Partnership will fund new research into preventing healthcare-associated infections

The University of Newcastle has partnered with global infection control specialist GAMA Healthcare to help fund new research into preventing and controlling infections in health and care settings.

The partnership will see the two organisations co-fund a five-year professorship on the Central Coast, with the University providing vital research and information that will help GAMA assess and develop interventions that could be rolled out in hospitals around the world. 

There are an estimated 165,000 healthcare associated infections in Australian hospitals each year. One in 10 patients in an Australian hospital today is likely to get infection they didn’t have when they went into hospital. Resistance to antibiotics is further complicating this problem, making infections more difficult to treat. 

Laureate Professor John Aitken, pro vice-chancellor of the University of Newcastle’s Faculty of Health and Medicine, said the partnership demonstrates the importance of education and industry working together to provide solutions to real-world health issues. 

“Infection prevention and control and antibiotic resistance in our hospitals and care settings are such important areas of research, particularly given challenges such as bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics. The need for solutions to prevent infections has never been greater,” Professor Aitken said. 

“This partnership is a great example of industry and education identifying a common area of interest where it can work together to establish expertise by combining intellectual leadership and research with innovative manufacturing to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.” 

“As we look to further grow our clinical teams in Australia with a new office opening in Melbourne in July, partnering with the University of Newcastle will enable us to continue to invest in Australian research to help reduce healthcare-associated infections,” said Suzanne Hammouche, chief executive officer of GAMA Healthcare. 

As a result of the partnership, Professor Brett Mitchell will take up a position in the University of Newcastle’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, initially based at its Ourimbah Campus on the Central Coast before moving to the new Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute, due to open next year. 

A qualified nurse and Fellow of the Australasian College for Infection Prevention and Control, Professor Mitchell has held senior clinical roles in hospitals in the UK and Australia, as well as working in developing countries to help prevent the spread of infection. He is currently chair of a National Health and Medical Research Council committee revising national infection control guidelines for Australian hospitals and has worked extensively with the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. 

“I’m very excited to be joining a University already at the forefront of medical research and studies at a time when it prepares to open a new Medical School and Research Institute on the Central Coast in partnership with the local health service. By working closely with industry, our research can provide tangible benefits that can lead to better patient care and outcomes.” 

The $85million Central Coast Medical School and Research Institute will be based at Gosford Hospital and is a joint project of the University of Newcastle and Central Coast Local Health District. Earlier this year the University also announced plans for a new Gosford CBD campus.The project has already received $18 million Federal funding to support its development.


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