Polly Radcliffe

Polly Radcliffe joined King’s in 2014. She has over twenty years of experience of qualitative research in health and social care that has focused on gender and identity in the context of the criminal justice system, substance use treatment and health care services. She has extensive experience of accessing and engaging hard to reach research participants and analysing qualitative data using thematic, discourse and narrative analysis. Prior to coming to the National Addiction Centre she has worked on research projects at the Institute for Criminal Policy Research and the University of Kent. Polly has a PhD in Sociology form Goldsmiths.

Polly is currently lead-researcher at King’s for the ESRC funded Relations Study, funded by the ESRC, Governing parental opioid use: a relational ethnography investigating from a family perspective how policies and practices for working with families affected by drug use impact on children and families. The study will use ethnographic methods to examine how drug use is managed in practice. Researchers will interview, observe and spend time with parents and families as well as health and social care service providers to understand more about how the system works.

Polly was Co-App for the NIHR Advance Programme and  managed the qualitative research in the UK for the ESRC funded Men, Substance Use and Relationships study for which she recruited men in substance use treatment for survey questionnaires and conducted qualitative interviews with men who identified as perpetrators of IPV in order to explore their rationales and understandings of perpetrating violence. She conducted a policy mapping exercise and interviewed policy and practice stake holders. She coordinated the national Learning Alliance, wrote a project blog and is lead and co-author of papers and the Framework for working safely and effectively with male perpetrators of IPV in the context of substance use treatment.

The care pathways of women who use drugs in the perinatal period: findings of a qualitative longitudinal study

Background / Aims: Substance use in pregnancy is a multifaceted public health problem with many confounding factors and implications for the long-term wellbeing of both mothers and children. This study aims to understand the experiences of women receiving multidisciplinary and integrated treatment and the range of care models available.

Methods: The study used a prospective longitudinal design, involving up to five in-depth interviews with 36 women in four different research sites in England and Scotland from early pregnancy up to 18 months after birth, tracking women’s experiences of care over time. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data were extracted from transcripts using the framework approach.

Results: Preliminary results presented a profile of women with complex histories of disadvantage and abuse, with many having previously lost care of their children. Arrangements of services varied in the four sites impacting how women experienced care pathways. Delivery and inpatient care for women and their babies and the immediate post-natal period were identified as points at which there is an acute need for coordinated care and access to specialist mental health, social care, and treatment services.

Conclusions: Women reported having highly variable experiences of antenatal and postnatal services in different research sites, varying from highly stigmatising to non-judgemental care. We highlight a particular gap postnatally where women often find that the wide array and often specialist antenatal support they received is no longer as readily available, and they are often left to navigate motherhood and complex systems on their own.