Why do we need this research?
When NICE recommend whether a treatment should be available on the NHS in England, they consider how well it works and also whether it is cost-effective. Usually, value for money is assessed by balancing the cost of a treatment with its health benefit. However, no research has been carried out to measure the impact that losing a baby before or soon after birth has on the health of parents. This means that NICE cannot assess the cost-effectiveness of treatments and interventions that are aimed at preventing stillbirth in the same way they can for other treatments and services, which can lead to ineffective decision making. This needs to change.
What’s happening in this project?
Our researchers are asking parents who have experienced stillbirth or early neonatal death to take part in an online questionnaire that will measure their health. The team are using the EQ-5D-5L questionnaire, which is preferred by NICE and asks participants to rate their health across five categories: mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort and anxiety/depression. The team will compare the answers given by parents who have experienced baby loss with previously published results from the general population, as this should give a good estimate of the impact that baby loss has on the health of parents. So far, nearly 250 people have completed the questionnaire.
What difference will this project make?
Because of this project, we will be able to estimate the impact that baby loss has on the health of parents for the very first time. This will help decision makers such as NICE plan care in the future by guiding healthcare providers towards the most cost-effective ways of preventing baby deaths.