The Miscarriage Priority Setting Partnership is led by the University of Nottingham and the project is independently overseen by the James Lind Alliance , a non-profit making initiative, which is funded by the National Institute of Health Research. Its aim is to bring patients, carers and health care professionals together to identify and prioritise research questions in order to influence the prioritisation of future research in that area.

Steering Group

The project is managed by a Steering Group, led by an independent chair from the James Lind Alliance . The Steering Group includes representation of patient groups and health care professionals.


Steering group members are:

IMG_5580Leanne Metcalf (Chair)

Leanne is the independent Chair for the Miscarriage Priority Setting Partnership (PSP),  working on behalf of the James Lind Alliance (JLA). Her career has been focused within  medical research charities funding research into a variety of different health conditions, and  she has a strong background in project management and facilitation. She was involved in  the very first PSP in asthma in 2006/7 and, since 2013, has been chairing a number of partnerships as a JLA Adviser, including the recent Stillbirth PSP.



IMG_3520 (1)Matthew Prior (Lead)

Matthew works as a Senior Registrar in Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Research Fellow, University of Nottingham. He currently is a PhD Student at the University of Nottingham carrying out research into uterine anomalies and miscarriage. He is also Chair of Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Trainees’ Committee.




Jim Thornton

Professor Jim Thornton is Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Nottingham and Consultant Obstetrician. He is ex Director of the Nottingham Clinical Trials Unit, and ex Editor-in Chief of the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and the European Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Reproductive Biology.




Nick Raine-Fenning

Nick Raine-Fenning works as a Consultant Gynaecologist at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham. Nick is also an Associate Professor / Reader of Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at the University of Nottingham. Clinically, he manages women with benign gynaecological pathology, early pregnancy complications, and subfertility including patients requiring IVF treatment through Nurture Fertility. Nick is an internationally recognised expert in three-dimensional ultrasound and gynaecological imaging. He has a special interest in women with unsuccessful IVF and recurrent miscarriage.



Professor Coomarasamy leads a research group within the College of Medical and Dental Sciences, working at the forefront of gynaecological studies with a focus on miscarriage and global women’s health. His numerous grant awards (of total value over £10million) include six national and international multicentre randomised trials,(PROMISE, TABLET, PRISM, AIMS and RESPONSE trials).

Professor Coomarasamy is also a founding trustee of Ammalife, an international charity with a mission to find solutions to maternal health problems through practical research and sustainable projects in low income countries. He maintains clinical responsibilities as a consultant gynaecologist with a special interest in early pregnancy management and reproductive medicine.


Kim Hinshaw

Kim is a Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Sunderland Royal Hospital and Visiting Professor at the University of Sunderland. He is a past member of the AEPU Executive and has active clinical & research interests in miscarriage, intrapartum care and obstetric skills/drills. He is Director of Research & Innovation for the Trust.



Carmel Bagness

RCN Professional Lead Midwifery and Women’s Health

Carmel Bagness is a registered nurse, practicing midwife and midwifery educationalist.

Since joining the Royal College of Nursing in April 2010, Carmel remains excited about influencing policy across the diverse range of women’s health care. Her role focuses on influencing and developing UK-wide health and social care policy and practice, in both midwifery and women’s health services. This includes making the best use of RCN members’ expertise, relevant professional, public and women/patient networks, towards developing standards for improving and enhancing practice and education or developing new evidence to support the advances in practice.



Jane Brewin

Jane Brewin has been Chief Executive of baby charity Tommy’s for more than 15 years – Tommy’s funds medical research to prevent miscarriage, premature birth and stillbirth at three centres in the UK based in major hospitals in London, Manchester and Edinburgh in partnership with the NHS and University Medical Schools. Tommy’s will fund its 4th research centre dedicated to investigating the causes and prevention of early miscarriage in April 2016. The research priorities identified in this process will help guide our funding in this new research centre. Tommy’s also offers expert support and advice to parents before, during and after pregnancy through an expert helpline and through publications and on-line information and support.   For more information about Tommy’s visit




Rachel Small

Rachel Small is the Lead Midwife/Nurse for Early Pregnancy & Miscarriage Care at Heart of England Foundations Trust, which covers 3 hospitals, Birmingham Heartlands, Good Hope & Solihull Hospitals. She has worked for the NHS for 23 years training as a Nurse, Midwife & Sonographer.  She has several publications in recurrent miscarriage care & treatment.  Rachel is currently the Chair of the Association of Early Pregnancy Units & serves on several other national committees.  Rachel provides many national talks regarding care in early pregnancy & she is lead research Midwife on several early pregnancy/miscarriage trials




Maureen Sharkey

I am the managing counsellor and trainer at Scottish Care & Information on Miscarriage (SCIM). I have worked at SCIM for 19 years, following my own experience of miscarriage. I hold a Master’s Degree in Counselling and have carried out research in the area of miscarriage which focuses on the emotional aspects of Loss.

I was originally trained in advice and guidance but felt that it would be beneficial to be able to offer women therapeutic support too. I could see how emotionally wounded women were by their loss and the aftereffects of that experience. Coming to terms with loss is not always a straight forward journey for people.

I specialise in providing counselling support following miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss and related issues such as, infertility, relationships, future pregnancy and depression. My main aim is to provide comprehensive support that best assists women and families to cope with the emotional aftermath of such a traumatic event make a lasting recovery and rebuild their plans for the future.

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Lesley Regan

Lesley Regan is Professor and Head of Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust at St Mary’s Hospital and Vice President for Strategic Development at the  Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Her pioneering research into recurrent miscarriage has led to the development of treatments that are now standard. She was one of the first women to hold a chair in obstetrics and gynaecology in the UK. She has written several books on pregnancy and miscarriage including Your Pregnancy Week by Week, and Miscarriage: What Every Woman Needs to Know.


Julie Orford

I live in Suffolk and have two young children. I have recently been awarded a first class honours  degree in Psychology by the Open University. I was the Chair of the Birth Trauma Association for ten years from 2004 after experiencing a traumatic birth, and have personal experience of first trimester miscarriage both from a surgical and natural management perspective. These experiences have made me very aware of the psychological impact and trauma that miscarriage can have and the devastating effect on families. I have previously worked with NICE as a GDG member on the miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy guideline and as a specialist committee member for pain and bleeding in early pregnancy on the NICE Quality Standard Advisory Committee. More recently I have worked with NICE on the safer staffing in maternity services guideline and I am about to embark on a new guideline working with NICE looking at intrapartum care for high risk women.



Sophie Willetts

Sophie is a member of the women’s voice panel with personal experience of miscarriage having suffered 6 miscarriages before 12 weeks; 2 prior and 4 following the birth of her daughter.

Sophie has been treated in a number of NHS and private clinics in the UK so has some experience of how NHS and private clinics differ in their treatment during miscarriage and after miscarriage when pregnant. I have also paid for private tests not available on the NHS that have determined some possible causes of my recurrent miscarriage.

I am taking part to help scientists know what research would be important to patients. I am especially keen to raise the profile of miscarriage research in the hope it will help stop other women having to go through recurrent miscarriage.




Emily O’Toole

Emily O’Toole is a women’s representative, who volunteered to join the PSP as she has experience of miscarriage following fertility treatments. She works as a Customer Insight Manager in the Public Sector, and lives in the Midlands with her husband and their precious two year old twins. Now that her family is complete she wants to use her experiences to try and help other women who are yet to go through the devastation of miscarriage. She also volunteers with Infertility Networker as a helpliner.





Barbara Hepworth-Jones

I am a trustee and former chair of the Miscarriage Association.  I have had personal experience of miscarriage, in total five miscarriages.


I have worked in clinical trials for many years, currently I am head of Process and Training at a pharmaceutical company, so I have specialist knowledge of clinical research, ethics, consent, GCP, research funding, transparency, etc. I have a PhD from Nottingham University, in Physiology and Pharmacology.

I have previously worked with the Miscarriage Association (MA) and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on a bid for lottery funding for epidemiological research. This was the result of my own desire to know what had caused my miscarriages and whether there were any simple lifestyle or dietary changes that could reduce the risk. We were successful in the bid and the work was published. Since then, I have reviewed proposals for miscarriage research that the MA has been asked to review from the patient perspective and contributed to several textbook chapters on patient perspectives around miscarriage. I believe that I can see both sides; having experienced recurrent miscarriage and having spent my career in clinical research.

I believe that I can see both sides; having experienced recurrent miscarriage and having spent my career in clinical research.

judyJudy Shakespeare

Dr Judy Shakespeare is a retired GP who spent her professional career working in the centre of Oxford. For many years she has been interested in women’s health and she has been active in research into perinatal mental health. She was the RCGP representative to the Confidential Enquiry into Maternal Deaths until 2011 and she is now a core collaborator in Mothers and Babies: Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries in the UK (MBRRACE-UK) that continues the national programme of work investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths. Between 2014 and 2017 she will be the RCGP Clinical Champion for Perinatal Mental Health.