National Mutual Acceptance Scheme for Ethical and Scientific Review of Multi-Centre Research
The NMA Scheme for Ethical and Scientific Review of Multi-Centre Research is consistently recognised as a key enabler for clinical trials and research conduct in Australia. Consultation is underway for the development of a National Accreditation Scheme.
National Mutual Acceptance (NMA) Scheme is a national system for mutual acceptance of scientific and ethical review for multi-centre clinical trials conducted in publicly funded health services.
The NMA Scheme for ethical and scientific review of multi-centre research is consistently recognised as a key enabler for clinical trials and research conducted in Australia.
All state and territory-certified public health organisations now participate in the scheme facilitated by the Australian Government's Encouraging More Clinical Trials in Australia measure.
In development – NMA National Accreditation Scheme
With oversight by the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care is developing national quality standards and an accreditation scheme for Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs) operating under the NMA Scheme.
A nationally consistent approach to the accreditation of institutions and their HRECs will improve the quality of ethics reviews, improve their acceptability between institutions, minimise duplication and reduce the time to research commencement. It is anticipated that in the future, mutual acceptance of ethics review by institutions participating in the NMA Scheme will be expanded to include accredited institutions and their HRECs across the public, private and potentially, university sectors nationally.
The revised and expanded NMA Scheme based on the accreditation of ethics committees to a national quality standard will focus on safety and quality, seeking to distinguish and leverage Australia's competitive advantage and reputation for quality. The NHMRC will maintain the Certification Scheme until an appropriate accreditation scheme is implemented.
Clarifying and strengthening arrangements for the NMA Scheme will enable further expansion beyond the public sector to include appropriately accredited ethics committees operating across more diverse settings.
The Commission has been engaged to develop the accreditation scheme for NMA ethics committees in collaboration with all jurisdictions and with consultations to inform this work commenced in late 2022. An expert Advisory Committee has been established to advise on the consultations. The Advisory Committee Chair is Dr Conor Brophy.
Receive updates on the work to expand the NMA Scheme
All Australian governments invite your participation in these important consultations to inform further development for the scheme.
If you have any questions relating to this consultation, please contact HMR@safetyandquality.gov.au.
The Ethics Committee Advisory Group
The role of the Ethics Committee Advisory Group is to provide high level guidance and advice on the deliverables of the project and provide a point of liaison between the Commission and peer groups.