First MFT patient recruited to ‘PRIEST’ COVID-19 research study

Our first patient has taken part ‘PRIEST’, a research study which aimis to optimise the triage of people using the emergency care system during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic.

The first Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT) patient was recruited to the study at Manchester Royal Infirmary (MRI), joining nearly 1,800 participants in a range of COVID-19 trials taking place at our Trust.

Pandemic Respiratory Infection Emergency System Triage (PRIEST) is led nationally by Professor Steve Goodacre from the University of Sheffield, sponsored by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. 

Launched in collaboration with hospital trusts across the UK – including MFT – the research is examining how A&E departments and ambulance services currently predict which patients with coronavirus are likely to develop serious illness and therefore need to be admitted to hospital.

There are currently seven other COVID-19 research studies open at MFT, with more in set-up, due to open imminently.

Professor Rick Body is an Honorary Consultant in Emergency Medicine at the MRI and is leading the PRIEST study at MFT.

He said: “Patients who contact emergency services with suspected COVID-19 need to be rapidly assessed to determine the severity of their illness, and whether they need to be admitted to hospital. This process is called ‘triage’.

Triage often uses methods such as scores or decision rules, which have been developed and are ready for use in a pandemic, but we don’t know how well they can correctly predict who needs to be admitted to hospital and who does not.

“The aim of this study is to identify the most accurate triage method for predicting severe illness among patients attending the emergency department with suspected respiratory infection caused by COVID-19. This will ultimately help clinical staff make the most appropriate and timely care decisions for people with the novel coronavirus.

Being able to more accurately predict how COVID-19 will affect individual people is beneficial for patients, but will also better enable the NHS to cope with the demands of the coronavirus pandemic.

COVID-19 research at MFT spans four workstreams – data, diagnostics, observation and treatment – with PRIEST one of our observational studies.

The study is using patient data gathered during the COVID-19 pandemic to test how well existing triage methods predict serious complications. More information about methodology being used in the PRIEST study can be found on the University of Sheffield website.

Professor Steve Goodacre, Professor of Emergency Medicine at the University of Sheffield, said: “Our project aims to improve assessment so that the patients who are at greatest risk are admitted to hospital, while those who can safely go home are able to do so.”

Professor Body added: “While there is still much we don’t know about COVID-19 and why it impacts some people more severely than others, every time someone takes part in research they are enhancing our understanding.

As a doctor and a researcher I’d like to say thank you to all the patients taking part in COVID-19 trials at our Trust and across the world.

Rick Body, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Manchester Royal Infirmary

Rick Body, Professor of Emergency Medicine at Manchester Royal Infirmary