Welsh Government
Life changing research celebrated at awards

Life changing research celebrated at awards

20 October 2017

Life changing research was celebrated at the South Wales Argus Health and Care Awards last night (Thursday, 19 October).

The awards, at Chepstow Racecourse, celebrated the health and care sector through 15 award categories.

The Research Impact Award, sponsored by Health and Care Research Wales, was claimed by midwife Emma Mills (pictured with TV personality Dr Hilary Jones and Health and Care Research Wales Director Professor Jonathan Bisson).

Emma works across Nevill Hall Hospital, Ysbyty Ystrad Fawr and the Royal Gwent Hospital as the technical research lead for midwifery.

The former community midwife now manages studies across the three sites.

She said: “I feel lucky because the things I’m passionate about are midwifery and research and this job combines both of them.”

One of the most recent studies is the Awareness of Fetal movements and Focussing Interventions Reduce fetal Mortality (AFFIRM) study, which looked at whether rates of stillbirth may be reduced by introducing an interventional package of care.

Changes made to protocol during the study led to stillbirth rates dropping by between 25 per cent and 50 per cent in the first year compared to previous years.

Mrs Mills said: “The biggest motivation for me is making things better for the women who access the services and their families.

“The rate of stillbirth within the health board dropped by 25 per cent which is massive because we are not talking huge numbers. Our head of midwifery is fantastic and any studies I want to take on, if potentially it can save one baby’s life then that’s enough for her.”

“We have a study looking at how effective our testing is for predicting premature birth. There is one for ladies who have a suture in to stop them going into labour prematurely so they can carry their babies to term. I’m also doing a PHD in female genital mutilation which I do alongside the work.”

“I love my work and am privileged to work for a health board that are so supportive.

“If we make one change that makes it better for people then it makes everything so worthwhile.”

Professor Jonathan Bisson, director of Health and Care Research Wales, said: “Health and Care Research Wales were delighted to be involved in these awards.

“The entries to the Research Impact award all demonstrate the benefit of research taking place across care settings in the Gwent region. The winning entry has had a significant impact on the delivery of services to expecting mothers and we were thrilled to celebrate the success of this impressive research project with Emma Mills.”

Three other finalists were in the running for the award:

  • Dr Kate Brain from the PRIME Centre Wales, Cardiff University School of Medicine, was nominated for her contribution to Health Check, a touchscreen questionnaire completed with a trained advisor. The community-based intervention was developed with Tenovus Cancer Care, people from Wales, and other local stakeholders, with the aim of increasing cancer awareness and encouraging lifestyle changes.
  • Professor Keir Lewis and Rachel Gemine from the Prince Philip Hospital, Llanelli, have been looking at the effect of smoking cessation following a diagnosis of lung cancer. Their study has been run across the UK in over 35 NHS trusts and health boards. This research has shown that quitting smoking after a diagnosis leads to improved prognosis and led to the development of a specialist smoking cessation service for patients with cancer.
  • Dr Louise Roberts from Cardiff University has been fundamental in producing research that looks at women who have had children adopted or removed from their care on a permanent basis. She is involved in Barnardo’s Cymru’s Reflect, that provides one-to-one help for women who have already had a child or children taken into care.

Find out more at www.southwalesargus.co.uk/healthandcareawards/news 

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