NSLHD News October 7 2022

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


Main story RNSH Emergency department named a finalist for prestigious premier’s award The team were named a finalist for their domestic and family violence routine screening program. Page 3 Short blurb Read more on Page x




Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM FTSE

It was wonderful to see former Chief Executive Deb Willcox’s incredible contribution and leadership of NSLHD recognised recently in the NSW Parliament by Member for Pittwater, Minister Rob Stokes. The Minister paid tribute to Deb’s incredible stewardship and her calm professionalism, compassion and expertise. This is such well- deserved recognition. We wish Deb all the very best in her new position as Deputy Secretary, Health System Strategy and Planning at the NSW Ministry of Health. I would like to thank the NSLHD Executive Team, under the leadership of Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory, for continuing the great work that has already been achieved and for progressing the NSLHD Board priorities. I very much enjoyed attending the recent NSLHD Consumer Forum which was a wonderful opportunity for our much-valued consumers to participate in discussions and propose ideas for key priorities for consumer engagement in the future. It was a fantastic event and I much enjoyed being part of the forum. Hearing the voices of our consumers, understanding their needs and factoring them into our strategic thinking is critical. I thank our consumer advisors for all their efforts to ensuring what we do aligns with consumer expectations and that our patients and the patient’s voice remains at the very centre of all that we do. The Board and I are very much looking forward to attending the upcoming joint NSLHD and Sydney North Health Network Board meeting. This is a very important and constructive meeting and provides a great opportunity for us to meet with our partners in primary care to discuss joint initiatives.

I was really pleased to see so many district staff responding to the recent annual Public Service Commission People Matter Employee Survey (PMES). There was a fantastic response rate this year with an overall 10 per cent increase in participation from 31 per cent last year to 41 per cent this year from staff across NSLHD, with Ryde Hospital seeing a 22 per cent increase in participation. This is so very important, by completing the survey, staff can help the district respond to the issues that matter to them and ensure initiatives are implemented to improve the workplace. Finally, I was so delighted to hear Professor Sue Kurrle, the district’s Aged Care and Rehabilitation Network Clinical Director, had won the very prestigious 2022 Sidney Sax Medal. This top honour is given by the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association to individuals who have contributed outstandingly to the nation’s healthcare system. NSLHD is so very fortunate to have someone of Sue’s calibre working in the district and to see her work recognised in the areas of dementia, frailty, elder abuse, successful ageing, and intergenerational care is just fantastic. I am sure many of you have enjoyed watching Sue as the expert geriatrician leading the work on the internationally award-winning ABC TV documentary series ‘Old People’s Home for 4 Year Olds’ and most recently ‘Old People’s Home for Teenagers’. It is so wonderful to see Sue’s contribution recognised with this award. Trevor Danos AM FTSE Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



Royal North Shore Hospital emergency department staff involved in the domestic and family violence routine screening program

TOP ACCOLADE FOR RNSH EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT Royal North Shore Hospital’s emergency department is in the running for top

the impact of domestic and family violence within the community and improve women and children’s access to safety,” Lesley said. “It has been a great experience to work with the team of nurses, doctors, executive team, social workers, prevention and response to violence abuse and neglect service (PARVAN), and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service to respond to our patients’ experience of domestic violence.” Lesley said the team were honoured to be a finalist for the award. “We have demonstrated that with multi- agency collaboration, innovation, leadership, and dedication we could achieve the highest international screening rates across emergency departments,” Lesley said. “The project has scope to be implemented in all emergency departments throughout NSW.” Selection as a finalist in the NSW Premier’s Awards is a highly regarded and recognised title demonstrating the highest levels of achievement in the NSW public sector. The awards ceremony is being held on Tuesday 20 November and can be watched on the Premier’s Awards website: https://bit. ly/3SVN9xU. The application process is quick and easy for staff to complete and is done through an online form. Applications will be reviewed by the NORTH Foundation and the funding advisory committee, with grants awarded to the strongest submissions. Applications close on Friday 22 October at 11.59pm. To apply, visit www.northfoundation.org.au/ grants-program

honours at the NSW Premier’s Awards for their domestic and family violence routine screening program. The team has been nominated as a finalist in the Securing Justice and Opportunity for Vulnerable People category for the pilot screening program which uses a multidisciplinary approach to identify women at risk of domestic and family violence and provide psychosocial support. Specialist registered nurses screen all women over 16 years who present to the ED, with those identified as at risk of harm provided with appropriate referral and management strategies. A total of 16,380 women were screened in the past 12 months, with more than 400 identified as at risk of harm and provided access to immediate support. RNSH ED Clinical Nurse Consultant Lesley Fitzpatrick said staff undertook the pilot project to improve identification of women at risk of domestic and family violence to provide access to immediate, ongoing psychosocial response, and support services for victim-survivors. “The ED team has come together to embrace this project during a pandemic, and it has been remarkable to see results that reduce

round 3 of North Foundation grants program opens Innovative research projects are the focus for round three of the NSLHD and NORTH Foundation Grants Program – a funding opportunity exclusively for NSLHD staff. The grants program supports innovative projects which provide tangible benefits for staff, patients, and the broader community.

NSLHD staff are encouraged to apply if their proposed project fits either a clinical and laboratory need; is a research enabler (data/analysis) or early career researchers/ fellowships.



Consumers came together for the 2022 Consumer Forum

NSLHD COnsumer forum returns NSLHD Consumers Advisers were finally able to come together to hold the district’s

NSLHD Acting Chief Executive Lee Gregory said celebrating the week is important to highlight the importance of NSLHD engaging with carers and recognising the varied demands they manage. “Coming to hospital can be a very daunting experience for patients and their carer,” he said. understanding of the person they care for. Including carers in the patient journey is key to delivering good, patient- centred care.” To find out more about Carers Week and ways to support carers, visit www. nscarersupport.com.au. “We should never underestimate the contribution of a carer’s knowledge and “I would like to acknowledge the contribution of Karen Filocamo, Chair of the NSLHD Consumer Board Committee, and the consumer advisors, for all their efforts to ensuring what we do aligns with consumer expectations and that patients and the patient’s voice remains at the very centre of all that we do,” he said. “A big thank you to Thelma De Lisser-Howarth and Kate Bokenham from the NSLHD Clinical Governance Unit for organising the Consumer Forum. I very much look forward to this retuning as an annual NSLHD event.”

said. “Carers providing care at home have particular knowledge about the person they care for and it’s invaluable information that can help our staff with treatment of the patient. “It’s imperative that carers are included in the patient’s care journey so we can get the best possible health outcomes for them and their loved ones.” Balancing care and working puts extra demands on a carer’s time and energy. A supportive work environment can make it easier for a working carer to manage the situation. NSW Health seeks to provide flexible working arrangements and dedicated carers leave to support carers in their unpaid role. presentations during the day on Virtual Health and Health Literacy, Patient Experience and Elevating the Human Experience, Consumer Perspectives, Engaging Consumers in Research Initiatives and Partnering with Consumers. A number of facilitated group discussions were also held with the consumer advisors that will help to discover themes that can be developed into actions. Speaking at the forum Board Chair Trevor Danos AM said hearing the voices of consumers, understanding their needs and factoring them into strategic thinking is absolutely critical.

16 - 22 October to raise awareness, recognise and acknowledge the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend. There are over 130,000 carers within NSLHD alone and the majority are working carers, balancing commitments of both care provision and employment. NSLHD Carer Support Service Manager Barbara Lewis said the week is a great reminder to encourage health staff to continue engaging with carers to provide positive experiences. “It’s important we encourage staff to fulfil their responsibility in identifying and engaging with carers as our partners in care,” she 2022 Consumer Forum - an event which had been postponed for almost three years due to the restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the peak of the pandemic behind us, the highly-successful event provided an opportunity for consumers across NSLHD to reflect on achievements over the last few years, participate in discussions and propose ideas for key priorities for consumer engagement for the future. Consumers were provided with a number of

NSLHD gears up to celebrate Carers Week NSLHD will be celebrating National Carers Week from



parents thank RNSH NICU with donated artwork Sydney based artist Jennifer Lia has recently donated a piece of artwork to the RNSH neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

Health District Aged Care and Rehabilitation Network Clinical Director Professor Sue Kurrle’s huge devotion to improving older peoples’ lives has been recognised with one of Australian healthcare’s top honours. Sue has received the 2022 Sidney Sax Medal, which is given to individuals who have contributed outstandingly to the nation’s healthcare system, from the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association. A practising geriatrician at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, Sue has undertaken extensive research for more than 30 years into areas including successful ageing, dementia and frailty and improving care for older people in residential care. “I am pinching myself,” Sue said. “It’s very satisfying to do something you really enjoy while trying to make a difference to an area you care passionately about. The artwork, titled ‘Little Miracles’, is dedicated to Jennifer and her husband Hayden’s two children, James and Matilda, who both received care at the RNSH NICU. The piece beautifully depicts Sydney Harbour across three canvases and even has a special touch from James and Matilda, with both of their handprints featuring on the first canvas. Creating the piece had Jennifer reflecting on her personal experience in the NICU and she was hoping to capture these emotions in the piece to provide comfort

Jennifer and Hayden with their children James and Matilda

“It’s such an interesting area of work and it is terrific when you are able to help instigate policy change. “I could not have received this award without the great support of the teams and people I have worked alongside over the years. It is fantastic news and I am hugely delighted.” The annual Medal was created in honour of geriatrician, writer and researcher Sidney Sax, who played a leading role in transforming Australian healthcare over several decades. Sue also holds the Curran Chair in Health Care of Older People in the Faculty of Medicine and Health at the University of Sydney, where she previously led the National Health and Medical Research Cognitive Decline to other families. “It symbolises a great journey, sometimes tumultuous but ultimately full of hope, love and connection,” she said. “The NICU journey is such an unexpected path and I wanted to instil a feeling of comfort, family and home in it.” Jennifer said she donated

Home for 4 Year Olds and Old People’s Home for Teenagers. “The message I want to promote further is that good brain health and good body health are linked with exercise as the common factor,” she said. “This is my goal for the next few years. “We have to continue working towards getting older ‘successfully’ and improving services so that we can all benefit from them. “Receiving this award is a huge honour and I am very grateful.” the piece to thank the RNSH NICU staff for the work they do and the support they provide. “I wanted the opportunity to thank the incredible doctors, nurses and staff for all the amazing work they do - truly miracle work,” she said. “This was my own way to give back and show our deep appreciation and gratitude.”


Partnership Centre. She has written and

contributed to hundreds of research papers and more recently contributed to the ABC shows Old People’s

Professor Sue Kurrle



Kolling researcher recognised with prestigious award Professor Chris Little who has received a highly coveted award for his outstanding commitment to orthopaedic research. Professor Little has Research Society. “ICORS member organisations are represented across the world. They have a crucial role

dedication to orthopaedic and musculoskeletal research. Chris has a clinical and research career spanning more than three decades. He is the Director of the Raymond Purves Bone and Joint Research Lab at the Kolling Institute and a member of the Charles Perkins Centre. Chris is a qualified veterinarian with specialist surgery training. His research focuses on defining the biochemical and molecular mechanisms of joint pathology in osteoarthritis, as well as tendon and intervertebral disc degeneration.

advancing orthopaedic and musculoskeletal research by promoting basic, translational, and clinical research worldwide. “This is an important part of progressing valuable research across the globe and improving long-term health outcomes.” Chris was presented with the award by ICORS president Gun-Il Im and FIOR Chair Brian Johnstone, who thanked him for his outstanding leadership and

been elected a Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research at a key international conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. The award is only presented every three years, with around 20 people across the globe receiving the accolade. Fellows are recognised for their leadership, service, achievement and dedication to the field oforthopaedic research. Chris has welcomed the recognition, while acknowledging the support he’s received. “I am very proud to have been made a Fellow of International Orthopaedic Research,” he said. “While I have received the award, it’s actually a reflection of the wonderful work that has been done by all the researchers in my group over the years. “It is an honour to be nominated by one of the International Combined Orthopaedic Research Societies (ICORS) – and in my case, the US Orthopaedic

Professor Chris Little received top gong for outstanding commitment to orthopaedic research

Key role appointed on journey to net zero emissions by 2035 Nicola Groskops was recently appointed as NSLHD’s

such an integral role and working with a team of colleagues who share like- minded goals and aspirations for planetary health. “I feel privileged and excited to be taking on this new role,” she said. “It is fantastic to be working under Paul Klarenaar, Director Population and Planetary Health, and to be guided by Dr Kate Charlesworth, Medical Consultant Planetary Health, who is an inspiring leader in sustainability and planetary health for NSLHD and NSW

Health more broadly.” Speaking on some of the focus areas in the short term, Nicola said the district is focusing on the development of a baseline carbon footprint as well as commencing the NSLHD Net Zero Leads Program. “The development of a baseline carbon footprint for the district will allow us to better understand our carbon emissions across all hospitals and services, and monitor reductions over time,” she said.

inaugural Planetary Health Manager to help lead the district towards net zero emissions by 2035. The role involves the delivery and evaluation of the current NSLHD Planetary Health Framework 2021-2023 with the guidance of the NSLHD Planetary Health Committee, and working alongside the NSW Ministry of Health to achieve the 2035 target. Nicola said she feels privileged to be taking on




emissions, Nicola said inroads can be made by simply having a conversation about some of the changes or improvements they would like to see with their teams or managers. “I encourage staff to work together on quality improvement and innovation initiatives they can champion in their service or department that reduce carbon emissions and help achieve our net zero target,” she said. For more information on NSLHD’s Planetary Health efforts, visit: www.nslhd. health.nsw.gov.au/AboutUs/ Pages/planetaryhealth.aspx sessions at Ryde Hospital, has helped David resume hobbies including long walking and cycling. “The empathy and care of the whole team at RNSH Hospital helped me so much on my journey,” David said. “It was inspirational in my determination to prepare so well, both pre-operation and In 2021 David was referred by his GP to the Royal North Shore Hospital Neurosurgery Clinic. As part of the Spinal Pain Pathway Triage Service, he received a comprehensive assessment by a physiotherapist and his condition was identified as hip osteoarthritis. He then underwent a seven- month treatment program incorporating aquatic physiotherapy and exercises with NSLHD’s Osteoarthritis Chronic Care Program. In February he received same-day hip replacement, performed by RNSH surgeon Dr Andrew Ellis. RNSH is believed to be one of the few hospitals in Australia to offer same-day treatment in this area, which enabled David to return home within a few hours of surgery. A further six-month physiotherapy program post- surgery, including further aquatic physiotherapy

then through recovery. “Perhaps same day surgery would not suit all but I highly recommend it for those who are suitable. To return home in your own surroundings helps you recover quicker, I believe. “It’s so important to follow guidance and equally to put the effort in.” RNSH Outpatient Department and Hydrotherapy Senior Physiotherapist Katrina Ferguson said good communication between all the teams and practitioners had also been key to David’s positive outcome. “It’s a great example of how we can work together well as a team,” she said. “It’s incredibly rewarding being part of a patient’s successful journey like this and seeing the impact on lives.”

“Our soon-to-be-appointed net zero leads from medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and allied health disciplines, will lead teams of interested staff and students in their service or specialty and conduct action research projects to re-think and re-imagine their service with a net zero lens. “Research shows that more than half of healthcare’s carbon footprint is from clinical care, and so it is critical that our staff are engaged in the development of high quality, low carbon models of care.” For staff wanting to get involved in efforts to reduce “Supermarket staff had to bring out a chair for me as I couldn’t walk,” he said. “I had run marathons - now I was struggling to cross the road. “I couldn’t sleep because of the pain – it was terrible.” combining cutting-edge same day surgery, clinical collaboration and his own sheer determination is helping Northern Sydney Local Health District hip replacement patient David Moore on the path to a remarkable recovery. The former marathon runner, State League soccer referee and all-round keen sportsman had endured more than a decade of debilitating back pain, with a succession of treatments and diagnoses unable to solve the problem. After eventually being diagnosed with hip program provided by NSLHD incorporating same-day joint hip replacement, both pre and post-operation hydrotherapy and other physiotherapy is helping him return to peak fitness. David’s pain, which started in 2008 and was unsuccessfully diagnosed by a succession of doctors and specialists as a spinal issue, left him struggling for basic mobility. osteoarthritis, a multi- disciplinary treatment

NSLHD hip replacement patient David Moore

NSLHD Planetary Health Manager Nicola Groskops



Are you an NSLHD

staff member with an

idea for an innovative

research project?

Round 3 of the NSLHD and NORTH

Foundation Grants Program will be open


Monday 3 October to Friday 21 October.

Foundation Grants Program

This is a funding opportunity exclusively

for NSLHD staff. Round 3 is focused on


supporting innovative research projects.

Applications open:

Grant funding can be used to seed fund

projects or kick-start innovative ideas.

Monday 3 October to

Friday 21 October

Projects you can apply for funding


Clinical and laboratory needs

Research enablers (e.g. data/analysts)

All NSLHD staff are eligible to apply

Early career researchers/fellowships






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