Research Australia’s submission to the Treasurer ahead of the 2020-21 Budget has used the Government’s own figures showing a drop in R&D investment by Government and business to call for a renewed focus on research and development, including health and medical research. In addition to greater investment in R&D across the board, Research Australia has called for increased funding for the research programs of the NHMRC and ARC; action to make better use of data; and investment in prevention.
To read Research Australia’s submission and the full list of recommendations, click here.
Research Australia has responded to the Australian Government’s latest Discussion Paper on the development of Data Sharing legislation. The legislation aims to improve the sharing of data by Australian Government departments and agencies.
Research Austrlaia’s submission has urged further consideration be given to how public benefit and commercial use are to be defined and how tests for these might be applied. It has also supported the approach to the accreditation of research institutions and individuals, and cautioned against ethics approval by an HREC becoming a default requirement for all data sharing applications.
Research Australia’s submission is available here.
The next stage will be the release of draft legislation for consultation, expected in early 2020.
Health and medical research enjoys strong public support because people recognise that health and medical research leads to safer, higher quality and more effective healthcare. Research Australia’s members work hard to contribute to an evidence-based healthcare system that is continually improving the healthcare delivered to patients. This is achieved through the development of new treatments based on scientific evidence which have been rigorously tested and evaluated to ensure they are safe and effective.
In doing so, our members have helped create the impression that all existing healthcare is evidence-based, safe and effective. When this is not the case, we have an obligation to ensure that people are aware that what they are receiving is not routine care, and to alert them to the associated risk and other matters they should consider. Research Australia’s submission to the Medical Board of Australia has called for clear and prominent consumer warnings to be provided when consumers are being offered complementary and unconventional medicine and emerging treatments by medical practitioners that aren’t part of a registered clinical trial.
Research Australia’s submission
Clinical Quality Registries (CQRs) collect and use data about patients’ treatments to improve the delivery of healthcare. CQRs already play a vital role in helping Australia deliver safer, higher quality healthcare, but the approach to CQRs in Australia is ad hoc and fragmented. The Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Healthcare has been working for more than a decade to improve this situation and the Australian Government has recently released a draft National CQR Strategy for the next 10 years.
Research Australia made a submission in response to the Draft Strategy, welcoming the progress being made in this area, and making suggestions for how the Draft Strategy could be improved. These include broadening the focus from the clinician/patient relationship to capture other patient interactions with staff that affect health care. Accreditation of CQRs and a sustainable national funding model with the support of state and territory governments are also critical elements for the Strategy.
Research Australia’s submission is available here.
The Commonwealth Department of Health subsequently released the final National Clinical Quality Registry and Virtual Registry Strategy 2020-2030 in February 2021, available here. The nomination of key target areas for CQRs and a sustainable funding model for these are no longer part of the Strategy, although funding for key areas is still likely, possibly from the MRFF.
Research Australia has responded to the draft National Clinical Trials Governance Framework developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. The subject of an extensive consultation, Research Australia is confident the final Clinical Trials Governance Framework will be an important step forward in improving Australia’s capacity to undertake clinical trials and to improve safety, quality and effectiveness. Research Australia’s submission addresses three areas where further clarity can be provided and improvements made.
Research Australia’s response to the Clinical Trials Governance Framework
Research Australia has responded to the Victorian Government’s consultation on the Terms of Reference for the Victorian Royal Commission into Mental Helath.
Research Australia has recommended the adoption of two specific Terms of Reference. Firstly, we recommended a Term of Reference to identify how health and medical research can be better utilised to:
• identify quality, effective mental health interventions (including for prevention and
• support the more rapid and comprehensive adoption of evidence-based
interventions and models of care in Victorian mental health services;
• improve the safety and effectiveness of Victorian mental health services; and
• develop effective quality care indicators and quality assurance mechanisms.
Secondly, we have recommended the adoption of a Term of Reference requiring the Commissioners to identify specific areas, where it becomes evident during the course of their Inquiry, that more research is needed. Research Australia’s submission is available here.
Research Australia is now awaiting the commencement of the Royal Commission, and the opportunity it provides to highlight the role research can play in improving the mental health of all Victorians.