WACHS research - Ethics and governance review

The WA Country Health Service Research Governance Framework was established in 2016 and includes the Research Governance Review Function, Ethics Review Function and Quality Improvement Function.

From February 2017 all new research projects undertaken within WA Country Health Service Health (WACHS) sites or accessing WACHS participants such as staff, patients or theirs carers (including their data and/or tissue) will be submitted, reviewed and approved through the WA Health Research Governance Service (RGS) information technology (IT) system.

WA Department of Health have launched Stage 1 of the RGS IT system which has been designed, developed and funded by the Department of Health in collaboration with Health Support Services to support the research governance framework for human research projects conducted across WA Health.

The RGS is a centralised system for all WA Health research so that investigators, research group members and sponsors can complete, submit, manage and track their ethics and governance documentation through the life cycle of their human research project. Stage 1 will include the approval/authorisation of research projects; and Stage 2, which will be released in mid 2017, includes monitoring, reporting and publications.

The RGS can be accessed through the RGS website. Information about the RGS and WA Health research governance processes can be found at the Research Governance website and guidance on how to use the system is located in the Help Wiki section.

Please read the Stage I: All Users (Getting Stared) Training Manual (PDF 2.77MB) for more information regarding the RGS and the submission of new projects process. For assistance with the system please contact: RGSadmin@health.wa.gov.au 

Ethics review (step one)

Human research ethical and scientific review enables WA Health to ensure that a proposed research project complies with appropriate ethical and scientific standards through an effective and efficient system of review. This review is conducted by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) which is regulated by the National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) guidelines of the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC).

Ethics review information

WA Health utilises the WA Health Single Ethical Review process whereby single-centre research (involving only one WA health service) requires review from the WA Health Lead HREC overseeing that jurisdiction and multi-centre research (involving two or more WA Health services) requires review by only one Lead WA Health HREC.

Contacts for all WA Health HRECs are available on the Research Governance Service website.

WA Health Lead HRECs currently only recognise NMA certified HREC approvals. Please contact our office if you have ethical approval from a NMA certified HREC to discuss the submission process. 

Contact Information: WACHS.HREC@health.wa.gov.au 

Governance review (step two)

In addition to the ethical review by a Lead HREC, all human research conducted in WA Health must undergo a governance review before final authorisation can be granted and the research can commence at a site or access participants, tissue or data. Research governance ensures the principles, requirements and standards of research are implemented. It addresses protection of research participants, the safety and quality of research, finances, legal and regulatory matters, risk management, monitoring arrangements, and promotes good research culture and practice.

This review is an independent institutional review and is to be conducted by every WA Health institution the research project involves PRIOR to any research commencing at that site or involving the health service’s participants. 

Governance review information

Contact Information: WACHS.ResearchGovernance@health.wa.gov.au