NSLHD News October 23

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


allied health professionals day Allied health staff across the district celebrated last week with the inagural recognition awards.

Read more on Page 6-7

Ryde’s new head of paediatrics: dr meena rattan Page 4

‘Welcome here’ project Page 5


message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox

It is no secret our district is full of devoted and talented staff who deserve to be celebrated. Among those are our allied health professionals, who celebrated Allied Health Professionals Day on October 14. Allied health is made up of a range of disciplines, all working incredibly hard for our patients, our community and our fellow healthcare workers. Whether you are talking about the allied health clinicians that helped the survivors of the White Island Volcano eruption get back on their feet, or those who assisted other districts during the devastating bushfires in our home state, or the team who flew out to the Diamond Princess at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic – you are all truly remarkable. Our district is also celebrating three of our wonderful projects announced as NSW Health Award finalists. To be nominated for these awards is ordinarily a spectacular achievement, but to do it in a year like the one we are experiencing makes it all the more impressive. Congratulations goes to the following finalists: the mental health intensive care unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital which has been nominated in the Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services category for its project ‘Reducing Time in Seclusion in the Mental Health Intensive Care Unit’; the intensive care unit at Royal North Shore Hospital which has been nominated in the Patient Safety First category for its project ‘Reducing Inappropriate Arterial Blood Gas Testing in a 58-Bed Quaternary Intensive Care Unit’; and to Mona Vale Hospital’s rehabilitation units, which have been nominated in the

Transforming Patient Experience category for the project ‘Patient Led Handover’. Winners will be announced next Thursday, October 29 via a live stream on the NSW Health Facebook page. Following extensive consultation, I am pleased to announce our district’s Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Strategy 2020- 2022. This sets out our priorities for creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce over the coming years. I encourage you all to take the time to read through the strategy – available here. As part of this strategy we have committed to establishing our NSLHD Employee Resource Network for Disability. This is a voluntary, employee-led group that provides a collaborative space to amplify the voices of staff with a disability, those who champion staff, and staff who care for people living with a disability. All staff are welcome to be part of this driving force for access and inclusion. James Stormon, Director of Northern Beaches Hospital Relationships is the executive sponsor of the network and has the full support of the NSLHD executive team. To join the Employee Resource Network for Disability, please contact NSLHD-ODTeam@ health.nsw.gov.au. The first meeting will take place on 10 November 2020.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District


Clinician researchers join elite group of Australian health professionals Congratulations to the Kolling Institute’s

Executive Director Professor Carolyn Sue and Professor Peter Cistulli on their election as Fellows of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. The pair has joined a distinguished group recognised for their leadership, personal achievements and outstanding contribution to health and medical research in Australia. Carolyn is a neurologist, internationally respected for her expertise in mitochondrial disorders and Parkinson’s disease. As a clinician scientist at the Kolling Institute and Royal North Shore Hospital, Carolyn runs the country’s largest tertiary referral clinic for patients with complex neurogenetic conditions. Carolyn is driving innovative research to improve our understanding of the genetic links to Parkinson’s disease, and a new project to improve access to diagnosis for mitochondrial disease patients. “I am honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences, joining many inspirational colleagues who I have long since admired,” she said. “I would like to acknowledge both my clinical and laboratory research teams who share this recognition with me as we work together to find better ways to improve the lives of the patients we care for.” Peter is the Director of the Sleep Investigation Laboratory at RNSH and Professor of Sleep Medicine at the University of Sydney. He is recognised nationally and internationally as a clinical and research leader in the field of respiratory and sleep medicine. Peter has made major contributions to our understanding of common sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnoea. He has pioneered therapies and contributed to a new

Prof Carolyn Sue

Prof Peter Cistulli

Please complete the Future Health online survey so we can better understand the things that matter most to you. The survey is open until 6 November, and will take less than 15 minutes to complete. Your views will help drive improvements across our health system – in the way we work, the way we deliver health services and the projects we prioritise over the next decade. A key aim for the Future Health Strategy is to deliver NSW Health’s vision for ‘a sustainable health system that delivers outcomes that matter to patients, is personalised, invests in wellness and is digitally enabled’. interdisciplinary field of dental sleep medicine, which bridges medicine and dentistry. Peter has advanced his field through his distinguished contribution to clinical practice, research and teaching. “Research is a team sport and I have had the privilege of working alongside talented researchers throughout my career. This honour is a credit to all of them,” he said. “Institutional support is also critical for success, and I thank the NSLHD for its commitment to research.”

Help shape our future health system! Work is currently underway to develop the Future Health Strategy, which looks to position the NSW health system to meet the future health care needs of our patients and the needs of our workforce.

The Future Health Strategy builds on the NSW State Health Plan, which ends on 30 June 2021, and will guide us over the next 10 years. A key part of the strategy will be identifying the ways that we can best support you to continue delivering high quality, safe and compassionate care. We can’t do this without your input.



RYDE WELCOMES NEW HEAD OF PAEDIATRICS DEPARTMENT Ryde Hospital’s newest department has appointed Dr Meena Rattan to take on the top job as head of paediatrics. With over 10 years’ experience working across three different continents, Meena is well-

launching a study to look into the presence of bacteria in pregnancy which may be deadly if passed on to infants during birth. The research is being funded in part by Victoria and Danny Liston, who tragically lost their daughter at birth due to infection. Director of Women and Babies Research Professor Jonathan Morris said Group B Streptococcus (GBS) is the leading cause of sepsis, pneumonia and meningitis in a newborn’s first week of life. “Even after extensive preventive screening and treatment of expecting mothers, infectious bacteria can still be passed on to infants during birth,” he said. “It is possible that other infectious agents may be present in the urine in late pregnancy and no studies have researched this. Our study will identify the presence of bacterial infection in late pregnancy and examine the outcomes for the mother and her baby. “Many babies lives could be saved with a breakthrough in this area.” Victoria and Danny’s daughter Kiera died shortly after birth from GBS and they have donated to the NORTH Foundation after their experience. practiced working in multicultural environments and has gained the necessary skills to adapt to different situations and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Meena said she is thrilled to take on the new position and head up the creation of the hospital’s newest department. “It’s exciting to be part of the Ryde paediatrics team particularly at the time of the hospital’s redevelopment and anticipated changes,” she said. “Not only am I excited about establishing paediatrics as a department but also to take it to new heights with our dedication, hard work and collective efforts. “My philosophy is patient first and foremost; and I strongly believe that can only be

Dr Meena Rattan

“We had an uneventful pregnancy and did all the screening and tests with no issues or concerning results, and somehow this still happened,” Victoria said. At the routine screening conducted at 36 weeks, Victoria had tested negative. In the minutes that followed Kiera’s birth, doctors noticed her breathing was laboured. Her condition did not improve and ultimately, Kiera succumbed to congenital pneumonia caused by sepsis due to GBS. “It didn’t make any sense. It was, and still is, such a shock,” Danny said. “There needs to be more protocols and processes around routine GBS testing and an effort to educate parents on what the outcomes mean,” Victoria said. “I had a negative test which, with the current protocols, meant that nothing needed to be done. I didn’t realise that a negative test at 36 weeks might still mean I could be a carrier at a later date. “We believe there needs to be more research conducted on why we choose 36 weeks as the testing point and if it’s possible to administer a test closer to delivery to discover the potential risk and treat accordingly.” elucidated with strong and cohesive teamwork.” Before taking on the head of paediatrics position Meena had been working as a locum VMO paediatrician at Ryde Hospital since 2018 and a senior medical officer since July this year.

Grieving couple contribute to research into deadly bacteria The women and babies research team is



RNSH PATIENT GIVEN NEW LEASE ON LIFE AFTER EYE SURGERY Sharon Hinkley has been legally blind for close to five years. But the ophthalmology team at Royal North Shore Hospital changed her life this year after operating on her eyes. Dense cataracts stopped Sharon from being able to see and surgery which involved replacing her lenses was needed to fix her vision. Sharon praised the team who cared for her. “The team worked brilliantly and made the whole experience amazing,” she said. “I can’t thank them enough for how well they cared for me.” Sharon said getting her eyesight back has renewed her confidence. She’s also got a long to-do list of things to start ticking off now she can see again. ‘Welcome here’ project While they have only been active since July this year, the LGBTQ+ staff network is kicking goals with a new ‘Welcome Here’ project underway. Following on from Wear It Purple Day celebrations in August, the district has become involved in the ‘Welcome Here’ project which aims to demonstrate support for the LGBTQ+ community and foster inclusive environments. It involves placing ‘Welcome Here’ stickers at the front of each district hospital or service. Spearheaded by ACON, NSW’s leading LGBTQ+ health organisation, the ‘Welcome Here’ project aims to support organisations to create and promote environments that are visibly welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ+ people. Ryde Hospital General Manager and Executive Sponsor of the LGBTQ+ staff network Heather Gough said: “With LGBTQ+ people continuing to experience violence, mental health issues and suicide at higher rates than the general population it’s so important for all of us to work together to demonstrate NSLHD is an inclusive and supportive organisation.”

Sharon with Dr Will Yates, CNS Ophtalmology Louise Claridge, Orthoptist Michael Mihail and Dr Vanessa Leung

“I love writing, knitting, colouring in – and they are all hard to do when you can’t see,” she said. “I’m also coming to terms with having to exercise and the benefits of that – it’s all a work in progress.”

Director of MHDA Andrea Taylor and MHDA Director of Nursing Mark Joyce

Heather said she hopes the ‘Welcome Here’ stickers act as a symbol of inclusivity for all people. “We want everyone – no matter their sexuality, religion or gender – to walk through our doors and feel welcome and supported,” she said. If staff would like a ‘Welcome Here’ pack for their workplace, contact NSLHD-ODTeam@ health.nsw.gov.au. Twitter • twitter.com/NthSydHealth LinkedIn • linkedin.com/company/northern-sydney-local- health-district Instagram • @nthsydhealth

stay up-to-date with NSLHd on social media Facebook

• facebook.com/nthsydhealth/ • facebook.com/RydeHospital/ • facebook.com/MonaValeHospitalNSW/ • facebook.com/RoyalNorthShore/ • facebook.com/HornsbyHospital/



allied health awards Allied health staff across the district celebrated Allied Health Professionals Day last week, with the inaugural recognition awards bestowed upon a number of hardworking winners. Congratulations to all those who won awards as well as all of our wonderful allied health clinicians.

Senior Allied Health Professional of the Year Kate Ziser (RNSH pharmacy) Kate is a Clinical Team Leader for the RNSH pharmacy department and is passionate about improving patient care. Kate specialises in cardiology and is one of the first Advanced Practice Residents in Australia. Kate took the lead in obtaining accreditation for RNSH as a site for advanced practice residency, as well as setting up the program, identifying mentors, and developing a project to improve the management of heart failure in the ambulatory care setting.

Allied Health Leader of the Year Shirley Till (Brolga, CAMH)

Shirley is the Clinical Lead of Brolga. Shirley displays effortless grace when providing guidance and achieving clinical outcomes. This opinion is echoed almost unanimously amongst all those who work with her. Shirley has not simply improved Brolga’s clinical practices, she has largely established them. She models empowerment in the way she empowers our hospital to continue to provide exceptional and powerful mental health service provision.

Allied Health Team of the Year NSRHS Burns Allied Health team

The NSRHS Burns Allied Health team has demonstrated outstanding clinical, business and operational practices over the past 12 months, meeting the challenges of high complex patient case load related to the bushfires and the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand. Working collaboratively with their multidisciplinary team, they developed systematic operational practices to most efficiently manage the work load and optimise patient-centred-care. The team developed new treatment styles in response to the high patient demands, including a Hand Class to promote improved functional activities amongst patients. Disciplines include: physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, nutrition and dietetics, social work, orthotics and allied health assistants.


Early-Career Allied Health Professional of the Year Judith Wong (RNSH physiotherapy) Judith currently holds a role with the RNSH orthopaedics and trauma wards. Judith works hard to actively seek opportunities which improve clinical, business and operational practices readily standing out amongst her peers for this work. Judith consistently looks for opportunities to share her knowledge and passion for orthopaedics and trauma to engage and empower her physiotherapy team, orthopaedic partners and patients.

Allied Health Assistant/Technician of the Year Hamish Bradshaw (MVH physiotherapy) Hamish is a valued member of the Mona Vale Inpatient Rehabilitation allied health team. Hamish has over 10 years’ experience working with multiple physiotherapy teams and plays an integral part in our delivery of patient centred care. Hamish supports patients and the consumers, with a focus on determining autonomy in their own health care and choices.

Allied Health Researcher of the Year Dr Sally Wootton (CDRS, MV)

Dr Sally Wootton, exemplifies the NSLHD core values whilst having the patient at the centre of her practice. Dr Wootton has led a number of research projects and provided support to both PhD students and clinicians. Dr Wootton is a chief investigator on the Mobile Pulmonary Rehabilitation (mPRTM) project and on a novel GP and Physiotherapy partnership project. She has lead the Chronic Disease Community Rehabilitation Service through COVID-19, to develop an evidence based rehabilitation telehealth model of care for patients living with chronic respiratory disease and chronic failure across NSLHD. your drinking habits. And all calls are strictly confidential. “They will give you practical tools and support you, without judgement. They’ll help you set achievable goals, make a plan and overcome barriers that stand in your way.” “The coaches are not there to tell you what to do either,” reassured Rebecca. Northern Sydney resident Jane, aged 59, did the program last year and found the coaches very supportive. “She rang when she said she would and was encouraging. She also listened and wasn’t overwhelmed by what I told her,” reported Jane. If you are like Jane and need a little help to cut back, sign up to get your own free Get Healthy coach by calling 1300 806 258 or use the simple online form at: www.gethealthynsw. com.au In addition, health professionals can also support their patients/clients get support to reduce alcohol consumption by referring them to the Get Healthy Service through the online referral at www.gethealthynsw.com.au/health- professionals.

Get Support to Drink Less Many people enjoy a drink from time to time. Yet drinking too much alcohol or drinking too often may not be the best for your health. In our current climate some people may find themselves drinking more than they intended to cope with anxiety, negativity, stress, changed work place and practice, and our changing environment. If you want to drink less, it helps to have someone on your side who will support you on your journey and celebrate when you succeed. “Many of us might think we can change our drinking habits whenever we want. And yet how many of us do?” asks Health Promotion Officer, Rebecca Macnaughton. We don’t always have the tools we need to change a habit; Do you know how to set achievable goals and take it step by step? Do you know what might get in your way? Do you have someone to check in with you and celebrate the changes you do make? A personal health coach, on the other end of the phone, may make all the difference. The NSW Get Healthy Information & Coaching Service has free health coaches who are friendly and trained to help you change



This is an opportunity for us to focus on our breast health and to raise awareness about breast cancer.

Make your health a priority and book your free mammogram BreastScreen NSW, Community Health Centre, level 6, Herbert Street, St Leonards. It will only take you 20 minutes and no referral is needed. If you are aged 50 to 74 book your free mammogram today by calling us on 13 20 50 or online (scan QR code)

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