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A feasibility study of signed consent for the collection of patient identifiable information for a national paediatric clinical audit database

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Bill Chaudhry


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Objectives To investigate the feasibility of obtaining signed consent for submission of patient identifiable data to a national clinical audit database and to identify factors influencing the consent process and its success. Design Feasibility study. Setting Seven paediatric intensive care units in England. Participants Parents/guardians of patients, or patients aged 12-16 years old, approached consecutively over three months for signed consent for submission of patient identifiable data to the national clinical audit database the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network (PICANet). Main outcome measures The numbers and proportions of admissions for which signed consent was given, refused, or not obtained (form not returned or form partially completed but not signed), by age, sex, level of deprivation, ethnicity (South Asian or not), paediatric index of mortality score, length of hospital stay (days in paediatric intensive care). Results One unit did not start and one did not fully implement the protocol, so analysis excluded these two units. Consent was obtained for 182 of 422 admissions (43%) (range by unit 9% to 84%). Most (101/182; 55%) consents were taken by staff nurses. One refusal (0.2%) was received. Consent rates were significantly better for children who were more severely ill on admission and for hospital stays of six days or more, and significantly poorer for children aged 10-14 years. Long hospital stays and children aged 10-14 years remained significant in a stepwise regression model of the factors that were significant in the univariate model. Conclusion Systematically obtaining individual signed consent for sharing patient identifiable information with an externally located clinical audit database is difficult. Obtaining such consent is unlikely to be successful unless additional resources are specifically allocated to training, staff time, and administrative support.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McKinney PA, Jones S, Parslow R, Davey N, Darowski M, Chaudhry B, Stack C, Parry G, Draper ES, PICANet Consent Study Grp

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Medical Journal

Year: 2005

Volume: 330

Issue: 7496

Pages: 877-879

ISSN (print): 0959-535X

ISSN (electronic): 0959-8146

Publisher: BMJ Group


DOI: 10.1136/


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