This first seminar looked at how NIHR ARC South London has worked with partner organisations to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic, with a focus on new maternity, palliative and social care services research.

The event was chaired by Ray Chaudhuri, professor of movement disorders and neurology, King’s College London, director of research and assistant medical director, King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and ARC South London Board member.

The Inside Research series provides a space to exchange knowledge, experience, information, learning and ideas – to collaborate to improve health and social care in south London

Professor Ray Chaudhuri

Remote maternity care during the pandemic

The event opened with three presentations of recent ARC South London research. The first presentation, led by Sergio A. Silverio, research associate, King’s College London, examined how virtual and remote care has changed maternity care practices during the pandemic. It highlighted how women considered virtual postnatal care a better option than no postnatal care, but still would have preferred face-to-face care. It also highlighted that women felt birth partners being present during antenatal, labour, and postnatal care is essential to good quality care, and should not be removed in any future waves of the pandemic. 

Ethnic minority groups and palliative care services during the pandemic

The second presentation, led by Sabrina Bajwah, honorary consultant in palliative care, King’s College Hospital and Hameed Khan a public involvement representative in the ARC’s palliative and end of life care theme, explored the response of specialist palliative and end of life care services to people from ethnic minority groups diagnosed with Covid-19. 

This presentation explored the disproportionate adverse impact of restricted visiting, language barriers, unmet religious and faith needs, and mistrust of services by ethnic minority groups during the first wave of the pandemic in relation to palliative care.

Helping day care services to re-open after lockdown 

The third presentation, from Professor Jill Manthorpe, the ARC’s social care theme lead, and Rekha Elaswarapu, patient and public involvement representative, discussed how ARC South London produced guidance to support day centre managers to plan for safely and confidently re-opening after the first lockdown.  

Day care services in south London provide a vital service in helping people with significant care and support needs to remain living at home – for example, people with severe dementia, people with significant medical equipment needs, and people with severe mental health problems

Professor Jill Manthorpe, social care theme lead

Professor Jill Manthorpe

Comments from the ARC’s Covid-19 public research panel 

Following this, Dr Josephine Ocloo, diversity and inclusion lead, ARC South London invited comments from three members of our Covid-19 public research panel, Agnes Agyepong, Clive Moore and Rashmi Kumar. Issues raised by the panel members included data poverty in virtual maternity care, how a ‘one size fits all’ approach to palliative and end of life care cannot work, and the vital role that day care centres play in communities.

After a wider group discussion, there were breakout sessions exploring questions related to the presentations and group feedback. 

Professor Chaudhuri ended by highlighting the importance of working together to reduce the negative impacts of Covid-19 on diverse communities in south London.    

Next Inside Research seminar

Our next seminar in the Inside Research series is on: How applied health research is supporting people with multiple long-term conditions and reducing health and care inequalities. Dates TBC. Sign up to the ARC newsletter to keep in touch. 

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