One in ten patients harmed in Australian hospitals

For decades, scientists have been studying nuclear hormone receptors to gain a better understanding of how they turn genes on and off throughout the body and how they function as key drug targets for a number of diseases, such as diabetes, breast cancer, osteoporosis and high cholesterol. A new UVA Health System study, led by

Full Post: Breakthrough reveals first ever complete structure of a nuclear hormone receptor on human DNA

Researchers from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) plan to tackle underlying problems in Australia’s health system which harm in one in ten hospital patients each year.

Almost $8.5 million dollars in National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) funding has just been announced for the major project by the Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

“A million adverse events occur in general practice each year in Australia,” said Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite, the Director of the Institute for Health Innovation at UNSW.

“Overseas data shows that patients receive recommended care only half of the time,” he says. “We will significantly advance this work by investigating how and why this occurs, with a focus on the roles of teamwork, safe medication use and the application of information technology to support improved decision-making.”

Professor Braithwaite is the lead investigator of the team*, which has received one of eight Program Grants to start in 2009.

Professor Braithwaite says there is a lack of evidence about what works in improving patient safety.

“Quality and safety of care are now at the very top of our national health agenda, but everyone is struggling to solve this complex systems problem. We simply cannot afford to keep doing more of the same.”

UNSW has received the largest amount of any institution for Program Grants starting in 2009, with a total of $26.1 million. This includes an earlier announcement of $17.7 million to advance understanding of HIV and hepatitis C. UNSW affiliate the Garvan Institute received the second largest amount for 2009 Program Grants at $21.7 million.

In addition, seven UNSW researchers received Research Fellowships and Professor Basil Donovan from the National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research received a Practitioner Fellowship.

*The research team leaders are internationally recognised for their exceptional leadership in the field of patient safety. They bring together clinical expertise and research and evaluation skills to solve very challenging problems. The team comprises three researchers from UNSW: Professors Jeffrey Braithwaite, Enrico Coiera and Ric Day; as well Professor Johanna Westbrook from the University of Sydney and Professor Bill Runciman from the University of South Australia and the Joanna Briggs Institute.

Contact: Professor Jeffrey Braithwaite 0414 812 579


A major cross institutional research collaboration aimed at reducing the number of patients harmed in Australia has received $8.4 million in funding in the latest round of National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) program grants. With current research showing that patient harm occurs in 10 per centof hospital admissions, and that less than

Full Post: $8.4 million research grant to improve patient safety in Australia

Governments should take a broader perspective - including quality-of-life impacts - when considering whether to fund vaccines, according to a paper from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). A national vaccination program would help improve productivity and cut sick leave for parents, as well as protecting others in society from falling ill, while

Full Post: Calls for a more flexible approach to vaccine funding

Cells from the human nose are showing further promise in remediating spinal cord injury, according to research from the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Six weeks after injecting cells from the human nose (olfactory ensheathing glia) into the injured spinal cords of rats, the researchers found improvements in the animals’ movement. “We

Full Post: Winning by a nose: promising news for spinal cord injury patients

People with certain high risk gene combinations* are eight times more likely to suffer from a severe and prolonged illness when they have an infection, according to University of New South Wales (UNSW) researchers. This group of people is significantly more likely to have an intense illness during the acute stage of an infection

Full Post: Blame your genes: why some people get sicker for longer

In a national clinical trial, adolescents with moderate to severe depression first given a placebo treatment and then an antidepressant medication alone or in combination with therapy responded just as well over the long term as participants who received active treatment throughout the study, UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers report. Researchers found that at the

Full Post: Depressed adolescents not harmed by being part of placebo group in clinical trial