NSLHD News February 25

Get the latest news from across Northern Sydney Local Health District.


Main story Short blurb covid-19 vaccine roll out kicks off More than 880 NSLHD staff are scheduled to receive the vaccine in the first week.

Read more on Page x Read more on Page 3

New staff at rnsh neurosurgery department Page 5

emergency medicine specialist earns captain rank Page 7


Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

After a quiet January, it has been a busy early February for the Board. It takes many people in different roles to run a hospital and a health system. Every staff member plays an important part in our overall success and in establishing and maintaining our reputation for excellence. Especially in times of a health crisis such as COVID-19, the public turn to doctors, nurses and other health professionals for information, advice and to take care of them. But behind our clinical staff are people who work tirelessly in the background who may not always be noticed by the public or our patients – including our cleaning and environmental services staff. As part of the Board’s ongoing monthly breakfast series, Board members had the pleasure of meeting some cleaning and environmental services staff. We all rely on the work they do, day and night, keeping our wards and specialist units clean, increasing the hygiene standards and helping to make sure our hospitals are safe places. I thank cleaning and environmental services staff for everything they do as part of the health service team. The Board also recently met with the district’s team working on the Pathways to Community Living Initiative (PLCI). NSLHD is a key implementation site for the state- wide initiative which aims to support people who have been staying in mental health facilities for long periods to live successfully in the community. Our mental health teams in hospital and community settings, in partnership with other community and clinical agencies, have supported 118 consumers to transition from

sustainable transitions to the right community accommodation, with ongoing community clinical and living supports. Our teams undergo careful assessment and planning in partnership with the community to support people to live the best lives. Earlier this month I attended the first Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Council meeting for the year. I am impressed with the thinking and work going into actioning the district’s strategy. Two employee networks have already been established – LGBTQ+ and disability – with more to come. The networks are the real engine rooms of this work, so I am thrilled to hear their ideas to help make NSLHD an even better place to work for everyone. Diversity education and training helps create an inclusive environment that fosters innovation, prevents unconscious and conscious bias and supports engagement in the workplace. You can visit the diversity, inclusion and belonging intranet page and enrol in some of the learning opportunities available via My Health Learning. Lastly, I want to congratulate the team at Mona Vale Hospital on the opening of the Palliative Care and Geriatric Evaluation and Management building. The site and design of the building are quite stunning and are matched by the passion, warmth and commitment of the staff. It was a pleasure to meet some of the staff and tour the new unit at the opening. I know our staff there are providing the very best care to patients at one of the most difficult times in their lives.

hospital back into the community. The teams are doing a fantastic job providing person-centred, safe and

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



Ryde Hospital emergency department staff waiting for their COVID vaccines

first covid-19 JABS FOR nslhd staff This week registered nurse Abi Pidgeon was

much of how we do life, it’s incredible to think that this is the start of things slowly moving towards the new norms of life post COVID-19. “I am so proud to be a part of that!” The COVID-19 vaccine is being made available to those most in need of protection first. These groups have been identified based on national expert advice. Quarantine workers and emergency department staff, like Abi, have been identified amongst the priority groups. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said once the COVID-19 vaccines have been rolled out to priority groups, doses will be made available to all other staff and the broader community. “We have been immensely fortunate in NSW and not seen any community transmission of COVID-19 for some time, so we have plenty of time to deliver the vaccine with a staged approach,” she said. “Thank you to everyone involved in the massive logistical effort to get the staff COVID-19 vaccination program up and running. “This truly is a historic and exciting time for us all.”

amongst the first members of staff from Northern Sydney Local Health District to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Abi works at Royal North Shore Hospital’s emergency department and was joined by around 200 of her colleagues from nursing, medical, allied health and support staff, including cleaners, porters and clerical staff, to receive their vaccinations on the first day. Abi was one of more than 880 district staff scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the Westmead Vaccination Hub in the first week of the roll out. Abi said the process of receiving her vaccination was smooth, seamless and painless. “It was a momentous occasion going with a group of my wonderful colleagues to get the vaccine,” she said. “I think I speak on behalf of us all to say that we are incredibly proud to be part of this little piece of history. “I am so glad we finally reached this day - it has been so long coming with COVID-19 having an effect on all of us both professionally but also personally. “Even though COVID-19 has changed so

Registered nurse Abi Pidgeon receiving her COVID-19 vaccination

Ryde Hospital environment services staff Karen and Dario received their vaccines



ris-pacs roll out Clinicians will soon have access to enhanced diagnostic services allowing for quick access to images and results, as part of an upgrade in medical imaging across the district. The Radiology Information System and Picture Archiving and Communication System (RIS-PACS) will be rolled out to both Northern Sydney and Central Coast Local Health Districts in April-May 2021. These systems will be replacing the GE Centricity, improving system reliability as this system is near end of life. The go live dates for each site are: • Ryde Hospital – 7 April • Hornsby and Mona Vale hospitals – 13 April • RNSH – 25 May To hear more about how RIS-PACS will benefit, we spoke to Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital’s acting Chief Radiographer Tinashe Shongorisho: What is RIS-PACS for those who have heard about it but don’t know what it means? RIS – Radiology Information Systems. This system receives imaging orders from eMR and is where patient information is recorded, examinations scheduled, examination performance is tracked, and procedure billing occurs. PACS - is a picture archiving and communications system. This system is where images and reports are electronically stored and exam reports will be generated, instead of using the old method of manually filing and retrieving of films. Describe the benefits of RIS-PACS? It is a more reliable ordering system, removing the reliance on printing paper request forms to move towards a paper light workflow; enhanced patient transport with tracking visibility; improved scheduling of appointments, with SMS notifications and reminders for outpatient appointments; a single patient view in the PACS with comparison images/reports accessible across all participating local health districts. Skype for Business integration enables improved communication and sharing of images with radiologists off site; the ability to build educational libraries with keywords and anonymised images for teaching and research.

Tinashe Shongorisho from Hornsby Hospital

Clinicians will have access to a new web- based image viewer called Uniview which will have additional functionality and features not available in the current GE Centricity. Will Medical Imaging Services need to change its business processes? Medical imaging will be able to streamline current business processes which will see faster and more efficient workflows. This will be seen from when the imaging order is received, all the way to when the report is finalised and sent to the referring team. This will provide improved patient care and service delivery. More detail around how the change may affect departments will be communicated in the coming months. In the meantime, for more information refer to the RIS-PACS intranet page; http://intranet.nsccahs.nswhealth.net/ ClinicalNet/RISPACS/Pages/default.aspx To contact the RIS-PACS project team, please email RNSH – Kate Erdman Katherine.erdman@ health.nsw.gov.au HKH, Ryde and Mona Vale – Stuart Jiang luolin.jiang@health.nsw.gov.au.



Preserving Hornsby’s history As the redevelopment of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital takes shape, behind the scenes is a dedicated team working hard to preserve its history. With the hospital first delivering services in 1933, the site is steeped in history, which is why the hospital has set up an arts and cultural committee to look at how some of the artefacts can be kept. Redevelopment Transition Manager Adrienne Stern said many of the historic medical equipment, which used to be on display in the original entrance to the hospital, will again be displayed with the committee looking at new ways to showcase the material. “As much as we look forward to working in our new built- MEASURE ME MARCH Childhood overweight and obesity is a major public health issue, with more than one in four Australian children above a healthy weight. Without intervention it is said over 80 per cent of these children will go on to become adults who are overweight. Clinical staff in all areas where children present play a vital role in addressing this. NSLHD Clinical Director of the Children and Young People network Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy said all children visiting NSW Health facilities – inpatient, outpatient and community settings – are required to have their growth assessed on a routine basis. “Clinicians must routinely

The previous main entrance to Hornsby Hospital

for-purpose buildings, we also want to make sure we preserve our hospital’s history,” Adrienne said. “We have thousands of photographs which we have discovered in our archives that we would like to find a way of displaying. “We hope to retain the sandstone columns that are outside the Lumby car park and we are also retaining the leadlight that was used in the windows at the former main entrance.” It is hoped the sandstone gate pillars from the 1930s, measure a child’s height and weight and enter the measurements into the electronic medical records at least once every three months,” she said. “This practice represents good clinical care and also allows intervention to occur early if the child’s growth trajectory is deviating away from a healthy weight.” Elisabeth said by routinely measuring a child’s height and weight staff can identify when a child is above or below a healthy weight, offer parents or carers advice, and if appropriate, refer the family to appropriate weight management services. “In an effort to improve measurement our therapy dog Herbie demonstrated just how easy it was to

with domed cement cap and ball domed plinths, at the original main entrance can be maintained and reused on the grounds. Visitors and patients will still be able to visit the sandstone chapel which was built in the 1930s. Also staying is the pair of lion statues made in 1944 as reminders of provision for British soldiers in Sydney during World War II and for their association with the maternity ward for 50 years from 1956 to 2006.

Herbie demonstrating a height and weight measurement

do a height and weight measurement – even if you have four legs!” she said. For more information, please visit http://intranet. nslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/ ClinicalNet/ClinicalNetworks/ CYF/Pages/Childhood- Obesity.aspx or contact Catherine.jones3@health.nsw. gov.au



MEET RNSH NEUROSURGERY DEPARTMENT’S NEWEST STAFF It was a few special patients doctors Alice Ma and Keryn Davidson met during their years of medical training that inspired them to pursue a career in neurosurgery.

Alice, an interventional neurologist, and Keryn, a neurosurgeon, recently joined the team at Royal North Shore Hospital – both referring to their new roles as a ‘full circle’ after completing some of their registrar training at the hospital years prior. During their training years, both Alice and Keryn realised the huge difference they could make in people’s lives. When Alice was an intern at a regional hospital, she had a young patient suffering an acute stroke. “He was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital and received acute stroke treatment, making a full recovery,” she said. “For me that case has always inspired me because of the great difference the treatment made to his life – and it’s a privilege to now be part of the same neurointerventional team.” With a sub-specialty in cerebrovascular neurosurgery, Keryn is the first female neurosurgeon to join the team of seven at RNSH. Being such an integral part of each of her patients’ care keeps Keryn going and inspires her every day. “It is such a privilege to follow complex patients along their journey and help them get

Dr Keryn Davidson

better,” she said. Alice and Keryn agree it is the support from their teams that allow them to provide the best care in the more stressful and time critical situations. “You get comfortable with being uncomfortable – and that does take a while to get used to,” Keryn said. “I’ve had strong mentors and support networks along the way including those who I can decompress with after the more difficult days and that’s really important.” While managing the challenges of heavy case loads, complex cases, technical skills and the physical stamina required from the job, it is the rewarding nature of care that drives Alice every day. “Neuro intervention makes a real difference to our patients,” she said. “The neurointerventional team’s culture is fantastic and that is reflective of the amazing mentorship, support and guidance.” Keryn thrives on the challenge of managing stressful situations quickly and the variety of patients she sees day-to-day – from those with brain tumours, haemorrhages from trauma or spinal problems. “I’m excited to be part of the team – I’m really grateful and proud to lead the way for young women who want to be neurosurgeons because it’s an amazing job,” Keryn said.

Dr Alice Ma


Share your news and achievements. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



MEET THE INTERN: DR TANVEER SINGH When Dr Tanveer Singh Mokha chose medicine – his reasoning was simple. “When you do a job, you

to my family, not having to worry about cooking, which is something I had to do last year, is really nice, especially food that tastes much better than what I was making. I truly feel blessed to be back.” While starting a medical career can be daunting, Tanveer said his placement in aged care has given him an understanding of what it is to be a clinician. “Aged care exposes you to a broad variety of medicine, so we’re getting our heads around how doctors deal with issues in a clinical setting, both little and big,” he said. “Putting your knowledge to the test and now being responsible for your patient’s health, you start to feel like ‘this is what it’s like to be a doctor’ whereas before you felt ‘this is what it’s like as a student’.” While adrenaline flows for many as they fulfil their dream of working as a doctors, Tanveer said it was important to ‘fill your own bucket.’

should do a job that you wake up every day wanting to do,” he said. Tanveer, who is currently placed on ward 9E at Royal North Shore Hospital, recently moved back to Sydney from Adelaide where he studied medicine. The transition has been made easier in a number of ways, whether that’s at work or at home. “I’m not sure what it’s like at other hospitals, but one thing that has been really nice here is the support,” he said. “The whole week for O week, and the whole week with buddies, was really helpful. I am so grateful to the junior medical staff unit (JMSU), contacting us, making sure our paperwork is done – I’m very grateful. “Being at home has helped me personally: coming home

Dr Tanveer Singh

“The first few weeks of internship really hits you, you mentally prepare for it, everyone’s ready for it but it still hits you,” he said. “My strategy is keeping time aside, a little bit every day, just for doing the things that really ground me, whether that means calling my friends or my partner or doing some meditation or reading, or keeping up my exercise with bhangra. “The time that I have off, I make sure I use it to do things that really fill up my bucket.”

EMERGENCY MEDICINE SPECIALIST EARNS CAPTAIN RANK He is known as JV to many, but Associate Professor John Vassiliadis has been promoted to Captain for his contribution in the Royal Australia Navy. As well as being a senior

staff specialist in emergency medicine at Royal North Shore and a mentor to countless junior doctors, John has also been an active member of the Navy Reserve since joining in 2002. Alongside his new rank, John was also appointed as the Director of Navy Health Training. His passion for education has seen him heavily involved in the training of Navy personnel, as well as fulfilling medical duties in response to the humanitarian crisis in

Associate Professor John Vassiliadis (left) has been promoted to Captain

Banda Aceh. “For me it is an honour to serve my country both as an educator and clinician. Australia has given so much to my family who came to this country for a new start and better future,” John said. “I feel lucky that I was born in a country that values

diversity and provided me the opportunity to be whatever I wanted to be. “For me it is a way of giving something back and being involved in an organisation that is not only involved in protecting our way of life but also plays a pivotal role in humanitarian activities in our region.”



Visit ‘For Families’ for information, advice and support to help reduce the harms caused by alcohol and other drugs. Are alcohol or other drugs a concern in your family?

yourroom.health.nsw.gov.au/ families

February 2021 © NSW Health. SHPN (CAOD) 210089.

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