A research midwife in a pandemic

02 February 2021
Volume 29 · Issue 2


As we go into further lockdown in England, research midwife Alison Perry reflects on the place of research at the frontline of the pandemic

In the heady adrenaline-infused days of early lockdown, time stood still, and the layers of our lives were stripped back. For health systems, the virus stuck, like a stick into a beehive.

As lead research midwife, I was reeling from 13 March 2020 scattering of our team of 21 clinical research staff at Imperial College. Some of whom were headed for home and some of whom were headed for the so-called ‘frontlines’ of maternity services. Since then, I've thought about the concept of the frontline in relation to a global pandemic.

The so-called ‘frontline’ of a pandemic conjures images of a health system on the brink of collapse, hospital corridors laden with the ill and the sainthood of healthcare workers. But, I'm uncomfortable with the metaphor of war. Wars are the place of soldiers, victims and heroes. All of which presume there to have been a known battle line, along which the war would be fought. But, the coronavirus hasn't revealed itself in such a way as to have geographical certainty.

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