Yorkshire’s COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group (C-SAG)


by Chris Cartwright

The past few weeks have seen rapid and dramatic changes to the way we all live our lives because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Our research programmes have also been impacted, with many research projects paused whilst we all respond to the challenges the pandemic presents.  We have however been busier than ever having repurposed our research expertise and infrastructure to support the local response to and recovery from COVID-19. On Tuesday 24th March we held our first COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Group (C-SAG) meeting with our partners in the NHS and Local Authority.  C-SAG is led on behalf of partners by Bradford Institute for Health Research and provides not only a forum linking researchers and practitioners but also one linking disciplines within our NIHR funded Applied Research Collaboration Yorkshire and Humber themes and projects. 

In just five weeks, some of our achievements include:

  • The design, piloting, ethical approval and launch of our Born in Bradford and Born in Bradford’s Better Start Bradford families survey to understand the immediate impact the pandemic is having on people’s lives – with over 700 responses received in just 10 days
  • The design, piloting, ethical approval for a further survey for our Born in Bradford children and BiB4All women who are pregnant or who have recently give birth
  • A review of available COVID-19 models and their suitability for local use
  • Initial analysis of local data regarding hospitalisations due to suspected COVID-19 and ethnicity 
  • Provision of data regarding historic hospital and social care use from our Connected Bradford linked database to aid health and care resilience planning
  • Drawn on our health inequalities expertise to support the development of a framework to identify and support those left particularly vulnerable because of the pandemic
  • Developed a research plan to understand the medium- and longer-term impacts of the pandemic on healthcare use, other health conditions and longer term impacts for those who have recovered from COVID-19

Our findings and insights are being shared directly with local decision makers and with partners throughout the region including networks led by Public Health England and West Yorkshire and Harrogate Care Partnership, informing local action.  We are engaging with our communities to understand how the pandemic may be having differential impacts, shaping our ongoing research. We are also continuing to develop relationships with other ARCs and partners including researchers and industry, to harness our collective expertise and collaborate to address the response and recovery challenges of the pandemic which will be experienced for many years to come.

To get in touch please email: CSAG@bthft.nhs.uk

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