NSLHD News June 15

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


Main story Short blurb Graythwaite launches welcome video Ryde Hospital’s Graythwaite Rehabiliation Centre has officially launched its new welcome video for patients, their families and carers.

Read more on Page x Read more on Page 4

Ramsay grants awarded for 2021 Page 7

global knee transplant study to inform future care Page 5


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Winter has arrived, which means flu season is well and truly upon us. I would like to thank the more than 70 per cent of category A+ staff who have rolled up their sleeves to receive their annual influenza injection. Not only does this protect all of you, but protects our patients. Our staff health team have done an incredible job facilitating this immunisation program, especially at time when COVID-19 vaccination has needed our uttmost attention. On behalf of the district and our official fundraising partner the NORTH Foundation, I am also excited to launch a new grants program for staff working across our hospitals and services – the NSLHD and NORTH Foundation Grants Program. This is a new joint initiative designed to provide access to untied donations for philanthropic purposes. It gives us an opportunity to show our gratitude to the community for their support and demonstrate how impactful their donations are for supporting our healthcare services and medical research. Expressions of Interest will be open until midnight on the 18 July. Visit the NORTH Foundation website for more information and to apply. On Wednesday 9 June, we celebrated What Matters to You Day across our hospitals and services, an opportunity to listen and understand what matters to patients, consumers, carers and families within the larger context of their own lives. It is an opportunity to hear about the things that would improve their experience and outcomes, for example asking what would make their visit to hospital easier, what is their top concern today, and what does a good day look like. We are always looking

to improve the patient experience, and days like these tell us how we can do that. We also are currently undertaking the very important Patient Safety Culture Survey – with your feedback helping to keep our patients safe, while also improving the experience of our staff. Teams with 100 per cent or very high completion rates will be entered into a draw for the chance to win one of 11 $1000 cash prizes. The prize can be used by your team to purchase something that will benefit each of you. Thank you to the 25 per cent of you who have completed the survey so far. To ensure everyone gets a chance to share their views, we have extended the end date until 22 June. If you have not already, please click here to complete the survey as soon as possible. Finally, this month we bid farewell to NSLHD Deputy Board Chair Adjunct Associate Professor Annette Schmiede. Annette joined the board when it was first established in 2011 and has reached the statutory maximum 10 years of service. Annette has seen and contributed to an enormous amount of change. She has been much more than a board member, she has been an advocate and provided counsel to myself and members of the executive. Annette’s true love of the health system and the needs of our patients pervaded all she has done for us.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Farewell to longest serving NLSHD Board member This month we farewell our longest serving NSLHD

Board member Karen Filocamo, with Board Chair Trevor Danos AM, new Deputy Chair Mary Chiarella and outgoing Deputy Chair Adjunct Associate Professor Annette Schmiede

Foundation Grants Program. This is a new joint initiative designed to provide access to untied donations for philanthropic purposes. It provides an opportunity for all staff to apply for additional funding to support innovative and impactful initiatives. Each year $250,000 will be awarded across a wide range of projects, focusing on patient services innovation board member Assoc Prof Annette Schmiede when she completes the statutory maximum of 10 years of board service. Annette finishes up in her role but is not retiring from board life altogether; she will take up the role of Chair of Research Australia. For much of the 10 years at NSLHD, Annette has served as chair of board’s Finance, Risk and Performance Committee and has overseen all aspects of the complex funding of the district’s health services. Since 2017, Annette has also served with distinction as deputy chair of the board. Throughout her term, Annette has been particularly involved in the identification and onboarding of each new generation of district leaders. NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos AM said as a long- term north shore resident, Annette had strong ties to the community and saw the board role as an ideal way to share her extensive experience and expertise. “She has been a much- valued board member and

wellbeing programs, digital health, staff wellbeing and cancer research. The two-stage application process is quick and easy for staff to complete. Once you have submitted an expression of interest, a shortlist of candidates will be selected applications will be reviewed and awarded by the Funding Advisory Committee and the NORTH Foundation, who will engage specialist expertise and invited to submit a formal application. The colleague, always available to support the executive team and share knowledge and experience from her distinguished career across all parts of the Australian health sector,” Trevor said. “A huge thank you to Annette for everything that you have done to help make the district the wonderful place that it is today.” Annette said she was motivated to apply for the board role 11 years ago because of the national and state health reform initiatives that were then under way. She has had a long interest in health reform with a unique career starting in health services research at the University of NSW (UNSW). Annette moved into the health policy world as an

where required. NORTH Foundation CEO Gil Lorquet said: “We want to ensure staff have access to untied funding. “Our focus is on supporting initiatives that demonstrate a tangible and meaningful impact on the experience of patients and our community.” Expressions of Interest will be open until 18 July. Visit the NORTH Foundation website to apply https:// northfoundation.org.au/ grants-program/ advisor to the 1981 Royal Commission into Australia’s Hospitals, and this began a lifelong interest in health reform. “I have been privileged to have worked with many inspiring and amazing colleagues over the years who have contributed to making Australia’s health sector and medical research sector world leading,” Annette said. “ [I have] particularly enjoyed the collegiality around the board table … and will particularly miss the board breakfasts that have enabled me to meet staff from across the district.” Replacing Annette as deputy chair of the NSLHD board is Mary Chiarella.

NSLHD and NORTH Foundation Grants Program now open Applications are now open for the first round of the NSLHD and NORTH and improvements, research innovation, community



WELCOME VIDEO LAUNCHES AT GRAYTHWAITE Ryde Hospital’s Graythwaite Rehabiliation Centre has officially launched its new welcome video for patients, their families and carers.

their families and carers on admission to the centre on an iPad, and is available in six languages based on the demographics of past patients and the local area, being English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Korean and Armenian. Ryde Hospital General Manager Heather Gough congratulated the team on making the video as well as those who participated. “They have been able to put together a fantastic video with translations that cater for a number of culturally and linguistic diverse backgrounds,” she said. “It really is a fabulous opportunity for patients and their families and carers to see what Graythwaite is about.” The video was launched earlier this month with great excitement to see familiar surrounds and faces onscreen, and to cut and enjoy the celebratory cake.

The welcome video was one of the four solutions from the Improving Graythwaite Outcomes project in 2020 and was funded via a successful pitch to the NSLHD Innovation Program. The video features Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre staff and patients. Physiotherapy Rehabilitation Team Leader Julia Scott, who was heavily involved in the project, said the video is a quick and easy way to welcome patients to the centre. “It is designed to make them feel prepared and confident to transition to the centre, as well as understand the rehabilitation process,” she said. The video will be shown to all patients,

Ryde staff at the launch of the new video

Help is just a phone call away A new telephone concierge service has been launched to help health and social care workers easily find services for their frail and older patients. Health Navigators is staffed by local nurses with knowledge of the northern Sydney health system who will navigate the health and community services for you – removing the need for you to do the searching and instead spend that valuable time caring for patients. Designed with the Northern Sydney Primary Health Network (PHN), the collaborative initiative will also help GPs and is open to any medical professional within Northern Sydney Local Health District. NSLHD Program Manager for Commissioning and Collaboration James Inglis said: “Health

Navigators can help staff whenever they care looking for a service for an elderly patient in northern Sydney, including during discharge planning or the ongoing care of a patient in the community. “For example, Health Navigators can help with identifying whether a service caters to a patient’s unique needs; advice on a service referral criteria or whether there’s capacity to take on new patients.” The free service will operate Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm. Phone 1800 271 212. If you’re unable to get through to them, leave a message and they will call you back. Alternatively, a written request can be made via an online form available here: https:// sydneynorthhealthnetwork.org.au/programs/ northern-sydney-health-navigators/



Professor Manuela Ferreira

International knee transplant study to inform future care New Federal Government funding will see researchers from the Kolling Institute and the University of Sydney drive an international study to determine the best treatment for those with knee cartilage damage. can lead to symptoms such as pain, stiffness and locking of the knee which can be debilitating.

“The current treatments are determined by the extent of the damage. A small tear to the meniscus can be repaired with surgery, but generally the damage requires partial or total removal of the meniscus with a meniscectomy. “These treatments are often effective at relieving the symptoms of meniscal damage, but they leave the patient with a meniscal deficiency which will often lead to further knee damage, such as osteoarthritis.” There is increasing evidence demonstrating the effectiveness of meniscus transplant surgery, known as a meniscal allograft transplant, where a donor meniscus is inserted into the knee to reduce pain and improve function. The technique is currently being performed at some centres in Australia and the UK, yet there are few randomised trials or large scale studies supporting the use of the procedure. “Our study will comprehensively examine the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the technique, providing robust data to inform clinical practice and establish the best treatment strategy,” she said. More than 140 participants will be involved across the two sites in Australia and the UK.

More than $1 million has been awarded through a collaborative research grant scheme involving Australia’s National Health and Medical Research Council and the National Institute for Health Research in the United Kingdom. Professor Manuela Ferreira welcomed the announcement, saying the project will compare the outcomes of two approaches to rehabilitation and pain relief for people who have had their meniscus cartilage removed from their knee. The five-year study will determine the clinical and cost effectives of meniscus transplant surgery compared with non-surgical treatment of exercise and physiotherapy. Manuela said there is a significant need for this research with meniscal damage one of the most common knee injuries, affecting a large share of the community. “Degenerative meniscal damage is more common in the older population while acute traumatic tears predominantly occur in the younger population due to sporting injuries,” she said. “Regardless of how the damage is caused, it

NEW IMAGING SYSTEM RIS-PACS GOES LIVE AT ROYAL NORTH SHORE The RIS-PACS go-live team has been thanked for their hard work, with the final site of the rollout going live this week. The team was thanked for their expertise and patience as staff began to use the new system in medical imaging.



NICU NUM Alexis Fox and Kimberly MacDonald


support from her team. “I set a challenge to donate 100 boxes of muesli bars to the NICU for parents of sick babies,” Kimberly said. “The team rose to the challenge and donations flowed in.” Kimberly recently handed over the donation to NICU Nurse Unit Manager Alexis Fox. to build core capabilities in staff who are working with consumers who are experiencing mental health challenges across the district, “MHPiP has been purpose- designed for mental health nurses and allied health staff working in mental health,” Michael said. “Clinicians will have the opportunity to apply and consolidate the online learning in the workplace through facilitated team learning. primarily focused in the mental health services. “The program supports and encourages a culture which

Alexis said the team was incredibly grateful for the donation. “We are so touched by the kindness and generosity of support shown by the team,” she said. “While it’s a small touch, a donation like this goes a long way for parents who spend long periods with their babies in the NICU.”

team are not only working hard at their day job, but are also going above and beyond to donate to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). After Kimberly MacDonald, one of the administration officers in the response team, got talking with staff from the NICU about dwindling food stocks for parents, she rallied professional development program, known as Mental Health Pathways in Practice (MHPiP), will be taking place over the next few months at Northern Sydney Local Health District. An orientation and the first pathway, out of four, are now available on My Health Learning. The four pathways consist of eight to 10 learning modules which can be undertaken flexibly by staff members in accordance


values the exploration of individual and team learning to achieve higher standards in clinical practice.”

MHPiP is designed to integrate with existing workforce and education

systems allowing clinicians to enhance their clinical practice and deliver high-quality, safe and compassionate care, leading to improved consumer and carer outcomes while also enhancing personal and professional satisfaction. For more information you can contact Michael by email Michael.oconnor@health.nsw. gov.au, visit the HETi website or NSW Health website.

with their professional development needs.

NSLHD MHPiP Coordinator Michael O’Connor said the NSW Health program aims



This year’s cohort of Ramsay Research and Teaching Fund grant recipients

New funding boosts research impact across RNSH campus More than a dozen research projects will be launched at RNSH following significant support from the Ramsay Research and Teaching Fund Scheme. health outcomes,” she said. One clinician to receive funding is speech pathologist Dijana Dragicevich whose project will investigate oral “In this study, we will investigate whether a new technique will reliably identify thyroid cancer mutation biomarkers in blood samples,” she said.

sensation and tongue strength in people who have dysphagia (swallowing disorders) following a stroke. Dijana said receiving this grant is a life-changing event, as access to grants is very limited. “I am passionate about this research. It will have an impact on the way we treat patients with dysphagia, and will lead to better diagnosis and management of dysphagia and better outcomes.” Dr Matti Gild will lead another project assessing tumour DNA to determine targeted therapies for thyroid cancer.

More than $800,000 will be directed to a total of 17 projects in what is the largest ever Ramsey research grants round. The projects will investigate disease and mental health to spinal cord injuries, pain management and cancer. NSLHD Medical Executive Director Tamsin Waterhouse presented the awards, saying a broad range of health challenges from heart the district is pleased to partner with Ramsay to deliver this wonderful support for research. “The scheme has provided more than $10 million over the last 18 years, greatly assisting research activity, and ultimately patient care and

“Once established, this simple and cost-effective approach will be used to determine prognosis and the response to specific therapies.” Department of Psychiatry Head Professor Gin Malhi will drive a project to help predict early adult mood disorders by assessing adolescent neuroimaging data. “This project is vital to understanding the emergence of mood disorders and identifying new treatment targets. It’ll also be an important step towards future research,” he said.

Dijana Dragicevich

Dr Matti Gild, A/Prof Sarah Glastras and Dr Natassia Rodrigo

Dr Zola Mannie, Prof Gin Malhi and Erica Bell



When and Where Now until 31 st Aug 2021

Car parking Free parking on site. (via Cox ’ s Rd). Interpreter sessions are also available. Please call 13 20 50. Book today!

1/120 Cox ’ s Road (Corner of Badajoz Rd & Cox ’ s Rd), NORTH RYDE

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