July 5, 2019

Ethics Committee established

The first meeting of the newly established Ethics Committee that focuses on low risk was held yesterday at NCHER. The committee was established in May, as a response to the growing interest for research within Northern Health.

Amina Khayre, Low Risk Ethics Officer, said the need for the committee was identified as low risk studies are different to quality improvement and clinical audit activities.

“They involve more risk due to the more interactive nature of studies. These studies must be reviewed to ensure the best possible safety and outcomes for both researcher and participant,” she said.

The committee comprises of multidisciplinary members from across all the units in the hospital. There is also a consumer on the committee.

“The committee ensures that studies adhere to the ethical standards and guidelines. These guidelines include the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007, ” Amina explains.

Professor Bill van Gaal, Chair of the Committee, said it is very good to bring the Ethics Committee back in-house, making it easier for people to do research at Northern Health.

“The Low Risk Ethics Committee brings back a local, ‘in-house’ ethical review for researchers who wish to undertake low risk research projects at Northern Health. This will streamline the application and approval processes for our local researchers and enable them to start projects sooner. Loosely speaking, low risk research includes research that does not place any participants at risk of harm. As Chair, I am delighted to bring this process back to Northern, help facilitate research at Northern and guide researchers with the help of the committee to undertake their projects successfully,” he said.

The Committee will support the researchers, provide guidance on statistics and methods and how to do research, and help them through the entire process.

“We are here to support the process of research that will translate into better health outcomes for the north,” Amina added.

If you have any questions about the committee, please email ethics@nh.org.au.