26 September 2023

ACT partners region health boost with NSW

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The Australian Capital Territory has partnered with NSW Health and the Australian Government to improve access to innovative healthcare in rural and regional communities by bringing clinical trials to the bush.

Announced by the Minister for Health, Rachel Stephen-Smith, the partnership Rural, Regional, and Remote Clinical Trial Enabling Program, is to establish an expanded network of new clinical trial units across regional and remote parts of NSW.

Ms Stephen-Smith said the ACT Health Directorate and Canberra Health Services would support the delivery of the program across local health districts in the southern parts of NSW.

“Expanding the delivery of clinical trials will enable our dedicated healthcare teams to share their expertise with rural and regional communities to foster innovative research and improve health outcomes,” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“This program has clear benefits for patients in rural and regional communities but will also allow the ACT to contribute to important medical breakthroughs.”

She said program would fund infrastructure initiatives and help address barriers to research in rural areas including geographic isolation, lack of clinical trial workforces, and clinical skills and capacity.

“Ensuring equitable access to healthcare is important to the ACT Government, and we’re pleased that our agencies and staff will be helping deliver the latest clinical developments, usually only available in metropolitan settings and sometimes with a significant travel cost, to rural communities,” the Minister said.

Ms Stephen-Smith said Canberra Health Services was the host organisation for the program’s Southern Cluster and announced the appointment of Walter Abhayaratna as Cluster Lead.

Professor Abhayaratna said it was exciting for the ACT Health Directorate, Canberra Health Services and NSW Health to collaborate to bring clinical trials to the bush, and to a population who would otherwise miss out from cutting edge treatments that were potentially lifesaving.

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