Published on: 29 July 2020

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s award-winning researchers are celebrating their involvement in another prestigious national award win.

The Maternity Unit at Sunderland Royal Hospital was the top recruiting centre nationally for the ANODE study investigating the use of antibiotics to prevent infections in mothers following forceps or vacuum deliveries. The research paper, published in the British Medical Journal, has been named ‘Research Paper of the Year’ in The BMJ Awards 2020.

Mr Kim Hinshaw, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist with the Trust, who was principal investigator locally for the study, was a co-author of the paper.   

Women who have a forceps or vacuum-assisted delivery are at risk of infection which can, occasionally, be severe. The aim of the ANODE study, to which almost 400 Trust patients were recruited, was to find out if a single dose of antibiotics after assisted delivery would help to prevent infection. It found that six weeks after giving birth, rates of infection and pain and use of pain relief were significantly lower in the group of women who received a single dose of antibiotic rather than a placebo.

The conclusion, set out in the paper, was that the single dose of antibiotics would prevent thousands of infections in the UK annually and, therefore, cut overall antibiotic use by 17%.

The ANODE study, funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), recruited patients between March 2016 and June 2018. The findings have been publicised widely and have been rapidly adopted into clinical practice, both locally at South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust and in many maternity units across the UK.

Lead research midwife Lesley Hewitt attributed the Trust’s successful recruitment to the entire research and clinical teams working together. Doctors, midwives, healthcare assistants, operating department practitioners and nurses all contributed. 

Mr Hinshaw, who is the Trust’s Director of Research and Innovation, said: “We are very proud to have been involved in the ANODE study, which has had such an amazing impact. The Research Paper of the Year recognition is fantastic news, not only for the research team but for our clinical colleagues and our patients who took part. Together, we have helped to make a positive difference to care.”

South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust has a proud research awards tradition. Only weeks ago, it was part of a collaboration which won the ‘Research’ category in the Royal College of Physicians Excellence in Patient Care Awards 2020 for world-leading  endoscopy research.