A Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) researcher who is leading a project that will assess the effectiveness of ‘advanced dressings’ in healing high-risk surgical wounds is among 120 local researchers sharing in $6.5 million of McGowan Government research funding.
FSH surgeon and recently appointed Michael Lawrence Brown Chair of Surgery at The University of Western Australia, Professor Toby Richards has been awarded funding in the latest round of the Medical and Health Research Infrastructure Fund (MHRIF).
The grant will support his work in leading the WA arm of SUNRISE, an international clinical trial that will determine whether patients whose incisions are dressed with negative-pressure bandages – which use a suction device to draw fluid away from the wound – experience lower rates of infection than those whose wounds are dressed with conventional bandages.
Infection is one of the most common complications of emergency surgery, occurring in 20 to 30 per cent of cases and putting patients at increased risk of potentially devastating consequences.
In what is thought to be a first for WA, the project is also giving university medical students and junior doctors the opportunity to be part of an international randomised controlled trial.
Local hospitals participating in SUNRISE are Fiona Stanley, Sir Charles Gairdner, Joondalup Health Campus and St John of God Subiaco.
On top of the $6.5 million in MHRIF, WA’s six medical research institutes will share in $2.8 million under the State Government’s Research Institute Support (RIS) program. The allocation of RIS funding is based on each institute’s success in obtaining competitive grant income. It enables them to buy resources essential for supporting quality research.
The allocations follow the McGowan Government’s recent achievement of securing sustainable, increased funding for health and medical research and innovation by establishing the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund.
As stated by Health Minister Roger Cook:
“The MHRIF program has been enabling outstanding WA researchers to remain competitive in their pursuit of national and international funding since 1997.
“Thanks to the support they have received through MHRIF, they have been able to run important research projects, such as SUNRISE, across our hospitals, universities and medical research institutes.
“SUNRISE has the potential to significantly reduce infection risk in patients undergoing emergency surgery, improving outcomes for patients here and around the world and I commend Professor Richards for helping WA play a role in this project.
“Funding research programs and infrastructure is crucial to creating an advanced medicine environment in WA.
“Support for these programs and the recent creation of the Future Health Research and Innovation Fund demonstrate the McGowan Government’s commitment to health and medical research and innovation.”