Update: MCNSW Report Completed; Articles in Progress

I’m writing this quick update simply to share my recent movements and my goings-on in the coming months.

One success story of last year was finishing the final version of my major report for the Medical Council of NSW, titled “Regulating Medical Practitioners in the Public Interest: A Qualitative Review of Public Interest-based Decisions of the Medical Council of NSW under s 150 of the National Law.” It was about 8 months in the making. I have uploaded a copy of the contents to academia.edu.au here — and I’ve appended a precis of my findings. It’s not possible for me to publish the report to the public, however, as it deals with confidential information, and information protected by statute. The plan is now to publish a range of articles that communicate these findings to the broader health law community. I have almost finished an article on the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (NRAS) as an example co-operative federalism in action.

In other news: happily, I’ve been appointed a Research Fellow at Sydney Law School for 2019. I am part of an ARC Linkage Project titled Regulating Autologous Stem Cell Therapies in Australia. Briefly, the project seeks to develop an ethical and regulatory framework for the use of autologous adult stem cell therapies in Australia. As the grant description states,

These therapies are increasingly being offered to patients for diseases and conditions that lack scientific evidence of safety and efficacy. This study aims to address this problem using a mixed methods approach to generate empirical data and theoretical, ethical and legal insights that will guide the responsible development, translation and regulation of innovative stem cell therapies in Australia and internationally. Anticipated outcomes will improve patient advocacy and public knowledge about adult stem cell therapies, and facilitate better relationships between patients, researchers and clinicians.

Something that I’ve already learnt about the regulation of autologous stem cell therapies in Australia is that the Commonwealth government, via the Therapeutic Goods Administration, overhauled its regulation of biologicals framework last year; and seemingly very little has been written in response to these new regulations, which incorporate a handy new risk-based classification system for biologicals. So I already have quite a clear research pathway into this area.

Another subject related to the regulation of autologous stem cell therapies that I’m interested in writing about is the regulation and provision of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections/therapies in Australia. As an amateur athlete, I well know how many people use this form of therapy in Australia (it’s common) — and I have a rough sense, too, of how many Australian health practitioners provide it. It will be good to look at the therapy from a regulatory standpoint and to begin to understand where this form of therapy sits in the range of biological therapies — be they proven, partially proven, or unproven therapies — in the Australian health care context.

I’m also teaching the Foundations of Law unit at Sydney Law School this semester 1 of 2019, which will be a nice re-entry into teaching (my last formal unit was the one I coordinated in the English department — a master’s unit, Approaches to Genre, in 2016); but I’ll be doing some one-to-one teaching, as I have been these last few years, at the University in various settings.

Amid the academic work I’ve also been training quite hard for Canberra Marathon, which will happen on 14 April. That’s involved some 120–140 kilometres of running each week, and all of the research, recovery and preparation that goes into that. For someone who’s relatively new to distance running, having started in late 2016, there’s a lot of wisdom to imbibe. The goal is 2:50:00 or better.

That’s all from me for now. I hope the next update includes news about a publication!

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