Maternity research

Who are we? 

We are The Women’s Health Research Team. A Team of Health Professionals involved with research within the speciality area of Midwifery, Obstetrics and Gynaecology:

  • Team Leader/Senior Research Midwife: Katrina Rigby Ext: 4697 (07833436476)
  • Research Midwife: Julie Earnshaw Ext: 4628 (07702143176)
  • Baby Beat Research Midwife: Cheryl Wyatt Ext: 4769 (07702143176)
  • Gynaecology Research Nurse: Anne Gardner Ext: 4357

Where are we based?

Our main office is based at the end of the corridor within the Gynaecology Clinic on the ground floor of the Sharoe Green Unit at RPH.

What do we do?

Although we are generally employed by the Trust, most of our roles are funded by the North West Coast Clinical Research Network, and one Research Midwife post is funded by the Baby Beat Charity, which is based within The Sharoe Green Unit . We are part of the Reproductive Health and Childbirth Speciality Group, and primarily work on research studies that are on the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Portfolio of Studies. There are lots of various aspects to our roles. However, predominantly this means we are involved with setting up and recruiting women to research studies within clinical settings, provide support and maintain safety of participants.  We have been, and are involved with various research studies both nationally and internationally, and are therefore representatives for the Trust internally and externally.

Why are we involved with research?

We are involved with research because we want to make a difference to the lives of women, babies and families. Being involved with the research process enables the generation of new and improved research findings that support best evidence for best practice.

NIHR Lancashire Clinical Research Facility

This facility is based in the Avondale Unit, on the Royal Preston Hospital site. The facility houses the majority of the Trust’s Research and Innovation Team, but is also an innovative collaboration between with Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust and Lancaster University. This partnership delivers a unique fusion of acute physical and community mental health expertise providing opportunities to deliver Experimental Medicine research studies for patients across Lancashire and South Cumbria. It is one of just 23 National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) facilities in the UK.

Health Professionals who would like to participate in research studies, have access to support from The Lancashire Clinical Research Facility (CRF), ext: 2031. To recruit to clinical trials, it is essential to conduct Good Clinical Practice (GCP) training. These sessions are held around the North West Coast region or available online. Refresher courses need to be undertaken every 2-3 years. Please contact the CRF if you have any research questions or queries. It is important that staff in the Facility are aware of all research that is being undertaken at the Trust.

Head of Research and Innovation: Paul Brown
Director of the Lancashire Clinical Research Facility: Professor Pierre Martin-Hirsch

From a Department perspective, we communicate well, and have support available. We have regular forums specifically for Research Nurses and Midwives, and Directorate Team meetings. All research staff also have monthly 1-1s with their Line Managers as well as an annual appraisal which all staff involved seem to value.

Academic links

Our speciality has established links with local Universities, such as Lancaster University and The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). The Research Midwives are members of the North West Clinical Midwives Research Network, which is led by Professor Soo Downe. We meet with other Research Midwives from around the region to discuss what studies we are working on, and conduct collaborative work on midwifery related research. This also provides other opportunities to write papers on behalf of the Network Group for potential publication. We have been an Advisory Group to the Royal College of Midwives in relation to midwifery related research.  One of the Research Midwives is on the Editorial Board for a well-recognised international midwifery journal and has had publications within this journal.


Thank you

Thank you to all staff who continue to identify and refer eligible women to The Womens Health Research Team. Women participating in research studies within our Department have had very positive outcomes and experiences.

For further information regarding research within Women’s Health, please do not hesitate to contact a member of the Team.