Research and innovation
Our vision is to improve the health of women and children by advancing and applying science.
Since the launch of our refreshed strategy in 2020, we have focussed on enabling this vision by developing mechanisms to enhance the strategic alignment of KCL and our NHS partners to improve health and care through increased translation of discoveries from early scientific research into patient benefit.
We do this through:
Ask the Institute: a service providing advice and support and conducting research to support colleagues to translate knowledge into action and enhance evidence-based practice [link]
The Knowledge Hub, a one stop shop providing and signposting information and support for research and researcher development [link]
Additionally, the team conducts research, the following projects are led or facilitated by KHP WCH:
Our expertise spans the life-course; from pre-conception through to end-of-life care.
Resilient Health Systems
The Resilient Health Systems project aims to use robust research and evaluation methods to understand in-depth the changes introduced to the south east London health system due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Find out more.
Around 10% of pregnant women and birthing people infected with COVID-19 are at heightened risk of complications (whether symptomatic or not). However, 100% of pregnant and postpartum women and birthing people have received modified maternity care services during the pandemic, and we do not yet know how service reconfiguration has affected outcomes (including costs) in the UK, and how to optimise care post-pandemic. Whilst one in seven people in the UK are women of childbearing age (2019), we have little data on use of COVID-19 vaccines in pregnancy planning, pregnancy, or breastfeeding, and emerging evidence that vaccine hesitancy is high.
In two trusts providing maternity care in south London (Guy’s and St Thomas’ and King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trusts), the research team aim to study the impact on women and babies of COVID-19 pandemic-related maternity service configuration (i.e., virtual care, out-of-office monitoring, and vaccination), particularly those from minority ethnic groups or leading socially or medically complex lives.
There are three objectives to be addressed through quantitative, social science, and policy research:
- RESILIENT is studying the impact, on all pregnancies, of changes introduced in maternity services because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of these changes on maternity care quality (effectiveness, safety, and acceptability); maternal and infant outcomes; and the cost of providing services will be examined in the context of virtual consultations; out of office monitoring (e.g., service user reported indicators such as blood pressure); and COVID-19 vaccination including provision, uptake, and adverse events.
- Explore and describe the perceptions and experiences of pregnant and postpartum women and birthing people (as well as partners, healthcare providers, and policy makers) during the pandemic, with a focus on those who: identify with an ethnic minority group; have medical or mental health co-morbidities; and/or live with social complexity, including socioeconomic deprivation.
- Across the four nations, engage with stakeholders to develop policy interventions for local, regional, and national health systems.
This is a clinical trial led by Professor Ingrid Wolfe from King’s College London collaborating with Professor Jonathan Grigg from Queen Mary’s University London, and colleagues from Universities of Newcastle and Exeter. The goal is to improve asthma outcomes for children living in three London boroughs – Southwark, Lambeth, and Tower Hamlets, while providing evidence for enhanced asthma care nationally and globally.
There has already been a shift in asthma care in Southwark and Lambeth. Ingrid’s team has developed and tested a process of early identification of children who have poorly controlled asthma and established a specialist service that runs in the community to give early intervention and biopsychosocial care to those children.
The results from this trial could lead to further improvements in children’s asthma care by incorporating the use of technology into asthma care. There are three groups in the trial and participants will be allocated to a group randomly, to provide robust and objective evidence. A control/comparison group will be receiving usual care, and there are two technology groups: one that will receive a smart sensor that sits on top of their normal inhaler and tracks medication use and provides reminder messages via an app to prompt regular medication use to help intended to achieve better control of asthma. The other technology group will receive a device that records their breathing sounds, intended to help them identify wheeze symptoms and raise awareness about asthma control.
Children and Young People’s Health Partnership (CYPHP)
The Children & Young People's Health Partnership (CYPHP) is working in London (Lambeth and Southwark). It is unique in the UK and across Europe in its cross-organisational, system-wide, transformative, and academically rigorous approach to improving child health services.
Our model of care is designed to deliver significantly better health, better healthcare outcomes, and better value for children and young people.
Our ambition is for all local children and young people in our boroughs to have access to the best possible healthcare to meet their needs, so they can:
- stay as healthy as possible,
- get better quickly when they’re ill, and
- live well with any long-term health conditions they have
Our Programme aims to produce:
- An evidence‐based, clinically effective and cost effective, comprehensive day-to-day healthcare model for children and young people that meets current and evolving health needs.
- A learning healthcare system so that continuous improvement becomes part of everyday practice.
- Rigorous evaluation that builds the evidence base for improving children's healthcare and strengthening health systems.