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Call for Evidence

Written submissions

The House of Lords Preterm Birth Committee was appointed in January 2024. It is chaired by Lord Patel and will report by 30 November 2024.

Aim of the inquiry

Preterm birth – when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy – is the single biggest cause of neonatal mortality and morbidity in the UK. Just under 8% of live births are preterm each year. The Government has set an ambition to reduce the preterm birth rate to 6% of live births by 2025.

The Committee will focus on the prevention, and consequences, of preterm birth in England. There are a wide range of risk factors associated with preterm birth but in many cases the cause is unknown. This inquiry will examine how preterm births can be prevented and how the adverse consequences of preterm birth for mothers, babies and families can be reduced.

It will assess whether current Government policy is adequate and how to close the gap in outcomes among women and babies from different backgrounds. This will include looking at primary and secondary prevention, neonatal care, and longer-term support for preterm babies and their families.

This is a public call for written evidence to be submitted to the Committee. The deadline is 5.00pm on Wednesday 27 March 2024.

Instructions on how to submit evidence are set out below. If you have any queries, please email the staff of the Committee at

When preparing your response, please keep in mind that short, concise submissions are preferred. Written evidence must be relevant to the points set out below, but you do not need to address every topic.


The Committee is seeking written submissions addressing any or all of the following topics:

Variation in care and health inequalities

• The implementation of existing NICE and NHS guidance on preterm birth.

• The ethnic and socioeconomic inequalities seen in relation to preterm birth and how these could be reduced.

• Additional support, such as language support, that may be needed to remove barriers to receiving high-quality care in relation to preterm birth.


• The prediction of preterm birth, including through screening and the use of new technologies.

• Primary prevention and treatment for preterm birth.

• Secondary prevention and treatment for preterm birth.

Neonatal and longer-term care and support

• How neonatal care can improve outcomes for babies born preterm.

• How postnatal care and psychological support for women who have given birth preterm and parents can improve outcomes.

• Integration between neonatal care for babies born preterm and postnatal care for women.

• Longer-term impacts, care and support for preterm babies and their families.

Other topics

• Data collection and monitoring in relation to preterm birth, including variation in the recording of data.

• Research priorities to prevent preterm birth and improve care for babies and mothers, with a focus on developing evidence-based practice.

• Learnings from the devolved administrations and other countries around the world.

Guidance for submissions

Submitting written evidence

Written evidence should be submitted online using the written submission form available at All submissions made through the online form will be acknowledged automatically by email.

Getting in touch

If you have difficulty submitting evidence online, please contact the Committee staff by email at or by telephoning 020 7219 7506.

You can follow the progress of the inquiry at the following link:

Substantive communications to the Committee about the inquiry should be addressed through the Clerk, whether or not they are intended to constitute formal evidence to the Committee.

Guidelines for written evidence

Short submissions are preferred. A submission longer than six pages should include a one-page summary. Please ensure your submission is free of logos and signatures, and explain any acronyms or technical terms. Paragraphs should be numbered.

Evidence which is accepted by the Committee may be published online at any stage; when it is published it becomes subject to parliamentary copyright and is protected by parliamentary privilege. Submissions which have been previously published will not be accepted as evidence.

Once you have received acknowledgement that the evidence has been accepted you will receive a further email, and at this point you may publicise or publish your evidence yourself. In doing so you must indicate that it was prepared for the Committee, and you should be aware that your publication or re-publication of your evidence may not be protected by parliamentary privilege.

Personal contact details will be removed from evidence before publication, but will be retained and used for specific purposes relating to the Committee’s work, for instance to seek additional information.

In certain circumstances the Committee may be prepared to accept submissions but not to publish them, in whole or in part. If you would like to submit evidence on this basis you should first discuss this with the Clerk to the Committee.

You may wish to make an individual submission about your own lived experience. Please note that in line with the general practice of select committees, the Preterm Birth Committee is not able to take up individual cases. If you include personal information about other people in your submission (including your friends and family), the Committee may decide not to publish it. It is advisable to make your submission about your own experiences and to keep information about other people to a minimum.

We understand that the issues raised in this work may be sensitive or upsetting. The following organisations may be able to offer support or further information:


Bliss provides support for parents and families of premature or sick babies.




Sands supports anyone affected by pregnancy loss or the death of a baby and offers a wide range of bereavement support.


Phone: 0808 164 3332



Tommy’s provides a free information service about health in pregnancy, plus bereavement support for anyone who has experienced a pregnancy loss.


Phone: 0800 0147 800



Diversity comes in many forms and hearing a range of different perspectives means that committees are better informed and can more effectively scrutinise public policy and legislation. Committees can undertake their role most effectively when they hear from a wide range of individuals, sectors or groups in society affected by a particular policy or piece of legislation. We encourage anyone with experience or expertise of an issue under investigation by a select committee to share their views with the committee, with the full knowledge that their views have value and are welcome.

This call for written evidence has now closed.

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