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Trends in New South Wales infant hospital readmission rates in the first year of life: a population-based study

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In New South Wales, significant health services are devoted to neonatal and infant health, with total costs per year for neonatal and infant hospital admissions estimated at about $380 million.1 Analysis of the trends in health services utilisation can lead to improvements in health service delivery and efficient allocation of health care resources; however, trends in infant hospital readmissions have not been investigated. Over the past decade, there has been an increase in births in Australia2 and changes in the frequency of maternal and birth risk factors associated with infant readmissions,1 including a decrease in the proportion of young mothers, a decrease in mothers who smoke and a gradual shift to planned births at earlier gestations.3 The aim of this study was to examine the trends in hospital readmissions in the first year of life and to investigate whether changes in the frequency of maternal and infant risk factors affected infant hospital readmissions at a population level.


Study population and data sources

The study population included all live births in NSW from 1 January 2001 through 31 December 2009. Data were obtained from two linked population health databases. Births were obtained from the NSW Perinatal Data Collection (PDC), a legislated population-based surveillance system…