 1500g and/or less than 29 weeks. More information on the data collected and tools applied in this audit can be found here.

For the ROI, data submitted to VON are controlled by NICORE (Neonatal Intensive Care Outcomes Research and Evaluation) ROI, a group of consultant neonatologists and paediatricians with formal representation from all 19 tertiary, regional and peripheral neonatal centres in the Republic.

The NPEC, in association with the NICORE Group, has published four annual national reports which include data on all VLBW infants born in the Republic of Ireland in the years 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

A national report on aggregated data for the years 2014-2016 was published in 2018, in which specific conclusions and recommendations addressing clinical care and patient safety in the Irish context were be made.

For further information on the Very Low Birth Weight Infant Audit, please contact Sara Leitao (






National Perinatal Epidemiology Centre

Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 5th Floor, Cork University Maternity Hospital, Wilton, Cork