Plans have been unveiled for a national centre for research into ageing and chronic care in the St George and Sutherland Shire.
The St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation announced the plans during a meeting with the Federal Minister for Health, Senator Sussan Ley, and Member for Barton, Nickolas Varvaris.
“It will the first of its kind in Australia”, the chief executive of the Foundation, Mr Peter Christopher said.
“St George and Sutherland is the right place for this national research centre in integrated care because the region has an ageing population and 30 per cent of people seen at our hospitals are in the older group,” Mr Christopher said.“The focus will also be research on ‘healthy’ ageing. Our plans align with the Federal Government’s release of its Inter-Generational Report which addresses the issue of an ageing population and the implications on the cost of healthcare.”
“We will continue to support researchers with seed funding for a variety of projects every year and of course our highly sought-after capacity building grants.”
The Chair of the Foundation Professor John Edmonds said he wanted the region to be at the forefront of research into integrated healthcare, which works towards keeping people out of hospital and cared for in their homes.
“Associate Professor Peter Gonski has already launched an integrated care program in the Shire and has achieved outstanding results,” Prof Edmonds said.
“Over the next 12 months we will intensify our planning and lobbying to set up the research centre,” he said.“We are grateful to Nickolas Varvaris for his support of the Foundation and look forward to working with him to make sure this happens for the District. We are looking towards receiving Government support, as well as corporate and community involvement to the tune of about $30 million.We have in principle support from all groups necessary for this project to go ahead. While it will be based locally, this centre will have benefits nationally.”
Mr Varvaris said he fully supported the Foundation’s vision. “This is the right place for the centre to be located,” he said. “We are one of the biggest health precincts in Australia, so having a national centre located here is the right fit. I’m supporting this initiative because research will raise the bar at our hospitals. The region should have the best medical care and facilities available to it and the plans for the centre are vital for that to happen.”