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Updated 27 May 2022

Dorset County Hospital Foundation NHS Foundation Trust (DCHFT) is keen to grow research led by the hospital, collaborating with research and health and social care partners. This diagram summarises the collaborative process with DCHFT and Bournemouth University.  

Reproductive Health Research

DCHFT has a growing body of research in reproductive health with a number of studies led by Chief Investigators from within the Trust.

The RETHINK Study: Can we reduce hospital admission in latent labour?
Women experiencing an uncomplicated pregnancy are at increased risk of obstetric intervention if admitted to hospital during latent (early) labour. This study considers the impact of greater fear and anxiety around pain (pain catastrophising), its prevalence, and how it affects the time when women are admitted to hospital in labour, their labour choices, and birth outcomes. The study is an online survey and is open to participants at DCHFT and hospitals across England.

This is a home-grown study. It has one of our DCHFT midwives and clinical academic doctoral student, Vanessa Bartholomew, as the Chief Investigator. The Principal Investigator at DCHFT is Research Midwife Donna Wixted. RETHINK is on the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) portfolio and it is jointly funded by DCHFT, and Wessex Integrated Clinical Academic Training Programme. The study sponsor is Bournemouth University. 

Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI): Maternity staff experiences
Breastfeeding is important for the lifelong health of a child and reduces costs for health facilities, families and governments; yet breastfeeding rates in the UK are low. The Unicef Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI), aims to provide guidance for improvements in maternity services to better support families with infant feeding.   

The Chief Investigator, Hazel Tennant, is a DCHFT midwife currently undertaking a clinical PhD studentship in partnership with Bournemouth University. The aim of the study is to understand the barriers, challenges and facilitators for maternity staff when working with, and implementing the BFI within a maternity unit. It is a qualitative case study utilising grounded theory. Data collection methods include document and website analysis; maternity staff are invited to attend interviews and focus groups.    

This research will offer valuable insights into how BFI could be implemented within maternity units nationally and will improve care given to women and their families postnatally. 

Enhancing maternity staff wellbeing
The Centre for Midwifery, Maternal and Perinatal Health at Bournemouth University is conducting a study at DCHFT exploring how to support NHS maternity staff wellbeing. The study, designed in autumn 2019, is all the more timely because of the increased pressure of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHS staff. This study (online and in-person when possible) is based on the principles of appreciative enquiry and uses several qualitative research methods. There has been a tremendous response from staff. The lead researcher is Dr. Rachel Arnold supported by Dr Preeti Mahato, Professor Edwin van Teijlingen and Professor Sue Way.