NSLHD News November 12 2021

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


Main story Short blurb community COVID-19 yarn up A l cal ya n up event has brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across northern Sydney to talk about health and social and emotional wellbeing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more on Page 6 Read more on Page x

hornsby school student donates copies of first book Page 4

staff step up to support covid-19 patients in the community Page 3


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

It is so great to see more than 90 per cent of the eligible NSW population fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and the low case numbers as we experience further easing of restrictions. With restrictions now lifted for regional travel in NSW, and the reintroduction of overseas travel to some countries for those who are fully vaccinated, I know many of you may already be planning trips away to reunite with loved ones. It is an exciting time especially as we head into the festive season, however we must remain cautious and be ready to respond if needed. We have already started administering third “booster” COVID-19 vaccinations at our Hornsby, Mona Vale and Royal North Shore Hospital Vaccination Hubs. Expert advice is the two-dose vaccination course already provided gives a high level of protection against the most severe effects of the virus so the booster vaccination is not mandatory. However, staff are encouraged to make appointments for their booster shot through the COVID-19 vaccination clinic finder here: https://bit.ly/3og2U4J. The NSLHD Executive Team has recently welcomed Associate Professor Chris Dennis to the role of Executive Medical Director. Many staff will know Chris from his time as Head of the Northern Clinical School. He is also a Staff Specialist Respiratory Physician at Royal North Shore Hospital. Chris is an excellent addition to the team and brings to the role his extensive knowledge and experience and a strong commitment to patient safety and quality in healthcare. He will provide senior leadership and oversight across a range of areas including clinical services, clinical governance, data analytics and digital innovation, patient safety and research governance. While our nominations for the Exceptional People Awards were paused due to COVID-19 restrictions, I am really pleased to announce nominations have reopened. I encourage you to nominate someone special so we can celebrate and formally recognise staff who go above and beyond

to make a difference for the benefit of their colleagues, patients and consumers. COVID-19 restrictions have meant this year’s awards event has moved to February 2022 to ensure we can have a full house in attendance. Nominations previously submitted will still be included and I am so looking forward to being able to celebrate our award winners together. The festive season is just around the corner which means it is time to kick off the Christmas with Dignity campaign. This is the second year we have partnered with Dignity, our workplace giving partner, who use items donated by staff to create hampers to give to people at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. I encourage you all to make a donation to help spread the Christmas cheer to vulnerable people in our community. You can take your donations to Christmas trees located at Royal North Shore, Ryde, Hornsby, and Mona Vale hospitals, as well as at the NSLHD Executive Office on level 14 of the Kolling Building. It has been almost two years responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and it has been an incredibly challenging time for many of you, professionally and also personally, and it is so important to look after your own wellbeing. I encourage those of you who are able, to make arrangements to take some time off to refresh and spend time with family and friends. Finally, our Annual Public Meeting is coming up on Friday 26 November at 3:00pm. This year’s theme is planetary health and we will hear about the current and future initiatives across our district to allow us to care for the health of our planet and our community. The event will be live streamed and all are welcome to tune in through your computer or mobile via this link https://bit. ly/3CFdV5C.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



General Manager Simon Hill is joined by staff and Guardian Early Childhood Education Hornsby who delivered children’s art work

Children give thanks to our healthcare workers Children from a Hornsby childcare centre have

patients deteriorate or when they need to go to hospital. “It’s been great to have staff from BreastScreen NSW come on board while they haven’t been able to do their normal jobs.” When BreastScreen NSW services were paused in August and Joanne was no longer doing any screening, she wanted to do something to help with the COVID-19 response. “I got an email from the medical administration – they were looking for volunteers so I put my hand up to come and join the virtual hospital and I’m glad I did,” she said. “It has been very interesting and it’s nice to feel like I’ve made a contribution to the response.” Tamara mostly works in private practice in south west Sydney and at BreastScreen Northside, so when COVID-19 cases ramped up and surgery by Guardian Early Childhood Education Hornsby. The centre has been teaching children about COVID-19 and what hospital staff have been doing to protect the community. Hornsby Hospital’s Patient Representative Mikhaila O’Brien said the children made cards and art work

slowed, she took up the chance to work at the Virtual Hospital. “I thought it would be a good opportunity to do some general medicine again,” she said. “It’s a good working environment, very well run and setup, very efficient and pleasant people to work with.” Liz said it’s a real combined team in the Virtual Hospital. “We have radiologists, surgeons, medical students, general practitioner, emergency department staff, nurses and doctors, and the students are teaching us how to use the IT,” Liz said. “It was really busy during the last peak in cases, and we are now waiting to see what happens next with the easing of restrictions.” which will be placed on display around the hospital. “The pandemic has been a relatable experience even to very young children,” she said. “The teachers from the centre told us the children have been expressing how happy they are now that the shops are open.”

made cards and written letters of thanks to their local healthcare workers to show them how much they appreciate their efforts during the pandemic. Staff from Hornsby Ku-ring- gai Hospital collected the art work which was delivered

Staff step up to support COVID-19 patients in the community Their paths may have never crossed, but radiologist

Joanne Duncombe, general surgeon Dr Tamara Preda and emergency physician Dr Liz Swinburn (pictured on the front cover) have been working side by side at Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Virtual Hospital over the last three months treating those in the community who are COVID-19 positive. Liz is the medical co-director of the Virtual Hospital. She said when positive COVID-19 cases sky rocketed in the community in August more staff were required to help. “We went from 10 patients to suddenly 500 very rapidly and needed additional staff to care for those in the community who were positive,” she said. “The day-to-day involves ringing COVID-19 positive patients, checking on their welfare, detecting when



led lighting upgrade to deliver significant energy savings The replacement of 5000 old light fittings to new energy environmental footprint,” Cameron said.

established NSW Health Fund for Energy Efficiency projects which enables NSW Health entities to realise guaranteed savings from solar PV installations or lighting upgrades. Capital Works Project Director, Cameron Green said the main focus of the scope of work is to replace the old lighting technology at one of RNSH’s car parks, Mona Vale Hospital and Brookvale Community Health Centre’s car park.

efficient LED technology across Northern Sydney Local Health District will reduce energy consumption of the lights replaced by up to 80 per cent. The new lighting is being replaced across Royal North Shore Hospital, Mona Vale Hospital and Brookvale Community Health Centre and is estimated to save $325,700 and reduce carbon emissions by 2600 tonnes every year. The funding for the lighting replacement is being provided by the recently

“It also builds on the solar PV systems already installed across the district to drive down our overall energy consumption. “It is expected the funding grant will be repaid from the energy savings in less than a year and a half which is a fantastic result. “A huge thanks to the Ministry of Health’s sustainability team for establishing the fund and supporting us in getting this project up and running.”

“This initiative supports NSLHD’s commitment to planetary health and to reduce the district’s

Hornsby school student donates copies of first book When 10-year-old Ines Lai penned My Magic Mirror, she thought it would make a good addition to the Children’s Ward at Hornsby Hospital. The local student said she

hoped the book, which focusses on overcoming adversity, might help children who are patients and may be feeling down or daunted. “The reason I donated some copies to the Children’s Ward is because I believe that my book can resonate with people who have trouble doing something,” she said. “I hope my book will show them that anything is possible, and you’re not too young to have big dreams, because anything is possible as long as you believe in yourself.” The book follows Amber Orolla, who accidentally travels to a faraway land, in the year of 3000. Amber makes friends, has exciting journeys and gains her confidence during her adventures, and soon she

Author Ines Lai and Children’s Ward Nurse Unit Manager Louise Robinson

realizes that anything is possible.

something that everyone has had to deal with over the past year and a half with COVID,” she said. “Her attention to detail with her pictures was fantastic. A great effort overall and I think the children in the ward will love reading it. She should be very proud of her efforts.”

My Magic Mirror was warmly received by Children’s Ward Nurse Unit Manager Louise Robinson who said it was particularly relevant after the challenges of the pandemic. “We were very impressed with Ines’ book which was all about dealing with obstacles,



Ryde Hospital staff fill the machine with food waste

Food muncher at Ryde converts food waste to compost Ryde Hospital is playing its part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with its new food waste processor.

the initiative prevents over five tonnes of patient food waste being transported offsite into landfill. “In doing so, we are reducing net greenhouse gas emissions and saving money on waste disposal, which is redirected into patient care,” she said. “Our food services and engineering staff are thrilled to be part of this innovative method of managing waste, instigated by our Sustainable Future Committee and ceremony going ahead in the New Year. “With COVID-19 now a part of life, it is even more important that we recognise the extraordinary contribution of our staff who go above and beyond to provide the very best care to our patients,” she said. There are eight award categories this year, including a new addition: • Healthy Communities • Connected Person-Centre Care • Evidence Based Decision Making • Responsive and Adaptable Organisation • Engaged and Empowered Workforce • CORE Values

endorsed by the NSLHD Planetary Health Committee.”

Also fittingly known as the food muncher, the processor converts 100kg of food waste into 10kg of organic compost every week with the compost used to fertilise the hospital’s gardens. It heats and mixes the food waste to process it into compost in just a few days. Ryde Hospital General Manager Heather Gough said Health District staff, volunteers, consumer advocates, patients and consumers are being called onto nominate for this year’s Exceptional People Awards. The awards celebrate and formally recognise individual staff members, teams and volunteers who live the true meaning of the CORE values and behaviours charter, to make a difference for the benefit of their colleagues, patients and consumers. With COVID-19 restrictions across Sydney for most of 2021, this year’s ceremony has a new date in February 2022 to ensure a full house can be in attendance. Chief Executive Deb Willcox said she is excited to see the

The first compost batch produced by the machine

Nominations re-opened for 2021 Exceptional People Award Northern Sydney Local

• Leadership • Carer Engagement Individual winners, team winners and volunteer winners will be awarded, so if you know an exceptional person, team or volunteer, visit the Exceptional People Awards page to nominate them https://www.nslhd. health.nsw.gov.au/Careers/ awards/Pages/EPA2021.aspx Nominations can be submitted by NSLHD staff, volunteers and consumer advocates, and also by our patients and consumers. Nominations will close at 5pm on Friday 26 November. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, details will be provided about a formal celebration to announce the winners at a later date.



COMMUNITY COVID-19 YARN UP A local yarn up event has brought together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people from across northern Sydney to talk about health and social and emotional

wellbeing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Northern Sydney Local Health District Aboriginal Health Service supported the event which involved a morning tea and educational sessions with local leaders and health professionals. Deputy Director of Aboriginal Health Paul Weir said the event highlighted the importance of collaboration with the local health district, external organisations and community to improve the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. “The day was about coming which is why Northern Sydney Local Health District has again partnered with Dignity. As part of the Christmas with Dignity campaign, staff across all Northern Sydney hospitals are being encouraged to donate items to help spread cheer to vulnerable families in our community this festive season. Items that can be donated include: • Men’s, women’s and children’s new socks and undies. • Children’s new summer clothes and sleepwear in assorted sizes. • Men’s and women’s new summer clothes and sleepwear assorted sizes. • Non-perishable foods such as pasta, pasta sauce,

(Left to right): Donna Pettigrew (Sydney North Health Network), NSLHD Deputy Director of Aboriginal Health Paul Weir, Melanie Gould (Sydney North Health Network) and Kylie Watts (TAFE Northern Beaches)

together for morning tea and having a yarn with some local leaders and health professionals to make sure the mob can make informed decisions around their health and are able to protect themselves,” he said. “We also discussed living with COVID-19 in our community, how to stay safe, when you need to get tested, what

happens if you get COVID-19 and how to access your vaccine certificate.” Pfizer vaccinations were available on the day. The event was a collaboration between TAFE Brookvale, The Cottage Surgery, Sydney North Health Network and NSLHD.

Help others celebrate Christmas with Dignity For many, Christmas is a time for celebration – but after a tough year, there are some who need a helping hand, noodles, cereal, rice, spreads, Christmas cake, soft drink, long life milk, coffee, sugar and biscuits.

Dignity, which is also the district’s workplace giving partner, will use the items to create hampers which will be distributed to people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It is the second year the campaign has run, and Dignity Chief Executive Officer and Founder Susanne Hopkins was delighted to see it continue. “It is wonderful to have NSLHD partner with us again this year for our annual Christmas with Dignity campaign,” she said. “We were blown away by the generosity of the NSLHD team last year, which meant we were able to distribute over 200 Christmas hampers, bringing Christmas joy to people in the community who had had a very difficult year.

“We simply couldn’t have achieved this without your support.” Trees are located at Royal North Shore, Ryde, Hornsby, and Mona Vale hospitals, as well as at the Northern Sydney Executive Office on level 14 of the Kolling Building. Please ensure all donations are placed under the tree and are within their expiration dates. Collections close 26 November 2021. Hornsby Hospital General Manager Simon Hill with the Christmas with Dignity Christmas tree



Game-changing research partnership to ease musculoskeletal burden An important new partnership has been formed to

“We know that poor musculoskeletal health contributes to fall-related injuries and physical inactivity, increasing the burden of disease globally. “This exciting new partnership is set to transform our management of these conditions by supporting world-leading, multidisciplinary research, and rapidly translating the resulting knowledge into clinical practice and education. “Our goal is to improve health and wellbeing by undertaking high quality research that promotes the delivery of efficient, patient-centred, evidence-based care. “We’ll be looking to discover new ways to prevent, manage and cure these debilitating musculoskeletal conditions and injuries, and to promote healthy ageing and physical activity.” Professor Hunter said the breadth of expertise across the partnership will be a key factor in its success, along with a commitment

dramatically improve care for musculoskeletal conditions by speeding up the translation of research to clinical practice. NSLHD has joined with the University of Sydney and Sydney Local Health District to create Sydney Musculoskeletal Health which will link researchers from across the University with clinicians, consumers, policymakers and industry. Co-director and Kolling researcher Professor David Hunter said the partnership represents a key step towards better care. “Musculoskeletal conditions are a leading cause of disability, impacting approximately 1.7 billion people worldwide and around one-third of the Australian community,” he said. “Low back pain, osteoarthritis, some of the most common musculoskeletal disorders, compromising work and social opportunities. neck pain, rheumatoid arthritis and gout are

to investigate all the musculoskeletal conditions. “This will ensure that all research will be translated across all relevant applications, and the partnership between the university and the two health districts means the research can be put into practice sooner. “This is a key distinction which will see improvements in care, new treatments and a review of the efficacy of current treatments to ensure that clinical guidelines keep pace with research.”


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DIGNITY NSLHD's Workplace Giving charity partner, Dignity aims to empower people experiencing homelessness. Please join us this Christmas to bring cheer to vulnerable families in our community by donating to our hamper drive.

2021 CHRISTMAS HAMPER DRIVE The following items will make a significant difference this Christmas:

Men's, women's and children's socks and undies. Children's new summer clothes and sleepwear in assorted sizes. Men's and women's new summer clothes and sleepwear assorted sizes. Non-perishable foods such as pasta, pasta sauce, noodles, cereal, rice, spreads, Christmas cake, soft drink, long life milk, coffee, sugar and biscuits.

Please ensure all items are within use by/ best before date. Donations can be placed under the Christmas tree. Collections close Friday November 26 2021.

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