Report into clinical research potential at LGH under consideration

31 Jan 2018

The Launceston General Hospital can overcome its training accreditation and specialist retention issues if it becomes a “champion of research”, according to a report being considered by the state government.

The report, which was commissioned by the Clifford Craig Foundation, highlights a “lack of strategic direction” in clinical research at the LGH.

Foundation chief executive Peter Milne said the hospital had the opportunity to make medical research and training a major drawcard for Launceston.

“That could then address their issues in regard to attracting clinicians and the accreditation problems, helping the Northern Tasmanian community by having a program in place, which actually provides translational research benefits to the community,” he said.

“We’ve always been of the belief that a proper research program – and if this hospital can be recognised as a research hospital – would overcome all those difficulties.”

The report was prepared by KP Health, with information collated from interviews with clinicians, the Clifford Craig Foundation board, the University of Tasmania and Launceston’s research community.

“[KP Health] also took into account research activities of Eastern Health and Peninsula Health in Victoria, which are two hospitals that have championed research to improve their hospital outcomes,” Mr Milne said.

“We want it recognised that this is a real opportunity to take the LGH to another level and it can overcome many of the issues at the hospital.”

Mr Milne said the initial investment from the Health Department would need to be in the form of two or three new positions.

“Two or three people need to communicate the research we have, provide support for the researchers, improve the governance, put in training for clinicians in research, and resource the clinical research program. Then we get the outcomes, which are improve the diagnostic treatment options, embed a culture of clinical excellence and support clinical workforce recruitment and retention.”

Health Minister Michael Ferguson said the vision sat “perfectly with the upgrade for specialist services” the government had planned for the hospital.

“The Clifford Craig Foundation’s proposal to boost research capacity at the LGH has been sent to the Health Department Secretary for in-depth review,” he said.

“It will be considered in the context of the government’s moves to provide stronger local leadership at the LGH, as part of the THS governance changes announced last month and has the potential to help with attracting highly skilled frontline staff.”


Carly Dolan – The Examiner, Launceston