NSLHD News 8 December 2023


Main story Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital turns 90 Staff and patients came together to pay tribute to the community who helped build the original hospital. Page 3 Short blurb Read more on Page x

Muru Dali Gili Gili Employee Network Day Page 5

RNSH medical oncologist named NSW Australian of the Year Page 7


Message from the chief executive

Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM

RNSH’s Parkinson’s Inpatient Experience (PIE) Project team took out the the Healthcare Measurement category award. RNSH’s Spinal Plastic Service was highly commended in the same category. I would also like to congratulate our CALD team, which won an NSW Multicultural Communication award for their work with helping CALD head and neck and gastrointestinal cancer patients by producing a cookery book and other resources. I had the pleasure of attending Hornsby’s 90th anniversary celebrations with staff, some who were born in the hospital and have gone on to see generations of families work there. It was a wonderful event where you could feel the community spirit. Hornsby is such a special place, thanks to its people and has a culture that can’t be matched. The 16 Days of Activism against Gender- Based Violence, a global campaign led by United Nations Women, began on November 25. NSLHD’s Prevention and Response to Violence, Abuse and Neglect (PARVAN) Service have been hosting a series of webinars and on-site information stalls for staff to attend. We recognise that supporting women and their children who have experienced violence makes a significant difference to their health outcomes. As we reach the end of the year, I want to express my gratitude once again for the dedication and hard work demonstrated by all of you. The achievements and milestones we’ve celebrated together reflect the spirit of collaboration and compassion that defines us. Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District

I want to express my sincere appreciation for everybody’s hard work as we approach the Christmas and New Year break. It’s heartening to witness the festive spirit in action with staff having end-of-year BBQs and celebrations. I look forward to seeing these well-deserved festivities continue over the next few weeks. At this season of giving, I want to extend a heartfelt thank you to philanthropists Kay Van Norton Poche AO and Gregory Poche AO for their transformative $20 million donation to the NORTH Foundation, the official fundraising partner of NSLHD. This incredibly generous gift will establish a world-leading cancer clinical trials, research, and development centre at Royal North Shore Hospital and North Shore Private Hospital in Sydney, in collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City. Kay and Greg’s generosity will bring hope to millions of cancer patients through increased opportunities for clinical trials. On another positive note, staff across the district have been winning an array of awards. RNSH medical oncologist Professor Georgina Long AO was recently named as a joint NSW Australian of the Year. Georgina received the honour alongside her close friend and colleague Professor Richard Scolyer AO from NSW Health Pathology and Sydney Local Health district for their work in melanoma research. The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards recently held the national Quality Improvement Awards and Northern Sydney Local Health District teams impressively won two awards and had one highly commended. The NSLHD Executive Operations team won a Non-clinical Service Delivery Award while



NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos AM, NSLHD Deputy Board Chair Professor Emerita Mary Chiarella AM, Hornsby Hospital General Manager Simon Hill and NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri AM unveil the time capsule.

Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital turns 90 Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital has celebrated its 90th anniversary with staff and patients

support for development and growth – both professionally and personally.” The hospital was founded after a generous donation by a community member who provided a parcel of land. Since 1912, the community had wished to build a public hospital however, they struggled to get funding. Finally, in 1923, a hospital committee was formed and discussions about the new hospital began. The original plan was to build the hospital at Hornsby Heights, but after consideration of the land, planners sought for a larger location. Local councillor, Thomas E. Rofe made a generous gift-in-kind donation of land located on Palmerston Road in Hornsby, where the hospital remains to this day. The hospital first opened to the public on August 26, 1933 and since then has undergone many redevelopments.

coming together to pay tribute to the community who helped build the original hospital. Staff celebrated the history of the hospital, that was built back in 1923, with an archive photo display which is on exhibition in the hospital for all visitors and patients to see. Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital General Manager Simon Hill said the hospital was a special place because of its people. “You have generations of families who work here, who have been born here and who live in the community, creating a culture that can’t be matched,” Mr Hill said. “This is a true community hospital, with the community playing such an important part in its foundations right through to today.” Three generations of the Campton family have worked at the hospital

over the decades, starting from head gardener, Don Campton (pictured on front cover), who tended to the prized rose bushes between 1978 to 1992. His daughter Di began working at the hospital in 1979 and after a brief period returned back in 1997 and is still at the hospital. She is joined by her daughter Rhi Campton who works in patient services. “I have an overwhelming sense of pride working at Hornsby Hospital,” Rhi said. “There is such a great sense of community, collaboration and

A range of the hopspital’s hisotrical items were on display for the celebrations.



Seeing beyond limits International Day of People with Disability was recently celebrated across the district and the theme was ‘United in action to rescue and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for, with and by persons with disabilities.’ The important day aims to promote community awareness, understanding and acceptance of people with disability. RNSH occupational therapist Elise Kerle is an advocate for recognition, which is exactly what the day is all about. Elise was born with a vision impairment that has given her a unique perspective in her role as an occupational therapist. “I often work with patients who have just acquired their disability, so I have to remind myself that this isn’t something they’ve had since birth like me, and they’ll need time to adjust,” said Elise. “I’m able to share what I know about processes and services available, which

someone who doesn’t have a lived experience might not be aware of.” “It’s about saying ‘hey, we see you, and we know the world isn’t always built for you’ and acknowledging us as people and the value we bring to society,” said Elise. “I encourage workplaces in all industries to take part in this awareness day because being seen is a powerful thing.” Elise’s manager helped her to obtain a 27-inch monitor, a laptop with built-in magnification software, a large print keyboard, and handheld magnification devices. Workplace adjustments like these, and many more, can be accessed by contacting your people and culture team or visiting the Public Service Commission website. The support Elise has received has allowed her to help more people in need. “I have been able to help people return home happily and safely, which is what I love the most about my job,” said Elise.

RNSH occupational therapist Elise Kerle



Members of the NSLHD Board were on hand to unveil a woven artwork as part of the day’s celebration.

Muru Dali Gili Gili Employee Network Day The NSLHD Muru Dali Gili Gili (MDGG) Employee Network Day was recently held at Royal North Shore Hospital.

employment for our people.” NSLHD Community Inclusion and Capacity Building Project Manager Adam Cryer said the day provided an opportunity of growth to the network. “The more we support the network to grow and support our workforce, the more mob faces we have, the more mob lives we save,” he said.

The event, which is held biannually and has been running since 2019, brings together Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and allies from across the district to celebrate and undertake deeper cultural understandings over the course of a day. As part of the day, attendees were welcomed by a smoking ceremony followed by an unveiling of a woven artwork by Tegan Murdock from Ngumpie Weaving in collaboration with the MDGG Employee Network. Attendees also took part in cultural workshops which included an ‘On Country’ tour to Berry Island Reserve shown through the lens of the traditional custodians, the Cammeraygal people of the Dharug nation. NSLHD Director of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Service and Workforce Peter Shine said the day provided a valuable opportunity for network members and attendees to better understand the importance of culture within the workplace. “The day provided an opportunity for staff and members of the board in attendance to better understand our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff,” he said. “It also provided the foundations for a road map that will grow and develop culturally acceptable conditions for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and future

The day began with a smoking ceremony.



The group at the 2023 Allied Health Symposium

Helping mothers navigate the postnatal journey A group of women’s health physiotherapists from RNSH has come together to develop a valuable resource that will assist mothers during their postnatal recovery. The team received an NSLHD Innovation Program grant in 2021 for its project

needed. “Statistics show that approximately 30 000 Australian women per year sustain a pelvic floor muscle injury following childbirth, 50 per cent of women have some degree of pelvic organ prolapse, 40 per cent experience urinary incontinence and 15 per cent experience faecal incontinence,” she said. “This information enables women to self-manage many pelvic health and musculoskeletal conditions, and to optimise their postnatal recovery.” Translated booklets have been developed in conjunction with the video and the video is also in the process of having various language subtitles developed. To view the video, please click here: https:// bit.ly/47DlXv5.

‘Optimising Postnatal Recovery and Health’ and created a 30 minute video that covers a range of postnatal recovery topics. The team identified that some patients across the district did not have access to important postnatal information due to a range of varying factors. Royal North Shore and Hornsby Hospital senior physiotherapist Whitney Brown said that many women in Australia suffer injuries following childbirth and hopes the newly developed resource will allow women to manage their recoveries and seek help when

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.



Celebrating STEPtember steppers NSLHD recently celebrated steppers from across the district who took part in STEPtember. The district had a total of 342 participants, raised $22,913 and took a total of 74,533,841 Steps collectively.

AwareSuper sponsored the event for the first time this year and awarded $500 to the top three stepping teams and top three fundraising teams to spend on wellbeing items for their respective departments. Fitness Passport provided a prize for our two highest NSLHD Steppers. Individual winners: Highest Individual Stepper 2023 - Hayden Ellem (Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice, Manly) Highest Individual Fundraiser 2023 - Hil Henchman (Health, Safety & Wellbeing, RNSH) Team winners: Highest Stepping Team 2023 - RNSH Respiratory Sleep Medicine (Ian Epondulan, Alyssa Lynch, Chloe Todd and Ryan Wallis) Highest Fundraising Team 2023 - Hilly’s Soldiers (Hil Henchman, Gigi Kwok, Claire Lloyd and Sue-Anne Chemali)

NSLHD’s highest fundraising team Hilly’s Soldiers with Director of People and Culture Paula Williscroft (second from left) and RNSH General Manager Heather Gough (second from right).

NSLHD’s highest fundraising individual Administration Officer Hayden Ellem with A/Manager, Health & Wellbeing Renee Carroll. RNSH medical oncologist named NSW Australian of the Year

RNSH medical oncologist Professor Georgina Long AO was recently named as a joint NSW Australian of the Year.

but this achievement is a big team effort, and we couldn’t have done it without our amazing team,” she said.

Georgina received the honour alongside her close friend and

colleague Professor Richard Scolyer AO from NSW Health Pathology and Sydney Local Health district for their work in melanoma research. Their work in immunotherapy has made the once fatal advanced melanoma curable for more than 50 per cent of patients, and because of them, thousands of lives have been saved. Georgina said the duo were honoured to receive the recognition and credited the supporting team for the honour. “We are incredibly honoured to receive recognition for our hard work,

Professor Georgina Long and Professor Richard Scolyar, the Australians of the Year for NSW.



Professor James Middleton, Professor Ashley Craig, Dr Ilaria Pozzato and Dr Mohit Arora

Kolling researchers to inform international guidelines for spinal cord injuries

The expertise of our rehabilitation researchers at the Kolling Institute has been recognised with a prestigious international grant to investigate the best care for those with a spinal cord injury. The National Institute of Health in the US has awarded more than $9 million to the overall project, with over $750,000 coming to Australia. The five-year research project will investigate the impact of length of stay for rehabilitation programs following a spinal cord injury in different countries including the USA, UK, Netherlands, Australia, Brazil and Canada. It will assess international approaches to the management of these challenging injuries and associated rehabilitation programs. Professor Ashley Craig from the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research has been appointed the chief investigator lead in Australia, with support from colleagues Dr Ilaria Pozzato, Dr Mohit Arora and Professor James Middleton.

Australian researchers will assist the chief lead in the USA Dr Allen Heinemann, Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Emergency Medicine and Medical Social Sciences at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University, Chicago. Professor Craig has welcomed this prestigious grant delivered through the NIH National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research scheme. “This is a very significant international collaborative grant win and I believe the first National Institute of Heath grant won by the John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research,” he said. “It is wonderful to be working with colleagues in Australia and internationally to progress our research to determine the best care for those with a spinal cord injury, and to ensure that everyone who experiences this type of injury, can access the very latest evidenced-base care and support.”

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District staff win national health awards The Australian Council on Healthcare Standards recently held the national Quality Improvement Awards and Northern Sydney Local Health District impressively won two awards and had one highly commended. 2023 ACHS Non-Clinical Service Delivery Award - winner The NSLHD Executive Operations team won the 2023 ACHS Non-Clinical Service Delivery Award for implementing video interpreting. The team consisting of Bruno Villamea Santos (lead), Bronwyn Nolan, Cathy Butler, Anju Bharti Sharma, and Tingting Chen scaled video interpreting across the district by producing a practical resource: the NSLHD Video Interpreting Practical Implementation Guide. “We are extremely honoured,” said Bruno of winning the award.

Bruno said it has been a hands-on project working with the Health Care Interpreting Service. “We use Virtual Care technology to connect with interpreters outside of the hospital,” he said.

“Video interpreting combines the visual cues of an in-person session with the efficiency of a phone call. Patients have a better experience while reducing the interpreters’ need to travel, making them more readily available. It saves us money and time, and it’s great for our Net Zero goals.” Healthcare Measurement category award - winner

The Parkinson’s Inpatient Experience (PIE) Project team from RNSH won the Healthcare Measurement category award.

Project lead and Parkinson’s CNC Sue Williams and pharmacist Marissa Sakiris were supported by Director of Midwifery Nurse Manager Margie Webster to work closely with staff from RNSH’s Emergency Department, Neurology and Aged Care wards to implement various interventions. They have improved prescriber accuracy, and the timelines of medication reviews and administration of Parkinson’s medications. Sue Williams said it was an honour for everyone’s hard work to be recognised. “The project could not have happened without the contributions of frontline nurses, doctors, pharmacists and allied health workers who have helped successfully address the medication management issues that our Parkinson’s patients experience when admitted to hospital.” Healthcare Measurement category - highly commended

RNSH’s Spinal Plastic Service was highly commended in the Healthcare Measurement category. The service found success by integrating care between the acute and community sectors, making sure all stakeholders have the capacity and skills to prevent or manage pressure injuries and keep patients well in their community.



Dr Simon Willcox, Dr Liz Marles, Dr Penny Browne and Hornsby Hospital General Manager Simon Hill

Hornsby-Brooklyn GP Unit celebrates 50 years The Hornsby-Brooklyn GP Unit celebrated its 50th anniversary recently with former and current doctors joining patients and industry dignitaries to celebrate the milestone. The unit is unique in that it has a long history, both national and international, as a centre of excellence in teaching medical students, junior doctors (Resident Medical Officers from Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital) and GP registrar doctors training in general practice. Multicultural Health Communication Award win A NSLHD team has won the Transforming Patient Experience Award at the 2023 NSW Multicultural Health Communication Awards. The team, made up of innovation and strategy manager Heidi Roland Kenn, senior dietitian Jessica Ly and Senior Speech pathologist Jessica Tam, was recognised for their work in providing culturally relevant information for CALD Head and Neck and Gastrointestinal Cancer Patients. Through a co-design process, a head and neck cancer patient who is also a chef worked with a dietician to develop a cookery book for the Korean, Cantonese and Mandarin community. The team also worked on nutritional and swallowing resources. Heidi said head and neck cancer and upper gastrointestinal cancer can be devastating and lifelong as they can impact a person’s ability to speak and swallow, which affects nutrition and hydration. “Having translated and culturally appropriate resources is really significant,” she said.

Heidi Roland Kenn and Jessica Tam accepting their Multicultural Health Communication Award



Helping people with NF make decisions on parenthood The clinical genetics research team at Royal North Shore Hospital is behind a nationwide survey to better understand how people with neurofibromatosis make important decisions around having children.

Hope Foundation, researchers are hoping to create resources and recommendations to help people with neurofibromatosis with reproductive decision-making. The RNSH Clinical Genetics Department provides a national neurofibromatosis skin treatment clinic, a statewide complex management service for adults, and also cares for children in the Northern Sydney and Central Coast local health districts with the condition. “The Australian government has recently released funding to support pre-implantation genetic testing. It has been recommended women with neurofibromatosis (or women whose partners have it) should be offered access to in-vitro fertilisation (IVF)/pre- implantation genetic testing, but there are no specific tools to assist families with neurofibromatosis with this process despite the considerable complexity involved,” Yemima said. “As part of this study we hope to raise awareness of all available options.” The study is open to people with neurofibromatosis and their partners, living in Australia who are aged over 18. The study can be accessed here: https:// redcap.link/nfsurvey

Adults with neurofibromatosis face considerable challenges when making

decisions about having children, with their offspring having a 50 per cent chance of inheriting the disorder from an affected parent, but no certainty as to how severely their children may be affected. RNSH’s Clinical Genetics Head of Department Associate Professor Yemima Berman said there was little data on neurofibromatosis in pregnancy to assist families in reproductive decision-making. “Neurofibromatosis is a complex disorder, involving the development of tumours affecting different parts of the body. It is a progressive condition where symptoms tend to develop and worsen over time, but the severity can vary greatly, even within families” she said. “People living with the condition can develop debilitating disfigurement due to the development of skin neurofibromas; affecting their mental health, social functioning and the ability to seek employment.” With funding support through the Flicker of

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence Two in five women have experienced violence since the age of 15. One in four women will experience this violence as physical violence and emotional or economic abuse from their partner. These alarming statistics were at the forefront of activities held across the district

“This includes a commitment to routinely screen for domestic violence in mandatory and optional settings. The PARVAN Service provides direct support to victims of domestic violence and provides consultation and support to staff across the district in identifying and responding to clients experiencing violence.”

to mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence, running between 25th November to 10th December 2023. NSLHD staff were called to ‘Unite!’ to end violence against women and girls, under the global theme that encourages increased awareness, activism and systemic change. NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri said domestic violence was a public health issue that placed significant burden on the community. “At NSLHD, we have already committed to improving outcomes for women and girls experiencing violence,” he said.

Stall at RNSH for 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence



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