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Research & Studies

SNHN is committed to assisting local researchers to conduct high quality, ethical primary care research.

ASPIRE to improve medication safety

8 November 2023

Medication safety has become both a national and PHN (Primary Health Network) health priority. Problems with medications are common at transitions of care, for example, when patients move between hospital and home. Medication-related problems result in a significant number of hospital re-admissions and emergency department visits each year.


ASPIRE to improve medication safety

The ASPIRE (A Systems approach to enhancing community-based medication review) Trial seeks to reduce the incidence of medication-related problems by improving the uptake and effectiveness of community-based home medication or medicines reviews (HMRs).

HMRs employ a person-centred approach to increase patient involvement in making informed decisions about their medicines – they are funded by the Australian Government but are underutilised post-hospital discharge.

The trial will focus on the high-risk transition period from hospital to home, with Northern Sydney PHN (Primary Health Network) and the Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) working in partnership to improve communication and coordination between hospital and primary care settings for patients leaving RNSH. It aims to reduce unplanned readmissions by providing a GP-initiated HMR to those patients who are at higher risk of medication-related problems – typically older people, or those taking multiple medications (polypharmacy).

Patients identified by the RNSH as likely to benefit from a timely HMR are enrolled into the program. The patient’s GP can initiate an HMR referral to an accredited pharmacist or their community pharmacy, who will then perform an HMR in the patient’s home in collaboration with their GP. A dedicated Medication Safety Pharmacist at the PHN, funded through the trial, will support the process, GPs, pharmacists and patients.

This is an ideal opportunity to discuss the patient’s personal goals, concerns and preferences and see how they manage their medication at home. An HMR supports quality use of medication, and this in turn supports quality of life.

Co-adaptation Workshops at Northern Sydney PHN

At Northern Sydney PHN, there will be two co-adaptation Workshops running in October and November 2023, which will inform the implementation of the ASPIRE Trial. At these workshops, we discuss how to best support patients in our practices through Home Medicines Reviews through collaboration between geriatricians, general practitioners, pharmacists and community members.


About the trial in our region

The ASPIRE trial is a multi-centred  investigation whether a PHN-based implementation model for improving access to a timely post- discharge medication review reduces unplanned readmissions for patients leaving hospitals. Northern Sydney PHN together with Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) is one of four trial centres in the study. Assoc Prof Fiona Robinson is the Principal Investigator for the trial at SNHN and Prof Sarah Hilmer is the Principal Investigator at RNSH. The study is being run by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers from the University of Sydney, Northern Sydney PHN, RNSH and other leading institutions.

The aim of this study is to investigate whether an implementation model for reducing medication harm post-discharge reduces unplanned hospital readmissions. The model will involve a timely post-discharge Medication Management Review supported by the establishment of Medication Safety Hub within the participating Primary Health Networks.

Northern Sydney PHN and RNSH will be the second sites to transition to the active intervention phase, commencing February 2024. The trial is scheduled to run until June 2025, pending further extensions.

Facilitating the ASPIRE Trial at Northern Sydney PHN is Medication Safety Pharmacist Georgette Yassa whose role includes establishing communication channels between the PHN, RNSH, GPs and accredited pharmacists, supporting GPs in the coordination of a medication review service for their patient and gathering data for analysis by the lead research agency the University of Sydney.


Medication Safety Hub

As part of this study a Medication Safety Hub will be established at the Northern Sydney PHN area which will facilitate the development and delivery of education events around medication safety.


The ASPIRE trial is funded by the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) under the Australian Government’s MRFF 2020 Quality, Safety and Effectiveness of Medicine Use and Medicine Intervention by Pharmacists grant.

If you have questions about the ASPIRE Trial, please contact Georgette via email at

Find out more about WHO’s Medication Without Harm.

Credentialed list of pharmacists for ASPIRE Trial: click here

A survey evaluating healthcare professional attitudes and perceptions on Ramadan fasting in pregnant Muslim women with diabetes

14 August 2023

Dr Shejil Kumar is running a healthcare professional survey study evaluating doctors’ perceptions and attitudes on managing pregnant Muslim women with diabetes fasting during Ramadan. The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. The results of the study aim to help guide future research directions and management guidelines in this field in the local Australian population. The study has been approved by the South Eastern Sydney LHD HREC (2023/ETH00682).

Please access the survey through either the link or QR code below:

QR code to access survey

Communicating with aged care residents with limited English proficiency survey

A research team at Monash University is inviting staff who work in, or visit Residential Aged Care Facilities, to complete a 20-minute anonymous survey about the way they communicate with residents who have limited proficiency in English.

Their experiences will be used as part of the PRACTIS: PRimary health and Aged Care Translation and Interpreting Services project to improve the delivery of care to older Australians with limited English proficiency living in Residential Aged Care Facilities.

All participants who complete the survey will go in the draw for one of 10 x $50 eGift Cards.

To complete the survey click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Jason Yeung, Research Assistant, on (03) 9904 4822 or

The ethical aspects of this project have been approved by the Monash University Human Research Ethics Committee (Ref no: 23885).

Calling General Practices to Participate in the APCOM Trial

You are invited to participate in the Activating Primary Care COPD Patients with Multimorbidity (APCOM) Trial. The APCOM Trial, funded by the Australian Government Medical Research Future Fund, is a primary health care implementation research study being conducted by Bond University, University of Queensland, UNSW Sydney, Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, University of Wollongong Australia, University of Sydney, Lung Foundation Australia, Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. The trial aims to improve the quality of life of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and other chronic health conditions through an innovative practice nurse-led, tailored self-management program in Australian general practice.

The Trial will support practice participation by providing a recompense of $1000 each to ALL participating general practices for recruiting eligible patients for the trial. A $200 gift voucher will be provided to a practice champion, nominated by the practice team, who will be the main focal point of the study. General practices allocated to the intervention arm of the trial will be provided a payment of $60/hour for the practice nurse’s time towards attending an online training workshop and delivery of the self-management program to participating patients in up to five personalised health coaching sessions. GPs and PNs can also claim CPD hours for their involvement in the trial.

Further information regarding the trial can be found here: If you are interested in participating or have any questions, please contact the Lead Investigator Professor Nick Zwar at or 07-5595 5499, or the trial manager Dr Sameera Ansari at


Planning for a future GP workforce in Northern Sydney

22 June 2023

Sydney North Health Network (SNHN) is consulting with general practices and the community to gain a deeper understanding of the current General Practice (GP) workforce needs and training capacity in the region.

Some communities in the ACT and NSW currently – or are predicted to – experience a lack of GP services due to workforce shortages or changes in community needs.

In response, the Commonwealth Government has established GP Workforce Planning and Prioritisation (WPP) Consortiums to provide advice and analysis on workforce need and training capacity across the country so that communities receive the GP services they need.

We invite your feedback – please see below for details.


Online General Practice and Community Surveys

Thank you for completing this quick survey. Your responses will help to provide local nuance and perspective on enablers and barriers experienced by the General Practice workforce and patients attending GP services.

We are keen to hear from you – our community and general practice staff in Northern Sydney.

Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey to share your experience.

*Community survey participants can opt into a draw to win one of twenty $50 gift vouchers.
Note: Please provide a name and email address at the end of survey, if you wish to enter the draw.

*GP survey participants go into a draw to win one of twenty $50 gift vouchers for their practice. Note: While the survey asks for a practice name, your responses will remain anonymous.

General Practice Focus Group

Wednesday, 26th July, 7-8pm (GPs and Practice Managers)

We would like to hear the views of GPs and GP supervisors. Please also consider registering for one of the online GP stakeholder forums. The focus group will provide us with additional and invaluable local information.

Target audience: GPs, Supervisors and Practice Managers working in the region of Northern Sydney.

Register here.

*Focus group participants go into a draw to win one of ten $100 gift vouchers for their practice. 

Evaluation of the reach and uptake of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia

21 June 2021

The Department of Social Services has engaged Australian Healthcare Associates (AHA) to evaluate the reach and uptake of the Autism Guideline. The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia (the Guideline) was developed by Autism CRC and launched in 2018.

The Guideline represents the first national standard for the assessment and diagnosis of autism in Australia, and outlines processes for both comprehensive assessment of individual support needs and diagnostic decision-making.

The purpose of this survey is to evaluate the awareness, application and impact of the Guideline and to obtain your views on issues that may be affecting uptake of the Guideline.

AHA invites paediatricians, psychiatrists, psychologists, speech pathologists, nurses, occupational therapists, general practitioners and social workers that have a role or an interest in the assessment and diagnosis of autism to participate in the evaluation by completing two online surveys: the first is available now, and a follow-up survey, if you choose to participate, is to be completed in early 2022.

AHA encourages your participation whether or not you were previously aware of the Guideline.

The survey is open now and will close at 11:59pm on Tuesday 6 July 2021.

Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your Internet browser:

Follow the link to opt out of future emails:
Click here to unsubscribe

Information about this evaluation is also available on AHA’s website.

Please get involved and share this information with your professional and inter-professional networks!

If you have any questions about this evaluation, please don’t hesitate to contact