Siri helps health services to debunk clinical trial myths

Victorian regional, rural and outer metro access to clinical trials has increased significantly over the last four years thanks to a pilot program called TrialHub.

Peninsula Health is one of six Victorian regional, rural and outer metro hospitals currently participating in the program, which is supporting each health service with what they need to be able to open, or improve, their own clinical trial unit.

The TrialHub program, based at Alfred Health, has been providing funding and operational support, such the clinical trial workforce upskilling to staff, at the Rosebud Cancer & Clinical Trials Hub since it opened in 2022.

Today, eight clinical trials are currently open for recruitment at Rosebud with another dozen in the pipeline.  Clinical trial access on the Mornington Peninsula is so important for those who would otherwise struggle to travel to Frankston or into metro Melbourne.

Peninsula Health and TrialHub’s mutual goal is to reduce the mental toll of having to travel far for a clinical trial.

Peninsula Health’s Medical Oncologist, Dr Gordon Ratcliff, successfully completed TrialHub’s fellowship program, which has strengthened his expertise and ability to lead clinical trials at Rosebud.

“It was a brilliant experience. The mentorship and education I got has allowed me to be the principle investigator on a number of clinical trials in the regions. I’m really passionate about bringing clinical trials to my patients, and I know they do better for it. This opportunity wouldn’t have happened without TrialHub,” he said. 

TrialHub was established in 2020 by the Australian Government with the goal of improving access to clinical trials outside of metro Melbourne.

As part of International Clinical Trials Day, Dr Ratcliff joined six other Victorian health services for a special video about clinical trials.

Low awareness of clinicals trials is one of the biggest reasons people don’t participate in clinical trials.

This year, seven health services working with TrialHub – Alfred Health, Bass Coast Health, Latrobe Regional Health, Mildura Base Public Hospital, Northern Health, Bendigo Health, and Peninsula Health – have come together to create a unique video to debunk clinical trials and to celebrate the progress that’s been made outside of metro Melbourne to increase access to clinical trials closer to home.

Clinical trials can give patients early access to treatment that has been proven successful well before it’s available to the public.

They can improve quality of life for patients with a range of diseases, and help to find new and improved treatment.