Australian Health Journal

Message from former Australian Health Minister Hon Greg Hunt

The Honourable Greg Hunt served in the Australian Government as Minster for Health and Aged Care from 2017, previously as Industry, Innovation and Science Minister and before that the Environment Minister.

Elected as the Member for Flinders in 2001, Greg announced his retirement from politics late 2021 and in 2022, ahead of the Federal Election, having completed 20 years as a public servant.

Australian Health Journal recently caught up with Greg in a relaxed interview at his home in the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria to hear how a 9 month sabbatical has allowed him to focus on family, fitness and future. This has even included some “brutal spin cycle classes!”.

Making clinical trials participant friendly

Clinical trials are essential in developing new, improved, and more effective treatments and interventions. Without trials, researchers and professionals in the field cannot properly determine whether these new treatments and interventions are safe and effective.

The Clinials platform is geared towards patient centric trials and reducing site burden. The aim is to accelerate lifesaving medicines coming to market by connecting participants and researchers. The platform allows participants to come to researchers with their eligibility in hand among other capabilities.

Building capacity with job-ready clinical trial interns

The Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre Alliance, or VCCC Alliance for short, is a Victorian partnership of 10 research, academic and clinical institutions looking at improving cancer outcomes for patients.

The VCCC Alliance SKILLED clinical trial internships program is a pathway for scientists to build role-specific clinical trial knowledge, experience and in a clinical trials unit through theoretical and on-the-job training. The internship program is a 40 week intensive program to get science student interns job ready for clinical trial assistant and study coordinator internship roles.

Supporting the mental health of the Australian health care workforce

Tara Hurster, is the CEO of The TARA Clinic and a psychologist who started working within the area of addiction in 2010. The TARA clinic, short for Therapeutic Addiction Recovery Assistance, recently started offering online programs to overcome and recover from addiction.

Tara spoke with Australian Health Journal about the early warning signs of anxiety and stress in health staff and executives, including irritability, changes in sleep patterns and diet leading to more serious mental health decline. These behaviours and symptoms increase the risk of substance abuse that could take the form of excessive smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use, porn, sex and gambling.

Surgeon receives global award for kidney transplant science

Commencing a new series called Pioneers in Health Care, is an interview with Professor Jeremy Chapman AC who for over 40 years, has been involved in nephrectomy, or kidney transplantation.
Honoured “for eminent service to medicine, particularly in the areas of clinical and biomedical research, to the development of ethical policy and practices for organ donation, acquisition and transplantation, and to renal medicine organisations and publications, Jeremy Chapman AC has played significant roles in development of kidney, pancreas and unrelated Bone Marrow Transplantation in Australia.

Sovereign capability uplifted

Skilled labour, in particular skilled in the manufacture of MTP products, namely competency in Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), was identified as one of the key priorities, according to Jarrod Belcher, Director of the REDI Program at MTPConnect. Through a competitive process, MTPConnect selected additional industry training providers to deliver new programs addressing key skills gaps in the sector workforce.

Launched in September 2022, one of these programs is GMP Uplift developed by the Centre for Biopharmaceutical Excellence (CBE). CBE bring experience across large and small Biologics, Pharmaceuticals and Regenerative Medicine companies, both in consulting and GMP related enterprise training. CBE staff also have extensive experience in GMP operations, compliance, auditing and QMS design, a wide industry network for guest lecturers and readily available case studies.

Continuing education program leads to better conversations

Medicines Australia’s Continuing Education Program (CEP) is designed to educate medical representatives to a recognised industry standard. Dr Tristan Ling, CEP Academic Lead and Project Manager at the College of Health and Medicine, University of Tasmania talks about the 900 students that come through the program each year.

The CEP is primarily directed at medical representatives working within the prescription medicines industry, but is also recommended to people who may not be currently employed within the industry but would like to pursue a career as a medical representative. It is also available to personnel working for organisations interacting with the pharmaceutical industry.

Smart technology in wound care

Throughout her journey around wound care, Santosh Kaur was frustrated to see the simple gaps in wound care resulting in negative patient outcomes. Santosh is the founder of SmartHeal which launched in 2020.

SmartHeal replaces the nurses taking cumbersome manual measurements and manual sharing of important wound data with a no touch technique. It aims for healthcare professionals to have live remote access to wound data, make wound assessments and assist with speech to text notes thus saving time, cost and people. SmartHeal also aims to assist healthcare professionals in providing optimum wound care by analysing the wound tissue for infection, moisture and providing suggestions for suitable dressing.

Belonging in a medical device company

Edith de Boer is the HR Director for Zimmer Biomet in Australia and New Zealand. Her career originally was in telecommunications and consulting in Europe. After leaving The Netherlands, Edith worked into the Australian medical research industry, before moving into a human resources role at Zimmer Biomet. Edith spoke to Australian Health Journal about her role and the organisation.

Student nurse placements in primary health care

With an urgent need to manage increasing rates of chronic disease, an ageing population, and a rapidly-ageing primary health care nurse workforce, Australia desperately needs more primary health care nurses to enter the workforce before the current generation retires and cannot pass on its skills.

Most nurses start their career in a hospital. Historically, it was difficult for universities and tertiary education providers to arrange placements for student nurses in primary health care. However, the APNA Student Nurse Placement Program provides student nurses with a foot in the door to a career in vibrant primary health care settings such as general practice or community health to perform supervised activities.

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