Objectives: To investigate the feasibility of obtaining signed consent\ud for submission of patient identifiable data to a national clinical\ud audit database and to identify factors influencing the consent process\ud and its success.\ud \ud Design: Feasibility study.\ud \ud Setting: Seven paediatric intensive care units in England.\ud \ud Participants: Parents/guardians of patients, or patients aged 12-16\ud years old, approached consecutively over three months for signed\ud consent for submission of patient identifiable data to the national\ud clinical audit database the Paediatric Intensive Care Audit Network\ud (PICANet).\ud \ud Main outcome measures: The numbers and proportions of admissions for\ud which signed consent was given, refused, or not obtained (form not\ud returned or form partially completed but not signed), by age, sex,\ud level of deprivation, ethnicity (South Asian or not), paediatric index\ud of mortality score, length of hospital stay (days in paediatric\ud intensive care).\ud \ud Results: One unit did not start and one did not fully implement the\ud protocol, so analysis excluded these two units. Consent was obtained\ud for 182 of 422 admissions (43%) (range by unit 9% to 84%). Most\ud (101/182; 55%) consents were taken by staff nurses. One refusal (0.2%)\ud was received. Consent rates were significantly better for children who\ud were more severely ill on admission and for hospital stays of six days\ud or more, and significantly poorer for children aged 10-14 years. Long\ud hospital stays and children aged 10-14 years remained significant in a\ud stepwise regression model of the factors that were significant in the\ud univariate model.\ud \ud Conclusion: Systematically obtaining individual signed consent for\ud sharing patient identifiable information with an externally located\ud clinical audit database is difficult. Obtaining such consent is\ud unlikely to be successful unless additional resources are specifically\ud allocated to training, staff time, and administrative support
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