Published on: 20 May 2020

The support of South Tyneside and Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust’s Obstetrics and Gynaecology research team has enabled an important trial aimed at earlier identification of problems with unborn babies to keep going amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many clinical research trials at the Trust have been placed on hold during the pandemic, with several of its research teams turning their skills to delivering important national trials focusing on outcomes and treatment for COVID-19.

The team of research midwives and nurses in maternity are contributing to two of these national studies – one, led by UKOSS (UK Obstetric Surveillance System), to assess the outcomes for mother and baby for pregnant women with COVID-19 who are admitted to hospital, and the PAN-COVID project to investigate how COVID-19 affects pregnancy

The team has also continued recruiting into other trials, including ‘ACAS’, which is exploring women’s views about starting ultrasound scans earlier in pregnancy to detect problems with the baby (i.e. at 11 to 14 weeks rather than at 19 weeks). Whilst many units nationally have needed to put ACAS on hold, the Trust’s research midwives have recruited 200 women over the last six weeks.

Professor Aris Papageorghiou, Chief Investigator for the trial, sent the team a message of thanks: “Please can I reiterate an enormous thank you. I have been amazed by the efficiency and dedication of your team. ACAS would certainly have had to be closed temporarily had it not been for your team and it is great that we have been able to demonstrate continued recruitment.”

Dr Shaz Wahid, South Tyneside and Sunderland’s NHS Foundation Trust’s Medical Director, said: “This praise for our Obstetrics and Gynaecology research team is so well deserved. They are totally dedicated to research and development and they do a fantastic job.”