NSLHD News May 1 2023

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


Main story Out with the old, in with the new RNSH has recently farewelled it’s scanner after 13 years of service and welcomed a new one. Page 3 Short blurb Read more on Page x

Concussion Clinic helps Maddy navigate concussion journey Page 4

Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre opens at hornsby Page 5


I was delighted to launch the NSLHD People Plan 2022-2027. The plan demonstrates our dedication to making our district a great place to work and receive care. I would like to thank staff who contributed to the development of this plan. I’m really excited to see it in action in the coming years. With winter fast approaching, now is the time to receive your influenza vaccination, which is available to all staff members and your families. I’d like to thank all staff members who have already been vaccinated. For information about the influenza vaccine, online consent, and times and locations it is available go to the NSLHD Home Intranet via the Influenza Vaccination Program 2023 “Quick Links” portal. A priority for our district has been diversity and making sure everyone feels they belong in our organisation. A lot of time has gone into shaping the direction our district will take in this area. The launch of the Diversity, Equity, Inclusions and Belonging Strategy was at the yarning circle, outside Ministry of Health’s 1RR campus. The event had a wonderful feeling to it and I congratulate the staff who helped to make it such a success. It is important that everyone feels they belong and are valued. There are many employee networks you can be a part of. To join one, contact the Organisational, Development and Capacity team. This week is Privacy Awareness Week (1 – 7 May 2023), a global campaign that

highlights the importance of privacy and raises awareness for public sector agencies about how to protect the personal information of the people we serve. We are all too aware of the threat of cyber attacks and have seen the devastation it can cause to people. Members of the public expect that all NSW public sector agencies that collect their personal information use it appropriately and keep it secure. Our district has a key role in safeguarding the personal information of the people we serve, since we deal with their information every day. I encourage staff to take a refresher of the available online privacy training Privacy Module 2 - Handling Personal & Personal Health Information available through My Health Learning. This week is also Human Experience Week and this year the theme is ‘All of Us: The Power of Community’, with the sub themes of: Love, Belonging and Healing. This week is an important reminder to celebrate patient, family, carer, volunteer and caregiver experiences. There are activities happening across the district to celebrate the week and I encourage everyone to get involved.

Lee Gregory I/Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Prof Roach (far right) and members of the RNSH nuclear medicine department farewell the old scanner after 13 years of cancer scanning

Out with the old, in with the new Royal North Shore Hospital has recently farewelled it’s computerised tomography (CT) and positron emission tomography (PET) scanner after 13 years of service to welcome a new state of the art scanner. Since March 2010, when then prime minister Kevin Rudd opened the scanner, nearly 50,000 scans have been performed, mostly in patients receiving cancer treatment. The new Siemens Quadra total body PET/CT scanner, which will be operational from mid- June this year, is one of about 15 similar scanners installed globally. Director of Nuclear Medicine at RNSH Associate Professor Paul Roach said the new total body scanner will not only reduce the radiation dose of the former scanner, but will also allow tests to be completed in a quarter of the time. “We’re going to be able to reduce the radiation dose to about half of what we currently do,” he said. “It will also make the process far quicker for patients,

allowing us to scan in about 5 minutes, compared to around 20 minutes currently.” The new scanner is a joint venture between RNSH and the University of Sydney as part of a $15 million national project to boost Australia’s PET/CT research capability. Professor Roach said that the scanner will have its operational time allotted equally between research and providing clinical services for RNSH patients. “The new scanner will be a flagship service for RNSH and will benefit not only our local patients, but it will also play a pivotal role in research efforts on a national level.”

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd visited RNSH for the opening of the outgoing scanner in 2010



Concussion Clinic helps Maddy navigate concussion journey Twenty-two year old student Maddy Corbett,

much quicker.” Reflecting on her journey, Maddy encourages anyone who may be experiencing ongoing concussion symptoms to seek help and not suffer alone. “I would advise anyone suffering post- concussion symptoms to visit your doctor as soon as possible,” she said. “There are services like the RNSH concussion clinic that can make a difficult experience so much better.”

has always been athletic and has played multiple sports over the course of her life. Last year, Maddy was confronted with a series of concussions sustained whilst playing AFL and rugby, which found her experiencing ongoing bouts of concussion symptoms. Maddy began visiting the concussion clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital to identify treat and manage her symptoms. “I was experiencing a range of different symptoms like dizziness, irritation, confusion, lack of comprehension and social anxiety to name a few,” she said. “It had me really worried and I was really struggling. “The clinic really validated what I was going through and offered me solutions.” Maddy credited the multidisciplinary nature of the clinic for the effectiveness of her recovery. “Being able to receive advice from a neurologist, a neuropsychologist, and a clinical nurse consultant was extremely helpful,” she said. “Vicki Evans, Dr Miriam Priglinger and Dr Vince Oxenham have been nothing short of amazing in my recovery journey. “They all offered me a range of solutions and I’m incredibly grateful for all their support.” “The clinic showed me a method that would fit into my daily routine which helped me recover much faster and return to normal

Neurologist Dr Miriam Priglinger, neuropsychologist Dr Vince Oxenham, Maddy Corbett and clinical nurse consultant Vicki Evans (Roach) AM.

Dr Kerry Chant Gets her FLU Jab

NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant recently visited Royal North Shore Hospital for her influenza vaccination. NSW Health is urging the community to book in for the vaccine as the state’s flu season has begun. The latest data indicates influenza notifications have continued to increase. Kerry said it is difficult to predict the full impact of the flu season ahead, but vaccination is the way to ensure you are protected. “If you are aged 65 and over, or at higher risk of severe illness, we also recommend you receive a 2023 COVID-19 vaccine booster, as both flu and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time,” Kerry said.



Staff from th new PECC

Psychiatric Emergency Care Centre opens at hornsby Out with the old and in with the brand-new psychiatric emergency care centre (PECC) with staff delighted to be working in the unit. Having just opened, the PECC is a short stay mental health unit providing short stay assessment, close observation and treatment for stabilisation. Nursing Unit Manager Natasha Sharma said the new PECC has been designed by staff with patients’ needs at the core of the features. “You really can’t compare this brand-new unit to the former PECC,” Natasha said. “The new PECC is a modern mental health unit which has been fitted out with the latest in mental health equipment and furnishings. The well thought-out and extensively consulted upon plan has everything neatly organised, enabling a streamlined workflow – there is a designated spot for everything.” Most importantly for the community, there are now six beds compared to four previously, which allows improved access. “A huge amount of effort (and many meetings) went into the selection of artwork and décor to create a calm environment with elements of nature,” Natasha said. “My favourite spot is the outdoor courtyard, located off the consumer and family lounge. It is visible from the staff station and is a beautiful, safe outdoor space for consumers to rest and relax.” The new environment has already impressed patients and families who have given it the thumbs up. “The modern infrastructure and welcoming environment have already led to improved and efficient consumer outcomes, and it has been so rewarding to hear such positive feedback from patients and families,” Natasha said.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS Share your news and achievements. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



RNSH anaesthetists awarded grant for game-changing device A group of anaesthetists from Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) has been awarded funding as part of the NSW Health Sustainable Futures Innovation Fund. net zero carbon emissions by 2035, with most of the reduction – 70 to 80 per cent – to be achieved by 2030.

Anaesthetists Ben Olesnicky, Andrew Lindberg and Carl D’Souza will be developing a device that will convert excess anaesthetic gases, a potent greenhouse gas, into a harmless biproduct. The team will work alongside chemical engineers from The University of New South Wales to develop a clinical prototype device which has the capability of removing a significant proportion of gases from the operating theatre before it reaches the environment. Once a successfully tested clinical prototype has been created, it would be adapted to fit all current anaesthetic machines in use across the state. Ben said the device will use an ultraviolet light technology to convert the gases to harmless biproducts. “The device will use an ultraviolet light to convert the anaesthetic gas to harmless biproduct, which will ensure no harmful exposure to patients, staff or the general population,” he said. “This project isn’t necessarily about reducing the amount of gases we use, but rather reducing their effect on the environment.” The device is currently undergoing laboratory testing and Ben says there could be potential for the device to be implemented on a broader scale if it’s proven to be effective. “The device will not only help Royal North Shore to dramatically reduce its carbon footprint, but it could also be implemented on a larger scale to help reduce the health systems wider carbon footprint,” he said. The Northern Sydney Local Health District has been actively working on its sustainability efforts, committing to reach

RNSH anaesthetists Andrew Lindberg, Ben Olesnicky and Carl D’Souza

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New research shows poor sleep can shave years off your life A new study has found insufficient sleep can increase the risk of heart disease and potentially lead to an early death. that poor sleep in general can pose a significant risk to heart health,” he said.

“And compromised heart health can impact your mortality and potentially reduce your life expectancy. “This research is an important wake-up call that we must not ignore poor sleep patterns. “Sleep is a vital biological function that has been under-appreciated in public health policy to date. “It’s gratifying that these findings shine a light on the importance of sleep, and the need for it to be recognised as a pillar of good health, alongside physical activity and nutrition. “The time is right to ensure that sleep is recognised in public health policy.”

Researchers from RNSH, the University of Sydney and Southern Denmark University analysed data from over 300,000 middle- aged adults from the UK Biobank, finding that poor sleep is linked to compromised cardiovascular health later in life. In particular, men with sleep-related breathing disorders lost nearly seven years of cardiovascular disease-free life compared to those without the conditions. And for women, the impact was even greater with the study showing they lost over seven years. Importantly, the study found that even general poor sleep, such as insomnia, snoring, going to bed late and daytime sleepiness were associated with a loss of around two years of normal heart health in both men and women. This means that even having trouble staying asleep could be a warning sign of potential health issues in the future. Researchers were able to demonstrate the impact on health outcomes after analysing self-reported patient data combined with clinical data from doctors. The team categorised participants as poor, intermediate and healthy sleepers at age 40, and then compared their health outcomes at old age. Professor Peter Cistulli, Director of the RNSH Sleep Investigation Laboratory and ResMed Chair of Sleep Medicine at the Charles Perkins Centre and Faculty of Medicine and Health has welcomed the findings, saying they highlight the dangers of long-term poor sleep. “We know that sleep apnoea increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions, but these findings demonstrate

Professor Peter Cistulli

NRL star visits AYAH James Tedesco, captain of the Sydney Roosters the NSW Blues State of Origin team dropped in to visit our patients at the AYAH on Sunday. This visit was particularly exciting for Ange who is a massive fan and has been looking forward to meeting him. Ange has a very rare condition called Lafora Disease. Ange’s mum Niki said the visit meant a great deal to Ange and her family. “It was wonderful for James to visit Ange and to help raise awareness about her condition to the youth of Australia,” she said.

James Tedesco with AYAH patient Ange



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April 2023 © NSW Health. SHPN (NAMO) 230267.

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