Based on an audit of clinical trials activity in four local health services in Sydney and qualitative interviews with clinical trial leaders and administrators, the report recommends several measures to improve the performance and productivity of clinical trials within Sydney Health Partners.

Clinical trials provide a vital link between basic science research and the delivery of clinical care, as well as help resolve uncertainties regarding disease management. However, investigators and sponsors of clinical trials are faced with rising costs, complexity and regulatory hurdles.

Sydney Health Partners says the key themes that emerged from the audit were the need to improve recruitment, training, job security and retention of trials staff; as well as supporting investigators with better access to clinical trials expertise.

There was wide support for NSW and Commonwealth Government proposals to establish clinical trials support units and employ “start-up specialists” to improve the quality of applications, thereby reducing the burden on research and governance offices and facilitating more timely initiation of projects.

“This report highlights the challenges but also the exciting opportunities for the New South Wales health system in the clinical trials space,” said SHP Executive Director Professor Garry Jennings.

“It also notes that there are currently several worthwhile initiatives underway to strengthen clinical trial activity. With this report and our reform activity more broadly, Sydney Health Partners is committed to working with our partners to remove or reduce the barriers to clinical trials success in New South Wales.”