One year on from the Medical Research Amendment to the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA)

Miss Selina Metternick-jones1

1South Metropolitan Health Service, Murdoch , Australia

In April 2020 WA implemented a medical research amendment to the Guardianship and Administration Act. This amendment was spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic and a need for Western Australians to have access to experimental treatment. The amendment allowed researchers in WA to utilise a next-of-kin to provide consent or to commence research without consent in urgent circumstances. Prior to this amendment the research community was not able to recruit incapacitated participants to research. This impacted WA’s ability to be involved in research for conditions such as dementia, stroke or patients in the ICU. The amendment was driven by the research community and has been fuelled by a desire to involve WA patients in critical research.

The amendment has been in place for over a year and in that time only a handful of patients have been recruited through the public health system. Considering the researchers indicted there was such a strong need for this legislative change, the uptake has been surprising. This presentation will explore the implementation of the amendment across WA including the local processes which have been put in place to allow the utilisation of the pathway. It will also explore the feedback provided by researchers on the safeguards implemented by the legislation and the challenges in applying a strict piece of legislation in a clinical setting. It will also propose some future changes both in terms of changed processes as well as ideas for future amendments to the legislation.


Bio to come.

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