Working with public bodies

GCU Principal Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE with Chair of NHS Lanarkshire Neena Mahal

We awarded University status to three NHS Lanarkshire clinical departments in recognition of their life-changing research, education and service excellence. The partnership, focusing on research as well as care, is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

It gave NHS Lanarkshire access to world-leading scientists at GCU’s School of Health and Life Sciences, which is among the top 20 universities in the UK for health research in stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, HIV, sexual health, and drug use and misuse.

Professor Lesley Price worked in partnership with Public Health Scotland, NHS Research Scotland and the Chief Scientist Office as coordinator of the Scottish arm of the UK-wide SIREN study.

A study testing 100,000 health workers across the UK, SIREN is providing information on immunity from, and prevalence of, COVID-19 and is tasked with determining whether the presence of COVID-19 antibodies is associated with a reduction in the subsequent risk of re-infection. SIREN recruited 10,000 staff throughout Scotland, roughly 1 in every 7.5 patient-facing NHS staff.

They will be given blood and throat swab tests every two weeks in the two-year study.

Professor Price, who co-leads GCU's Safeguarding Health through Infection Prevention (SHIP) Research Group, explained: "The study is important, not just for healthcare workers, but to find out these answers for the general population. It aims to see if anybody who has had COVID-19 gets it again and find out if that provides immunity. We are testing healthcare workers to find out how COVID-19 is affecting them as they are at higher risk.”

Dr Gregor Smith, Scotland’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “This study is of huge importance as it provides us with an opportunity to gain a greater understanding of immunity to COVID19. It will also give us invaluable data on the level of infection amongst our staff and inform us how we can best protect them and our patients.”