Kate Banks, Communications Manager, MFT Research and Innovation (23/12/2019)


MFT is one of the most research-active trusts in the UK, as evidenced by our strong performance in the NIHR Research Activity League Table 2018-2019. We were the only North West Trust to be ranked in the ‘top 10’ of key research areas, including the number of people who took part in our research, the number of studies we supported and our level of commercial research activity.

But while research is perhaps most often thought of in relation to randomised clinical trials of drug therapies – which are a large part of our research activity at MFT, taking place across our nine hospitals and in our community – it can take many forms. Indeed, Saint Mary’s Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC), which is part of Saint Mary’s Hospital, carries out lots of research.

The centre’s primary purpose is to provide a comprehensive and coordinated forensic, counselling and aftercare service to people who have experienced rape or sexual assault. But, undertaking research and reflecting the findings back into everyday practice – and improving the service clients receive as a result – is a key part of the SARC’s work.

Dr Rabiya Majeed-Ariss, Research Associate at Saint Mary’s SARC, said: “We have a prolific publication record, with seven peer-reviewed academic papers and two reports published in 2019.

“We have also been successfully awarded four research bids this year, which equates to around £90,000 in funding, which is great for MFT but also for the people who receive care at Saint Mary’s SARC.

“The focus of our research varies from the high prevalence of pre-existing mental health complaints in clients attending our SARC, to the nature of child sexual abuse among boys and girls in Greater Manchester – these are sensitive, but vitally important areas and we’re proud to be adding to the understanding of them.”

The Clinical Director of Saint Mary’s SARC, Dr Catherine White, also carries out research in addition to her role as an active forensic doctor.

Dr White was recently featured on BBC podcast ‘The Next Episode’, due her research into non-fatal strangulation during sexual assault, as well as on the BBC News website.

“We are the longest-established and largest SARC in the country, meaning we have more than 30 years’ worth of data at our disposal and we are a national pioneer in terms of our research-based knowledge and evidence-based practice,” said Dr White.

“In the case of our research into non-fatal strangulation in particular, it felt like we were sat on a huge gold mine of data and we had moral obligation to mine that data, extract it, and do something worthwhile with it.

“We plan to expand on our research output in 2020 and already have papers in pre-publication. This is because research can and does save lives.”

You can read more about all research published by Saint Mary’s SARC on here.

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