Arch Dis Child 90:119-124 doi:10.1136/adc.2003.040766
  • Community child health, public health, and epidemiology

Early discharge and readmission to hospital in the first month of life in the Northern Region of the UK during 1998: a case cohort study

  1. S J Oddie1,
  2. D Hammal2,
  3. S Richmond3,
  4. L Parker2
  1. 1Neonatal Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
  2. 2Paediatric and Lifecourse Epidemiology Research Group, School of Clinical Medical Sciences, University of Newcastle, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK
  3. 3Neonatal Unit, Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr S J Oddie
    Higher Specialist Trainee in Neonatology, Neonatal Unit, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Queen Victoria Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK;
  • Accepted 17 February 2004


Aims: To study the frequency and associations of early postpartum discharge and infant readmission to hospital.

Methods: Infants readmitted to hospital during the first 28 days of life in 1998 in the Northern Region of the UK were studied.

Results: A total of 4743 of 11 338 (42%) babies were discharged on or before the first postnatal day. Rates of early discharge varied significantly between hospitals. Infants <2500 g at birth (adjusted odds ratio (AOR) 0.44, 95% CI 0.29 to 0.66), infants 35–37 weeks gestation at birth (AOR 0.65, 95% CI 0.49 to 0.86), and firstborn infants (AOR 0.09, 95% CI 0.08 to 0.10) were less likely to be discharged early. Women from more deprived areas were more likely to be discharged early (AOR 1.37, 95% CI 1.12 to 1.67). A total of 907 of 32 015 (2.8%) babies liveborn in the region were readmitted to hospital during 1998. Readmission rates varied significantly by hospital of birth but not by timing of discharge. Babies <2500 g at birth (AOR 1.95, 95% CI 1.16 to 3.28) and babies born at 35–37 weeks gestation (AOR 1.72, 95% CI 1.15 to 2.57) were more likely to be readmitted. Breast fed babies were less likely to be readmitted (AOR 0.69, 95% CI 0.53 to 0.90). Infants initially discharged early were not more likely to be readmitted.

Conclusions: Early discharge occurred variably in the Northern Region in 1998. It is not associated with readmission to hospital. Breast feeding is associated with lower rates of readmission to hospital.


  • Funding: The analysis of the data was supported by a grant from the special trustees of Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Trust.

  • Competing interests: none declared