Maternity Services at Walsall Manor Hospital are embracing the opportunity to become involved in Covid-19 research to benefit mums-to-be and their babies in any future pandemic.
Donna Perkins, Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust Antenatal Clinic Manager, has taken on the PanCOVID study this month and is the first midwife Principle Investigator that Walsall has ever had as this role is predominantly led by medics.
Two patients have already been recruited for this study which focuses on “Pregnancy and Neonatal Outcomes in COVID-19: A global registry of women with suspected or confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection in pregnancy and their neonates, understanding natural history to guide treatment and prevention.”
Donna said: “I am proud to be working in partnership with the trust’s research Nurse Marie Phipps and research governance team on this valuable study.
“Early in the Covid-19 pandemic there was a lot of attention nationally on various groups of patients; those with underlying health conditions and certain age groups for example. Pregnant women are also a vulnerable group and we know that many felt heightened anxiety around Covid-19 as so little was known about the virus at first. It was a lot for them to deal with as they were preparing for such a significant time in their lives.
“It is important that we play our part in trying to guide future treatment and prevention to achieve the best outcomes for our women and their families and to use our knowledge and learning to provide as much reassurance as we can.”
Marie Lewis, Associate Director for Research and Professional Development for Walsall Healthcare, praised maternity services for extending the trust’s research portfolio.
“Our new team structure through the Faculty of Research and Clinical Education (FORCE) and divisional Quality Improvement/Research leads has enabled the development of relationships with our maternity colleagues and generated a real clinical team interest in research,” she said.
“Donna is leading the way in demonstrating to other senior nurses, midwives and Allied Health Professionals that they too can take on research projects from national sponsors.”
In the last few months three research studies have been opened within Maternity Services. As well as the PanCOVID study there is also:
URGENT: UKOSS: Pandemic Influenza in Pregnancy (14162) – Confirmed and re-activated Urgent Public Health Study
This study became a research study in March due to public health urgency as it was previously an audit. The study is collecting information about all pregnant women admitted to hospital who are confirmed to have the virus. The information will be analysed on a continuous basis to inform ongoing guidance for women and maternity staff in response to the pandemic. Specifically, the study will describe incidence, management and outcomes of COVID-19 in pregnancy and identify factors associated with better outcomes for women and their babies. There are currently six women recruited into this study.
Big baby – Maternity has also opened the Big Baby Study exploring the role of induction of labour for women suspected to be carrying a large for dates baby. Donna Perkins is also supporting this study as a midwife researcher alongside Mrs Arundhati Mulay as Consultant Principle Investigator. The trust is hoping to get its first recruit into this study by the end of July.
FORCE was launched by Walsall Healthcare on International Clinical Trials Day in May, working with patients and staff to increase the availability of research and learning to improve public health across the borough.