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Why do we need Operational Delivery Networks in paediatrics?
  1. Marilyn McDougall1,2,3,
  2. Harriet Ward1,3
  1. 1 Evelina London Children's Hospital, London, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine, Kings College London, London WC2R 2LS, UK
  3. 3 Specialist Paediatrics & Surgery in Childhood, South Thames Paediatric Network, London SE1 7EH, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Marilyn McDougall, Paediatric Intensive Care, Evelina London Children's Hospital, London SE1 7EH, UK; marilyn.mcdougall{at}

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Operational Delivery Networks (ODN) are formal structures in which providers, commissioners and patients work together to optimise healthcare. ODNs were launched in the UK in April 2013 following the publication of the National Health Service (NHS) strategy paper, ‘Developing Operational Delivery Networks: The Way Forward’.1

The success of an ODN is measured by:

  • Improved patient outcomes.

  • Cost-efficiency.

  • Reduced unwarranted variation.

ODNs were pioneered by the neonatal services where networked neonatal care increased the proportion of premature infants (27–28 weeks’ gestation) born in centres with the highest volume of specialist care (18%–49%) and reduced the percentage of babies undergoing acute postnatal transfer (7% vs 12%, p<0.001).2

ODNs have also been successfully implemented in adults: the London Stroke Centres Network Acute Care Model delivered a 12% relative reduction in deaths and an average cost saving of £811 per patient, resulting in a total benefit of £5.2 million per year.3

Centralisation …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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