Table 1

Q sort factor array: consensus statements (mean statement positions for individuals contributing to factors (F) 1, 2 and 3)

Consensus statementsF1F2F3
Evidence of severe disability is a valid reason to withdraw treatment in an extremely preterm infant*+5+4+6
The technology which enables the most premature of infants to survive brings with it increased ethical dilemmas over whether it should be used to ensure this survival*+4+6+3
The care of women in the neonatal unit should not be influenced by a history of previous abortions+5+4+3
If life-limiting disability is diagnosed prenatally, parents should be able to give birth to their child and enjoy the time they have without the option of full intensive care treatment*+4+5+2
The technology used on the neonatal unit allows more safety and control as the infants status is continually updated+4+2+5
The most important factor when deciding on resuscitation is the potential of long-term suffering to the baby+3+3+4
Health care professionals (HCP) who work in abortion services from 20 to 24 weeks of gestation are merely providing a service and should not be judged*+2+3+2
Full intensive care treatment should always be started as it can be withdrawn later if found to be futile−1−2−1
Infant survival has become a secondary outcome, with determining how far technology can advance survival limits seemingly more important−2−1−1
Caring has become technological, shifting the focus from caring from the infant to caring for the technology−2−1−1
Infants born extremely preterm to families who have received in vitro fertilisation and unlikely to conceive again should always be offered full intensive care treatment at all costs*−4−3−2
HCP should deliver the care that parents ask for, even if parents are asking for treatment that HCP think is futile−4−4−4
Parents should not be involved in treatment decisions for extremely preterm infants as they do not understand complex medical information*−5−3−4
Life should be maintained irrespective of outcome−5−6−5
  • All factors p<0.05.

  • *Factors with p<0.01.