The Federal Government has accepted the recommendations of the Clinical Trials Action Group report and will introduce changes intended to increase pharmaceutical research and development and improve the clinical trials approval process.

The report recommends ways to:

  • make approval processes for clinical trials being conducted in different states and territories more efficient;
  • increase the benefits to the health system that come from e-Health reforms; and
  • encourage more people to be involved in clinical trials.

The Clinical Trials Action Group, an initiative of the Pharmaceutical Industry Working Group, was was co-chaired by Richard Marles MP, then Parliamentary Secretary for Innovation and Industry, and Mark Butler MP, then Parliamentary Secretary for Health. It was advised by around 50 people including clinicians, researchers, companies and state, territory and federal government officials. 

More than 50 submissions were received from interested organisations and the public.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics has commenced its Australian Health Survey, which will be conducted over 2011-12 with summary results available in late 2012.

The survey will involve about 50,000 randomly sampled adults and children from across Australia and will give a ‘snapshot’ of Australia’s health.

The survey builds on previous ABS health surveys, dating back to 1977, and includes an expanded nutrition and physical activity component to collect information on the population’s food and nutrient intake and physical activity levels.

It will also include for the first time a voluntary biomedical component, where blood and urine samples collected from survey participants will be analysed to provide information on chronic disease risk factors like high cholesterol and levels of nutrients such as iron or B vitamins.

The Australian Government is investing $48 million in the survey, with the National Heart Foundation contributing a further $4 million for this survey round.

A new computing facility called MASSIVE – or Multi-modal Australian ScienceS Imaging and Visualisation Environment – ­is the latest tool in the fight against serious and life-threatening illnesses including lung disease, diabetes, AIDS and cancer.

The Queensland Health Database of Research Activity (DoRA) has been released.

Queensland's acting Premier, Paul Lucas, has defended the state's waiting list problems, following claims that people are waiting years for a specialist appointment.

Tasmania's Launceston General Hospital has been recognised for its high quality of care.

Australia's Chief Medical Officer, Professor Jim Bishop, has announced he his leaving the post in order to be closer to his family in Melbourne.

Six world-class researchers have been recognised with the presentation of the 2011 NHMRC Australia Fellowships.

A senior children's doctor says a new vaccine monitoring system will provide quick advice to parents of children who get sick after receiving vaccinations.

The Australian Government has formed a high-level panel to evaluate health and safety practices at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation radiopharmaceuticals facility – ANSTO Health.

Funding totalling $7.4 million has been awarded to 18 research teams under the National Health and Medical Research Council’s (NHMRC) Development Grants scheme.

Australia's peak doctors' group has called on the federal government not to forego mental health for disaster funding.

While e-health has to date largely focused on doctor-patient videoconferencing over fibre networks, wireless-enabled smartphones could soon grow to become the health service delivery platform of choice for many Australians, according to the CSIRO.

The Australian Department of Defence plans to revamp its health records with a $5 million dollar electronic system.

Defence has chosen global service provider CSC for a five-year IT contract to develop and implement an electronic health (eHealth) information system.

After winning the contract through a tender process, CSC will deliver a centralised, web-accessible, military specific, primary care solution known as EMIS into the Defence’s IT environment.

The system will be known as the Joint eHealth Data and Information (JeHDI) system.

Along with selected partners, CSC will also provide application hosting, IT support services, organisational change, communication, training and project management.

Defence commander Joint Health, major general Paul Alexander said the JeHDI system will hep provide high-quality healthcare that supports ADF members within Australia.

“The JeHDI system will not only provide an eHealth record for all personnel, but also give the Department of Defence the ability to map health related trends of the ADF and derive financial reports on its healthcare costs,” he said.

JeHDI represents one of the first comprehensive eHealth record projects across Australia and will support the needs of modernising the Defence organisation.

The NSW Government has announced funding of $16 million for two major medical research initiatives.

State governments have embraced a new hospital funding deal that the federal opposition says will do nothing to help Australia's ailing public health system.

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