Liverpool Student Doctors support key research during pandemic

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The Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility have passed on special thanks to those currently working with them on their PRIEST Study. Our student doctors have helped to recruit over 50 patients to date.

The PRIEST study (Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage) is one of the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) nationally prioritised studies during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The aim of the study is to optimise the triage of people using the emergency care system with suspected respiratory infections during a pandemic.

Patients at Alder Hey are recruited when they arrive in the Emergency Department (ED). All those with possible respiratory COVID are eligible, and Alder Hey was very keen to take part in this study, as most of the other sites are adult centres, and there is always a concern that adult data will mean that children are triaged incorrectly. 

However, the data collection form is seven pages long, and the team in the ED were not able to commit to undertaking the study due to the extra work it would generate.

Dr Dan Hawcutt, Senior Lecturer in Paediatric Clinical Pharmacology, got in touch with Matthew Ryan; a Student Doctor who he'd previously worked with and asked if he would be interested in helping with the research.

Matthew gathered together a group of our student doctors, who undertook Good Clinical Practice training, and studied the trial protocol in order to be granted remote access to Alder Hey's electronic patient record so that they could assist with the research.

Dr Hawcutt told us:

"To date they have recruited over 50 patients, and have enabled a nationally important research project to be delivered when it would otherwise have failed. I am really impressed with the way they have worked hard, giving up their own free time to help.

The ED and research teams are really grateful, and we have had positive messages of support from Alder Hey’s Director of Research, Professor Peak, and Medical Director, Dr Murdoch.”

Year 4 Student Doctor and Paediatric Society President, Matthew Ryan, gathered together the team of student doctors from the Liverpool Pediatric Society and two students planning on intercalating in an MPhil in pediatrics.

He said: "Taking part in the study has kept me busy during lockdown and it’s been really great working (albeit remotely) with the doctors, research nurses and fellow student doctors.

Working with Alder Hey is always a great opportunity and they have made me feel part of a team, something that is rare when you're a Student Doctor moving around so frequently. Alder Hey has been really supportive throughout the study, offering us help whenever needed."

My fellow student doctors have been excellent throughout the study, offering their services selflessly.

"It’s been great to be able to offer our services to the NHS in a capacity that is a bit different to the norm." 

The Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility are writing up their experience with the PRIEST research into an abstract submission for the British Pharmacological Society meeting. The student doctors involved will be contributing to the abstract and will hopefully gain authorship on an academic publication through their involvement.