In collaboration with members of the Medical Physics Department of the University, we have examined the use of the Exeter Dysphagia Assessment Technique (EDAT) in the development of feeding in preterm infants and in children with cerebral palsy.

Stillbirths and Infant Deaths

Parts of a system for confidential audit of stillbirths and infant deaths have been adopted by the National Confidential Enquiry in which the Department plays a continuing role; the lead researcher is Mrs Sarah Godek. Sarah, who is nurse and midwife-trained, also co-ordinates a local confidential enquiry programme which has functioned in the district since 1986 apart from an 18 months gap in the years 1989/90. Data from these studies are being evaluated by a paediatric trainee in collaboration with Professor Peter Fleming and Professor Jem Berry in Bristol we are currently embarking on a new study arising from the national studies of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy, in which we have collaborated and published. The SWISS study will look at more detailed information about sleeping arrangements of infants who suffer sudden unexpected death and compare them to normal practices in the south west.

Vitamin K Deficiency Bleeding

In conjunction with Dr Andrew McNinch the Department has contributed to the scientific debate in clinical practice in relation to Vitamin K deficiency bleeding in the newborn and its prophylaxis with various formulations and regimens of Vitamin K administration. We are currently undertaking a further national study of the prevalance of vitamin K deficiency bleeding in the UK and Ireland in conjunction with the British Paediatric Surveillance Unit.


The department has a continuing active interest in research relating to supporting parenting and families. 

The Exeter Family Study published in 1995 and featured on the Panorama programme 'For the Sake of the Children' caused somewhat of an academic storm and at the time was not widely quoted. Increasingly the findings of that study have become accepted by practitioners, researchers and policy makers.

There are now a number of government led initiatives from the Departments of Health, Social Services and the Lord Chancellors Department and Home Office designed to improve support for parents and families. 

Monica Cockett remains active clinically in the world of mediation and is part of a Devon consortium in receipt of funding from the Lord Chancellors Department as a phase 2 area for evaluating the workings of mediation under the Family Law Act. She has a particular interest in developing services for listening to the views of children within mediation. Monica is a supervisor for mediators in the south-west for both the Solicitors Family Law Association and the Family Mediators Association

A recent initiative originating from Christian organisations in three parts of the country (South Devon, Somerset and York) has attracted financial support from the Lord Chancellors Department and Dr. Tripp and Dr. Cockett are involved in an evaluation group who are hoping to establish adequate methods to monitor and assess the effectiveness of these initiatives.