The Cell and Gene Catalyst call for change in submission to scope of practice review

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The Australian Cell & Gene Catalyst has issued its response to the federal government's health workforce scope of practice review.

The review, announced in the federal government's 2023-24 Budget, is led by Professor Paul Cormack and is scheduled to conclude at the end of 2024.

According to the catalyst, an AusBiotech and Medicines Australia joint venture, "The rapid growth of Australia’s cell and gene industry means greater opportunities to treat people in Australia who live with debilitating inherited diseases and cancers. Importantly, this rapidly expanding industry will create new jobs in for Australia’s diverse, skilled workforce. This will boost Australia’s health and economy and secure our position as a leader in the Asia-Pacific region and on the broader international stage."

It says that to ensure everyone in Australia has ready access to world-class treatments such as cancer immunotherapies, cell and gene therapies and gene-editing therapeutics, there is an "urgent need to grow our capacity and capabilities across the entire cell and gene industry value chain," including the workforce.

It recommends that the Pharmacy Board of Australia work with the cell and gene therapy sector to develop standards and guidelines for dissemination to pharmacy professionals.

It also recommends that the Medical Board of Australia recognise cell and gene therapies as a medical specialty and certify specialised training programs for clinical settings.

It also recommends that incentives should be provided to education providers to develop specialised resources to ensure the primary care workforce is appropriately trained in the delivery, monitoring and ongoing care of individuals who have received cell and gene therapies.