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NCET funding update: June 2023

06 June, 2023

The National Clinical Evidence Taskforce (NCET) continues to face funding uncertainty post  June 30, but has renewed calls for federal funding. NCET submitted a proposal to government last month, highlighting our current capabilities to deliver on key recommendations from the Federal Government’s recent Long COVID Inquiry. Chief among them, the development of evidence-based living guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of Long COVID (recommendation 7.4).

With a proven track record developing world-first living clinical guidelines on COVID, Long COVID and MPX, the Taskforce has equipped Australian clinicians with near-real time evidence and weekly updates since the outset of the pandemic.These guidelines already include over 200 clinical recommendations and would form a ready made basis for ongoing Long COVID and regularly updated COVID clinical guidance into the future.

Cited over 30 times in the Long COVID Inquiry Report itself, the work of Taskforce is nationally and internationally recognised for rigour, timeliness, relevance and accessibility. This reputation is built on the unwavering commitment of NCET’s 35 member organisations drawn from all Australian states and territories.

To date, over 250 clinicians and consumers have given 30,000+ volunteer hours to produce the Australian living clinical COVID guidelines. This collective commitment continues today, however without further funding the unprecedented collaboration and single voice of clinical consensus that the Taskforce has consistently delivered is at imminent risk.

Support from the Australian Living Evidence Consortium (ALEC) and philanthropic donors has enabled the Taskforce to continue reduced operations and update clinical guidance for the first six months of this year – but this temporary funding ends on 30 June.

The Taskforce is currently awaiting a response to a submission for further Commonwealth funding that would enable continuation of this vital work, and immediate action in response to key Long COVID Inquiry recommendations.

Taskforce members have also highlighted the potential capacity to scale up and apply their collective expertise to investigate and address the impacts of climate change on health and resources. The negative impacts of climate change are already evident in hospitals and clinics on a daily basis, particularly in urgent and emerging infections.

The Taskforce model was specifically developed for high priority health areas where the rate of new research production, the levels of clinical uncertainty, and the urgency of the emerging threats are all high. As evidenced in the impact the Taskforce has had over the past three years, this one of a kind national collaboration is more than capable of delivering the evidence Australians need on COVID, climate health and other future emerging threats – subject to immediate funding.