The Central Coast Local Health District has the aspiration of becoming a global leader in integrated medical research with the launch of a five-year plan aimed at changing the way health care is delivered across the region.
Appointing a Research Director to oversee the successful delivery of the Central Coast Local Health District (CCLHD) 2017-2021 Research Plan, and establishing a state-of-the-art Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute, are significant steps in helping pave the way for better health outcomes for the rapidly-growing community while advancing the District’s research agenda.
The Plan also sets out a clear map of achieving the District’s “Caring for the Coast” strategy, focusing on key priorities around leadership, infrastructure, resources, training and collaboration.
Chair of the Research Committee, Prof Maree Gleeson, and CCLHD Chief Executive, Dr Andrew Montague, officially launched the Plan at Gosford Hospital on June 6, as part of national Medical Research Week.
“This is an exciting time for the District where we will see incredible changes over the next five years,” Dr Montague said.
“Now is the time to build our research leadership and expand our research capacity; we will strive to see research become core business in all aspects of healthcare, placing the District at the forefront of global integrated care research.
“It is also the time for developing the next generation of researchers and ensuring they have the resources and necessary skills to translate their research into better health outcomes for the community,” he added.
Prof Gleeson agreed and said that the Plan would help open up new opportunities for both staff and patients throughout the Central Coast community.
“We hope the Plan will increase the involvement of Central Coast residents in research trials around new medications, testing new ways of delivering health services, as well as preventative health trials aimed at reducing the burden of disease on the community,” Prof Gleeson said.
“The Plan will also support the new Aboriginal Plan for the Central Coast and provide research support to the local Aboriginal community.”
The latest Plan builds on the achievements of the previous CCLHD 2013-2016 Research Plan, which saw the District’s Research Office manage a total of 377 projects, including a 78 per cent increase in new project applications between 2015 and 2016.
One of the most significant projects involving CCLHD in recent times is the Hunter Trial, which attracted a $1.2m Federal Government grant to determine the effectiveness of a new device to support babies born with breathing difficulties.
So far, 650 babies have been enrolled in the study across multiple sites in NSW and Victoria, including Gosford Hospital’s Special Care Nursery.
Central Coast paediatrician, Prof Adam Buckmaster, is one of the Chief Investigators involved in this clinical trial, which aims to determine whether Hi-Flow nasal cannulae is as effective as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) in preventing babies from being transferred to an intensive care unit.
“This is a ground-breaking trial in the sense that it’s the only study in the world to examine the benefits of Hi-Flow in a non-intensive care setting,” Prof Buckmaster said.
“The results will not only have implications for what we do at Gosford Hospital in the future, but also for smaller nurseries nationwide and potentially third world countries.
“The Research Plan as a whole is a fabulous development for the Central Coast.
“It’s been incredibly rewarding to be a part of the District’s Research Plan to date and exciting to be involved in what’s yet to come,” he concluded.
Media release, Jun 6
Clare Graham, Central Coast Local Health District