WA News News & Reports Raine Foundation, 60 Years On
Raine Foundation, 60 Years On
Written by Jan Hallam
Wednesday, 28 June 2017


Many people equate the Raine Study with the Raine Foundation but they are wrong, sort of. When Professors Lou Landau, Con Michael, John Newnham and Fiona Stanley launched this study in 1990, recruiting 2900 mothers and their newborn to a longitudinal research cohort, the study took on the name of the 1957 benefactor, Mary Raine.

The Raine Medical Research Foundation awarded $650,000, which kick-started their study. Today, 150 or so international researchers investigate this cohort. The foundation still partly funds the Raine Study, among the $1.3m on average awarded for medical research every year since inception.

The fact that the UWA Medical School is celebrating its 60th birthday this year, and so is the Foundation, may be no coincidence. In February 1957, Joe Raine died of a stroke, and Mary six months later signed over her property empire to UWA, believing that medical research could prevent deaths such as her husband suffered.

The Raine properties, which included many properties in Raine Square, including the Wentworth Hotel, and the flagship Windsor Hotel in South Perth, were eventually sold off by UWA (the last, the Windsor in 1998). The long relationship with the biggest private bequest to UWA for medical research had started in 1957, the same year the medical school was established.

In money terms, Mary Raine’s gift was almost twice that raised by UWA’s public appeal for donations to establish the medical school. She died in 1960. Since its inception, the Raine Foundation has distributed more than $50 million from its Raine Capital Fund in support of about 500 researchers in Western Australia.

Rising costs, the negative impact of the GFC, and current low interest rates means the money distributed to medical research by the Raine Foundation has not gone up significantly since 1990 – for example, the Foundation can afford to award ‘priming’ grants to only five research scientists (about half of those funded 30 years ago).

The Raine Medical Research Foundation needs to embark on a fund-raising campaign to ensure they offer a place to the best and brightest young minds in Western Australia.

“If our young scientists are unable to secure support for their salaries and research, they will inevitably leave the profession or the State which will have a far-reaching impact – not only on medical advances and health outcomes, but also on the WA economy,” says Lyn Ellis, Director of the Raine Medical Research Foundation since 1990.

See www.rainefoundation.org.au

Raine Honour Role (Incomplete)

  • The Raine Medical Statistics Unit
  • Busselton Population Study
  • Raine Centres of Excellence
  • The Raine Study
  • Medical Student Vacation Scholarships
  • Peking Union Medical School/UWA Student Exchange Program
  • Raine Major Research Grants
  • Raine and Cancer Foundations Research Fellowship Award
  • Raine and Heart Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • Raine/Keogh Memorial Fellowship
  • Raine/Department of Health Clinical Research Grant
  • Raine/SGIO Postdoctoral Scholarships
  • Raine Distinguished Visiting Professorships (incl. RVP Program)
  • Raine International Visiting Research Fellowships
  • Raine/Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Science MBBS/PhD Scholarships
  • Raine Bachelor of Medical Science Scholarships
  • Department of Health/Raine Clinician Research Fellowship Program
  • Raine Priming Grants

 By Jan Hallam

While communication is one thing, investigation of notifications is another. We believe good doctors want the bad ones weeded out but they don’t want to be part of a witch hunt or get buried in lawyers, politics or paperwork.

The national Medical Board can respond to a complaint or act on the advice of the WA Medical Board to establish an assessment panel to either examine the health or performance and professional standards of a doctor. Health consumers are represented on panels along with medical practitioners.

The Medical Board and AHPRA have undisclosed lists of doctors who are approved by them as panellists and probably as expert witnesses. Many of these people, we believe, were ‘grandfathered’ across when National Law first came in (2010). Their impartiality is as unknown as they are. Then we have expected biases of the legal assessors, chosen by AHPRA, possibly thrown into the mix.

Is there a problem, Houston?

It is important this is sorted to everyone’s satisfaction as 42% of doctors in our survey thought panellists could lack impartiality to a serious extent.

In fact, only one quarter of doctors we surveyed (n=195) were happy with the impartiality shown by AHPRA or the Medical Board in processing a complaint (with 36% unhappy and 39% undecided). Nearly all of those who were unhappy said they were concerned that unfairness will be seriously damaging to someone. Investigation is a very confronting experience.

If someone is being investigated by a panel, either the panel or the person being investigated can opt for a more out-in-the-open State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) judicial hearing – the panel usually refers because it feels the evidence before it constitutes more serious professional misconduct.

What Fair Doctors Want

Talking to doctors, they appear to want an apolitical system of investigation that is fair and timely. They want to be treated reasonably. Unlike the legal profession, their work is mostly built around trust and honesty. They do not want a return to the ‘good old days’ where those with a political bent in the medical profession could influence what the Medical Board did.

While this is a very difficult area for us to investigate, with arguments and counter-arguments at every step, we cannot understand why the Medical Board would turn to arguably the most political organisation, the AMA, for its counsel (the national Board Chair met earlier this year with “senior leaders from AHPRA and representatives of the AMA” to workshop doctor complaints).

Why? Our e-Poll responses raise a question mark over the AMA’s involvement (and we don’t think AMA members have been polled on this issue.)

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