NEWS NORTHERN SYDNEY LOCAL HEALTH DISTRICT NSLHD
Celebrating our midwives Our staff across the district paid tribute our marvelous midwives on International Midwives’ Day on May 5. See how they celebrated the occasion.
Read more on Page 5
breast screening to reopen across northern sydney Page 9
RNSH drives national COVID-19 study Page 11
Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing
Message FROM the acting Chief executive Dr Tamsin Waterhouse
message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox
Every day, nurses and midwives play an integral role in our hospitals and health services, providing exemplary care to our patients and their families. On Tuesday 5 May we celebrated International Midwives Day, acknowledging the importance of midwife-led care in improving maternal and health outcomes for women and babies. Even though our celebrations have had to be different this year with social distancing, the day allows for all of our staff, and the community, to reflect on the value and role midwives have in women’s lives especially during these uncertain times. With more than 4200 babies delivered in our district hospitals each year our midwives have impacted the lives of literally thousands of women and their families. The women will remember that moment as one of the most important and special times in their life. Next week is International Nurses Day and a special day as we celebrate 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale. In a year that has so far been dominated by an international health response to the
global coronavirus pandemic it is reminder how crucial the role of nurses are in our health system. Nurses have a long history of responding professionally through times of wars and pandemics and are the backbone of the healthcare system. I look forward to continuing the celebrations with our nurses and midwives. I would like to thank all of our nurses and midwives for the incredible work you do every day and the compassion you show to our patients, your dedication to the profession and the care you give to each other.
Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District
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MEssage FROM the chairman Trevor Danos AM
Throughout this pandemic, the Board has been immensely proud of the dedication, hard work and achievements by all staff across our hospitals and health services. Sometimes it takes a challenging situation, like the one we are experiencing now, for people to discover their ingenuity and inner passions. I recently visited Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital with the Chief Executive, Deb Willcox and was so impressed with what the staff have achieved in the shadow of very major, and at times, disruptive construction works. Hornsby Hospital has established a streamlined COVID-19 testing clinic; created dual and physically separated emergency and ICU departments to deal with COVID-19 “hot” and “cold” cases. The cold cases are patients with non-respiratory illnesses and are being cared for in a new and really impressive demountable building. While the “hot” cases are patients displaying respiratory COVID-like symptoms and cared for in repurposed rooms and resuscitation bays. At the same time, staff are continuing to provide care and treatment to the normal stream of non-COVID emergencies. It is not just Hornsby Hospital where we have seen enormous and rapid changes to models of care and the redesigning of the physical layout of wards and treatment spaces. All of our hospitals, community health centres and mental health services have needed to rethink the way they treat their patients and care for the community in light of COVID-19. After a recent visit at Ryde Hospital, I was pleased to see how the hospital and its
staff have bounced back from the initial COVID-19 outbreak. Without warning, Ryde Hospital found itself having to deal with the initial COVID-19 outbreak in real time without the comprehensive state-wide support arrangements that now exist. On my visit I found a positive, can-do attitude, a quiet confidence, a determination to succeed and resilience. In every case, staff had a smile on their faces, a calm and purposeful demeanour and went about their duties with great humility. Ensuring our staff have access to necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been a constant challenge, but a well governed centralised approach has meant frontline staff have been able to access PPE when they need it. The Board has been very impressed with the District’s leadership, collaboration and clinical governance in response to COVID-19. The speed in which the District has had to come together and act has no precedent and everyone should be proud of what they have achieved in such a short amount of time. It gives the Board great confidence that our hospitals and health services are prepared if there is a rise in COVID-19 presentations. Importantly, it also shows that no matter what challenge staff may face they have the leadership, knowledge, skills and initiative to meet it and to continue to provide the highest standard of care to the community.
Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District
Celebrating International Midwives’ Day
royal North Shore Hospital respiratory ward expansion Royal North Shore Hospital is expanding its respiratory unit from 18 beds to 39 in anticipation of an increase in COVID-19 positive patients requiring respiratory
with COVID-19 and respiratory issues. “By increasing the number of beds in the respiratory unit all patients can be in the one space outside of ICU, rather than splitting across multiple wards,” he said. “The new ward will put the hospital in a really good position to manage outbreaks of respiratory infections and diseases.” Dr Harris said one of the biggest advantages of joining the two wards is from an infection control perspective. “It means we can contain those who are unwell with COVID-19 in a single area, and the increase in isolated rooms allows us to have better infection control and deliver respiratory support therapy which is safer for both patients and staff.” The ward expansion is expected to be completed by mid-June.
support over the coming weeks and months. A second ward, currently haematology, will join the existing respiratory unit allowing for the extra 21 beds which includes an additional 12 negative pressure rooms and an increase in single rooms. The haematology unit will be moved to another ward in the hospital where patients will continue to receive care safely. The enlarged respiratory unit will become the new COVID-19 ward for positive patients and those awaiting clearance of their COVID-19 swabs. Royal North Shore Hospital’s Head of Respiratory Medicine Dr Ben Harris said by bringing the two wards together the hospital can have one area to house patients
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Paying tribute to our magnificent midwives
Some of the Midwifery and Women’s Health Team at Royal North Shore with CE Deb Willcox
Cake, keep cups and confectionery were just some of the ways our wonderful midwives across the District celebrated International Day of the Midwife on May 5. The day recognises the incredible contribution that midwives make to the lives of millions of women and their families around the world. At Royal North Shore, staff were treated to a stunning cake (below) which was baked and decorated by Laura Dangerfield, Divisional Nurse Manager of Women’s and Children’s Family Health.
distributing keep cups to staff as a small token of thanks for their hard work. “I would like to thank each and every midwife working in our district clinics, community and hospitals,” Deb said. “With more than 4200 babies delivered in our district hospitals each year our midwives have impacted the lives of literally thousands of women and their families every woman will remember that moment at one of the most important and special times in their life.” Jenny said despite current events, she hoped staff still took the time to acknowledge each other’s hard work. “Even though our celebrations will be different this year, I hope you are able to take some time to reflect on the value you as midwives have in women’s lives, especially during these uncertain and difficult times,” she said. “Your advocacy and adaptability in ensuring that women have continuing access to care is to be commended.” The year 2020 is the International Year of the Midwife and the Nurse, with celebrations continuing on May 12 across all hospitals and health centres as part of International Nurses Day.
Chief Executive Deb Willcox and Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery for the District Jenny Neilsen were also on hand,
Medical equipment arrives in preparation for COVID-19
Members of the district’s Clinical Technology Service
unpack it and make sure it is safe for clinical use. “We also need to undertake performance verification, configuration, and installation of the equipment and register it on a clinical technology equipment database for its lifecycle management before it is distributed to hospitals across the district. “This can take an hour to two hours for each item of equipment so it has been keeping the team very busy over the last four to six weeks. In addition the team has also been involved in other activities such as procurement and relocation of medical equipment to allow reconfiguration of wards to meet the predicted COVID-19 peak.
The district has been busy receiving a large amount of new medical equipment as we prepare for a possible surge in people needing care as a result of COVID-19. Senior Biomedical Engineer, Melvin Mazid from the district’s Clinical Technology Service said they had seen the equivalent of two years’ worth of deliveries of medical equipment in the last four to six weeks. “We have seen a variety of medical equipment such as syringe drivers, infusion pumps, humidifiers, non-invasive ventilators, vital signs monitors and ultrasounds. And much more is expected including new ventilators,” he said. “It is not as simple as the new equipment just being delivered straight to the ward. The Clinical Technology Service team need to
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paediatricians say do not delay bringing kids to hospital
Members of the paediatric team at Royal North Shore Hospital
when they become unwell and keep them at home longer which means they eventually arrived sicker,” she said. “The fact that our Emergency Departments and the children’s wards are very quiet worries us. “We are concerned about the kids that are at home but should be coming to hospital.” Nurse Unit Manager Claire Blackburn said there is far more risk in presenting later than getting checked out earlier. “When you speak to parents, they are worried about their child but they don’t want to bother us because they think we are too busy,” she said. “But we actually want you to come in so we can provide the best, safest care for your child.”
prepared with all additional COVID-19 precautions and procedures in place to care for sick children and young people. “We would like the community to know that it is safe for children and adults to come to hospital if needed because any potential risk of infection with the COVID-19 virus is very carefully managed, for patients as well as staff.” Fellow paediatrician Dr Helen Goodwin said a drop in presentations to Emergency Departments could be partially explained by children not sharing other common viruses due to the current COVID-19 social restrictions, but families were also keeping their kids at home when they shouldn’t be. “People seem to be afraid to bring their children to hospital
Royal North Shore’s Paediatric team is encouraging the local community to not delay bringing children to hospital if needed during this pandemic. If your child is unwell, our dedicated team of Paediatric nurses and doctors are here for you 24/7 from when you present to the Emergency Department, are admitted to the ward - if this is needed - right through to being discharged. Paediatrician Dr Carola Wittekind encourages parents to follow their instincts and bring their child to hospital as they normally would. “We have seen children who have come in later and, unfortunately, have been sicker than they would have been if they had presented earlier,” she said. “We are fully equipped and
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Share your news and achievements. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHDemail@example.com to submit your news.
CONQUER KOKoDA FROM HOME with the north foundation
but have family or friends who might be interested, please spread the word! Thank you for supporting our hospitals and staff who are working so hard.” The money raised will support the hospitals across the district and specialty COVID-19 services
The NORTH Foundation has launched its first virtual fitness challenge to encourage people to stay connected and healthy and give our community a new way to support NSLHD hospitals during the
16 days, from Kokoda to Owners Corner by running or walking a set number of kilometres per day. Lorena Aziz, NORTH Foundation Community and Corporate Giving Officer, said: “Conquer Kokoda From Home is a great way to keep fit and stay connected with family and friends during this challenging time.” “For those who can’t join
COVID-19 pandemic. The challenge, which
started on 27 April and ends on 31 May, involves completing a 96 kilometre virtual trek, over 8, 12 or
and equipment needs. To find out more, visit conquer-kokoda-from- home.raisely.com/
Carer referrals now available through EMR Clinicians can now refer a carer to the NSLHD Carer Support Service directly through Electronic Medical Record (eMR). This can be done via boost for carers and their loved ones in the current climate. “It‘s a complex time for carers right now,” she said. “Many may be experiencing
of a carer who is under stress or has any concerns, please refer them to us.
“We are open and operating as usual.
“Referrals can be made by email, phone or refer directly through eMR.” The Carer Support Service can be contacted on 9462 9488 or by emailing NSLHD-Carers@health.nsw. gov.au
‘Orders’ in Electronic eMR/ owerChart – simply search for ‘Carers’ under orders and you’ll find us. NSLHD Carer Support Manager Barbara Lewis said it was a welcome
increased anxiety and stress or need help to navigate the Aged Care and NDIS community care sectors. “Many patients can also be carers, so if you see or hear
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breast screening to reopen across northern sydney Northern Sydney’s
breast screening service is preparing to reopen following a temporary pause to protect clients and staff from the risk of COVID-19. It is one of the first services to re- commence at the hospital on 13 May. BreastScreen NSW has been closed since late-March to limit the transmission of COVID-19 and prioritise the wellbeing of women, staff and the community. More than 7400 women in Northern Sydney have had their appointments deferred since the service has been closed. Director of BreastScreen NSW in Northern Sydney and Central Coast Meredith Kay said one in seven women in NSW will develop breast cancer in their lifetime and having a regular screening mammogram is the most effective way to find breast cancer early in women aged over 50. Meredith said extensive planning has been done around prioritising and accommodating women in a timely manner when services reopen. “We’re putting in place strategies to ensure women feel safe – such as spacing out appointments, and looking at how we can extend our operations time to include out of hours and weekends,” she said.
“We thank everyone for their patience and ask that women wait at least two weeks for their invitation from BreastScreen NSW before attempting to make an appointment. “During this time we encourage women to stay breast aware and if an unusual breast change is found to contact BreastScreen NSW or their GP. The best attack for breast cancer is early detection.” While COVID-19 may be resulting in increased family stress at this time, Meredith stressed the importance of women
continuing to look out for their health as well as their families. “While often we don’t put ourselves first, it is important for your family that you look after yourself and if you have any slight concern contact us.” The Northern Sydney screening service will reopen initially at Royal North Shore Hospital followed by Brookvale Community Health Centre and Hornsby Hospital. Contact BreastScreen NSW on 132 050 for further information.
New outdoor meeting space is a breath of fresh air Families have been given a new outdoor space to meet with specialists while attending the Coral Tree Family Service at North Ryde.
Coral Tree is a NSW state-wide tertiary referral service that aims to assist children and their families experiencing significant difficulties with mental health, behaviour, emotions and relationships. Located on the Macquarie Hospital campus, the service helps children aged 12 years and under who many have long-standing difficulties in their home, school and social environments. Manager Cathryn Mcelroy said the new space was an alternative meeting space away from a clinical setting. “Some of our families have experienced trauma and been in many doctors’ rooms so having a space outdoors is a good alternative for them,” Cathryn said. “Parents are even coming to use it for some quiet time and watch their children play. “It has come just in time for Coronavirus so it has been good for social distancing and giving clinicians another space that’s not indoors.” Coral Tree offers family residential programs which involves the family of the referred child attending a planned four-night residential stay (Monday to Friday). Goals are set at the
Coral Tree’s new outfoor area
beginning of a family’s stay, and the ‘living in’ nature of the program allows for opportunities to find and practise new ways of relating and managing issues within a supported environment. This program is available to families who reside anywhere in NSW. A clinical school program is offered in partnership with Arndell School. Children attend the co-located school for up to three terms, while engaging therapeutically with Coral Tree. This program is available to families who reside within a manageable commuting distance. Other services offered include a day program and consultations with other mental health professionals in NSW Health services, who are seeking input from Coral Tree to support their work with families that are struggling to make progress.
The power of gratitude During complex and unpredictable times like
thank for their contribution to the COVID-19 response? Or someone you want to welcome to your team? To access these cards simply click on the NSLHD intranet Compliments portal, choose a card, recipient and share your message. The whole process takes less than one minute! Over 1600 cards have been sent across the district since its inception in July 2019. Send a card today- it’s a great way to celebrate staff strengths, spread some kindness and drive a positive culture at NSLHD.
COVID-19, taking the time to express gratitude can improve our health and wellbeing. A simple and easy way this can be done is by sending a Compliment card to a colleague to recognise and celebrate their incredible work, dedication and commitment. We have recently expanded our repertoire of cards to include a ‘Welcome’ card, ‘Well done’ card, ‘Just to say’ card and an updated ‘Thank you’ card. Is there a colleague you can
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RNSH drives national COVID-19 study
Patient Matthew Gray and Professor Ravinay Bhindi
For many people with heart disease there’s an increased level of anxiety around the implications of COVID-19, but it’s hoped a new study led by Royal North Shore Hospital will guide future treatment and improve health outcomes. Head of Cardiology Professor Ravinay Bhindi has launched the AUS-COVID study, which will involve more than 800 patients in over 20 hospitals across Australia. The Kolling Institute researcher said the study aims to provide clinicians and health services with the valuable information they need to lower complications for COVID-19 patients with pre-existing cardiovascular disease. “There is a lot we just don’t know about COVID-19, although there is some early data from China and Europe suggesting that cardiac patients are particularly vulnerable,” Professor Bhindi said. “This leads to increased anxiety for patients and it means general practitioners and clinicians are not thoroughly informed about the implications for this group of patients. “The study will provide timely advice to help clinicians allocate resources and identify patients most likely to deteriorate and therefore require a higher level of care.
“It will also help identify the patients unlikely to deteriorate, who can be safely discharged. “Importantly, the AUS-COVID study will provide information on the safety of continuing common cardiac medications for patients with COVID-19. “This is a really important national study which we believe will assist the large numbers of people with cardiovascular disease in Australia.” Matthew Gray, who was diagnosed with heart disease two years ago has welcomed the research. “It’s a timely, landmark study which will help fill the gaps in knowledge, and assist GPs and clinicians to better manage people with heart disease who develop Covid,” he said. “As a result of the study, there will be reliable information which will directly help me mange my health.” Researchers from hospitals across Australia have been quick to become involved, demonstrating the urgent need for information about the implications of COVID-19. The AUS-COVID study is receiving financial support from the Northern Sydney Local Health District and the Ramsay Hospital Research Foundation.
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Who to call
• Call 1800 020 080 (24/7) for health questions or to check symptoms. • Call 13 77 88 (24/7) for non-health related questions. • Call 1800 512 348 (24/7) for mental wellbeing support • Visit www.healthdirect.gov.au to check symptoms. • Visit www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 for all other COVID-19 related information Questions and support
Protect yourself and others.
Save Triple Zero (000) for emergencies such as difficulty breathing or shortness of breath at rest. Triple Zero
Practise good hygiene
For free help in your language call 13 14 50 .
Practise social distancing
If you have symptoms
Stay home if you can
Shortness of breath
• Self-isolate first . Call your GP or visit a public COVID-19 clinic: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19 • Travel in your own car or a private car driven by a family member or an existing close contact. Do not travel by public transport, taxi or ride-share service . • Wear a surgical mask . If unavailable, ask for one immediately when you arrive.
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