• Research

Research Ethics

Introduction to Research Ethics

As research involving human participants is experimental in nature, it is imperative that any projects are conducted in a manner which respects, protects, and minimises harm to participants. Any proposed research must demonstrate that it has merit and will be conducted with integrity, in order for the involvement of human participants in research to be ethically justified.

In Australia, the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)’s National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (updated 2018) sets the national standards for any individual, institution or organisation conducting human research and is intended to help them to meet their responsibilities.

In 2018, the NHMRC, the Australian Research Council and Universities Australia also jointly published the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, 2018 which articulates the broad principles and responsibilities that underpin the conduct of Australian research.

For further information on Australian Research obligations and standards, please visit www.nhmrc.gov.au/research-policy/ethics-and-integrity.

Conducting Research in a Ramsay Facility

Any research activity that is to be undertaken within Ramsay Health Care must have both HREC and Research Governance approval in place.

There are two options available to health professionals who require ethical review in order to conduct research projects in a Ramsay facility:

  1. Submit an application to any of our three Ramsay HRECs; or
  2. Submit an application to an external HREC, provided it is NHMRC certified and willing to extend their ethical oversight to the Ramsay Health Care facility.

Applications

All applications should be prepared and submitted using the NHMRC Human Research Ethic Application (HREA) Form.

The following information will also be required in conjunction with the HREA form:

  • All research studies, including Low and Negligible Risk (LNR) studies, require a protocol. It is also advisable that all clinical audits should have a formal written project plan;
  • Applications should also contain any recruitment letters, questionnaires, advertisements, diaries, etc. that will be used during the trial;
  • New researchers must provide a copy of their recent C.V.;
  • If a researcher is a student, we require confirmation from the educational institution in question that students are both adequately experienced and qualified, or will be supervised.

Ethical approval is granted when the Committee is satisfied that the conduct of the proposed research is ethical and lawful.

Our Committees

Our HRECs will consider applications for research and quality improvement projects to be carried out at any Ramsay Health Care facility.

All Ramsay HRECs are constituted and operate in accordance with the requirements of the NHMRC National Statement and have wide representation, encompassing medical practitioners, researchers, a lawyer, a clergyman and community representatives.

In addition, Ramsay HRECs monitor ongoing research projects and obtain regular reports about the progress and results of research being undertaken.

Chair: Professor Phil Mitchell

Meetings

This Committee holds meetings on a bi-monthly basis.

HREC Meeting Dates 2019 Latest Submission Dates
August 2019 - TBC TBC
October 2019 – TBC TBC
December 2019 - TBC TBC

Any applications submitted after the latest submission deadline will not be considered until the next meeting.

Please note meeting dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Chair. Refer to published dates via webpage for the current meeting schedule.

Contact Us:

For further information and queries, please email the Secretary at RamsayHREC.NSW-VIC@ramsayhealth.com.au or phone (02 9433 3854).

Chair: Professor Darrell Crawford

Meetings:

This Committee holds meetings on a monthly basis.

HREC Meeting Dates 2019 Latest Submission Dates
Tuesday 12th February Wednesday, 30th January
Monday 11th March Wednesday, 27th February
Wednesday 3rd April Wednesday, 20th March
Tuesday 7th May Wednesday, 24th April
Wednesday 12th June Wednesday, 29th May
Monday 8th July Wednesday, 26th June
Tuesday 6th August Wednesday, 24th July
Monday 9th September Wednesday, 28th August
Tuesday 8th October Wednesday, 25th September
Tuesday 5th November Wednesday,23rd October
Monday 9th December Wednesday, 27th November

Any applications submitted after the latest submission deadline will not be considered until the next meeting.

Please note meeting dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Chair. Refer to published dates via webpage for the current meeting schedule.

Contact Us:

For further information and queries, please email our Ethics Secretary at RamsayHREC.QLD@ramsayhealth.com.au or phone (07) 3394 7819.

Chair:

To be advised.

Meetings

This Committee holds meetings on a bi-monthly basis.

HREC Meeting Dates 2019 Latest Submission Dates
August - TBC TBC
October – TBC TBC
November - TBC TBC

Any applications submitted after the latest submission deadline will not be considered until the next meeting.

Please note meeting dates are subject to change at the discretion of the Chair. Refer to published dates via webpage for the current meeting schedule.

Contact Us:

For further information and queries, please email our Executive Officer at RamsayHREC.WA-SA@ramsayhealth.com.au or phone (08) 9400 9400 (ext. 6404) or (08) 9400 9897.

Fees:

All Ramsay HRECs charge the following fees for different types of Ethical Review application:

Commercially sponsored research project $ 3,000
Collaborative Group study, a Not for Profit entity, a Medical Research Institute or a University research project* $ 1,000
Research conducted by a Ramsay staff member/accredited specialist or a student under the supervision of an accredited specialist which does not have external funding $ 0
Research conducted by a Ramsay staff member/accredited specialist or a student under the supervision of an accredited specialist which does have external funding $ 500
Low-Negligible Risk Research* $ 500
Amendments or additions to an already approved research project (Major Amendment) $ 500
Amendments or additions to an already approved research project (Minor Amendment) $ 0

* Fees may be waived at the discretion of the National Research Unit

All fees are payable to the Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation (ABN 11 607 036 948).

An invoice will be generated and sent to you for payment once your application has been lodged.

Annual Reports

In accordance with NHMRC Guidelines, all Ramsay HRECs require an annual progress report of all approved studies.

At the time of study approval, you will be notified of the submission deadline for your next annual report. Please complete the Annual Report template and return this to the Ethics Secretary of your approving committee.

Low-Negligible Risk Research

The National Statement provides definitions and criteria for Low and Negligible risk (LNR) research, which can be subject to lower levels of ethical review not involving full HREC review. Under some circumstances, research that carries only negligible risk may be exempted from ethical review.

The three types of study which Ramsay HRECs will consider as LNR applications are:

  1. Low Risk Research: The National Statement describes research as “low risk” where the only foreseeable risk is one of discomfort. Where the risk, even if unlikely, is more serious than discomfort, the research is not considered to be low risk.

  2. Negligible Risk Research: The National Statement describes research as “negligible risk” where there is no foreseeable risk of harm or discomfort; and any foreseeable risk is not more than inconvenience to the participants. Inconvenience is the least form of harm that is possible for human participants in research. Where the risk, even if unlikely, is more than inconvenience, the research is not negligible risk.

  3. Quality Assurance (QA) Activities: QA studies are activities where the primary purpose is to monitor, evaluate or improve the quality of health care delivered by a health care provider. Such studies are an essential and integral part of health care delivery. The ethical principles of integrity, respect for persons, beneficence and justice apply to all QA activities just as they do in research studies. It can be difficult to clearly identify whether a proposed study is QA or research. Additionally, some QA activities raise ethical issues which may require review by the full Ethics Committee.

If you are unsure whether or not your study qualifies for LNR ethical review, please contact the Ethics Secretary of your relevant committee.

Complaints

Study Participants

If you are a study participant and have any complaints or reservations about any ethical aspect of your participation in a research project, please contact the Executive Officer of the relevant reviewing committee as listed above.

Any complaint you make will be investigated by an independent party, treated in confidence and you will be informed of the outcome.

Researchers

If you are a researcher and have any concerns or complaints regarding the management, review, and/or determination of Ethical Review, please contact the National Research Unit at ResearchGovernance@ramsayhealth.com.au or call (02) 9433 3854.

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