Life during lockdown

Empty chairs with the Clinic reception desk at the back

June 2020: An update from the Anne Rowling Clinic team amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen us all have to adapt to new ways of living and working. Our team here at the Anne Rowling Clinic are certainly missing the face-to-face contact with our research participants and those visiting our NHS clinics.

In case you’re missing us, we thought we’d give you an update on what the team has been up to since lockdown kicked in. So here is what’s been happening over the last 8 weeks.

Entering lockdown

At the end of March our team moved quickly to minimise disruption to clinic services and adopted tele and video conferencing for those involved in clinical drugs trials and for NHS appointments. Specialist hotlines were implemented for our MS and neuroinflammatory services answering coronavirus questions and concerns. Within the first week we saw an increase of calls by 300% with all calls answered or returned within 24 hours.

Shaping COVID-19 national policy and research

Key members of the team including Professor David Hunt, Dr Katy Murray and Judy Newton, have all contributed to national bodies advising on MS, MND and other neurological conditions and the response and advice related to coronavirus.

The team have also been driving forward research into how COVID-19 has affected people with MS and MND in Scotland, working alongside the Scottish MS Register and coordinating MND research through the CARE-MND platform

Staff redeployed to the front line

A number of our research staff have been redeployed to the NHS front-line to help fill gaps from people self-isolating or unwell, and take-up posts to cope with increased admissions and new covid-19 specific positions.

  • Clinic Manager Judy Newton continues her work coordinating the MND nurses in Scotland and having oversight of the Clinic but has also taken on supporting Public Health work in nursing homes. 
  • Research nurses Christine Weaver and Michaela Kleynhans, alongside Rowling intern Juan Larraz, have all been working at one of the Covid-19 testing hubs alongside continuing some of their research work.
  • Research Practitioner Tanya Van Der Westhuizen has taken up a role in an NHS high dependency unit.
  • Research Trial Nurse Liz Fraser has moved to work on an NHS respiratory care ward

Other staff have remained in post at the Clinic and, working from home, continue to deliver what research work they can during lockdown. Our NHS staff also continue to deliver appointments supporting and treating people with MS, MND, Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions supported by the Clinic.

Continuing research

Sustaining and developing what research we can whilst keeping staff and research participants safe has been a key focus of the last 8 weeks.  Research Project Coordinator Dawn Lyle has continued to support and monitor participants already enrolled in the MND-SMART and MS-STAT2 clinical drug trials. The teams have also been preparing plans for when we’re able to start recruitment again.

Other staff have been working from home analysing data from ongoing studies, writing up their findings for publication and making plans for developing our research. We’re as committed as much as ever to do what is best to operate amongst the conditions put in place to keep people safe in the coming weeks and months.


Related Links

Scottish MS Register


This article was published on: Thursday, June 04, 2020