NSLHD News January 29

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


Main story Short blurb helping patients get back on their feet Local school students have raised money for new mobility walkers to assist patients at Royal North Shore Hospital. Read more on Page x

Read more on Page 4

Rotary club donation Page 3

innovation success story Page 7


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Welcome to our first newsletter for the year. I would like to thank those of you who worked during the festive season and hope you all managed to get some rest. Last December was a very busy time with our COVID-19 testing clinics seeing unprecedented numbers just days before Christmas due to the Northern Beaches cluster. I would like to sincerely thank all the staff who came out in their hundreds to help the testing clinics, and those staff who worked around the clock and to make sure we tested as many residents as we could. It was a herculean effort that was swift and of the highest calibre. Testing rates are still lower than the public health officials would like – so again I call upon you as health professionals to encourage family and friends to get tested even with the very mildest of symptoms – they will look to you for advice. Now we look towards to the vaccination roll-out which is expected to start next month. We are busy planning the logistics and are working with NSW Health to be ready to care for staff in the health care system and the community. We will continue to communicate with you when we receive updates. While COVID-19 has rightly been our priority, important work has continued by

all of you and this year we have a lot to look forward to. Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital is planning to open its new Clinical Services Building in a few months which will completely transform the way we deliver services to the community. In just a few weeks, Mona Vale Hospital’s Palliative Care and Geriatric Evaluation and Management Unit will open. It’s the first of its kind on the Northern Beaches. I would like to acknowledge the commitment of everyone involved in the planning of the new ward. Accreditation at Ryde, Royal North Shore and Hornsby Hospitals and MHDA is scheduled to happen this year. While there is much work to do it is a great way to showcase the outstanding care you provide to the community. Finally, I would like to welcome the 100 new JMO interns who have started across our district this month. This is a major milestone for each of them and like all staff their wellbeing is a priority. We wish them all the very best with their training as they commence a career in medicine.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Rotary Clubs of Upper Northern Becahes President Rob Haines, Balgowlah President Lindy Myers and Dee Why Warringah President Liz McDougall present staff with the vouchers

donation supports community in more ways than one Rotary clubs on the northern

Hospital staff. “We wanted to say how much we appreciate the work these specific groups have done,” Balgowlah Rotary Club President Lindy Myers said. “We also wanted to support our local business restaurant trade which has suffered due to lockdowns.” Lindy said the past year has had an enormous impact on the Rotary Clubs, with meetings moving online, fundraising proving more challenging as well as personal challenges faced by members who had COVID-19 or had limited access to loved ones through isolation. On behalf of the three Rotary Clubs I would like to say a mammoth thank you to all of the frontline COVID-19 staff in all areas, in particular on the Northern Beaches, whether they have been doing tests, checking results

or tracing where people with the virus have been,” she said. Acting Nurse Manager for Operations Maria Manna said the generous donation had been well received by the team. “On behalf of the whole of our COVID-19 response team, I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to the Rotary Clubs of Balgowlah, Dee Why and Warringah and Upper Northern Beaches for thinking of us and donating these vouchers,” Maria said. “The great thing about this donation is we can enjoy a meal and support local businesses at the same time, because we’re all in this together.

beaches have rallied to support both frontline workers and local businesses, donating a number of restaurant vouchers to COVID testing staff. Balgowlah, Dee Why, Warrinagh and Upper Northern Beaches Rotary Clubs received funding from the National Australia Day Council and planned to use it to host a fair for locals. However, with the COVID-19 cases in the area in late December, the clubs decided the grant money would be better spent giving back to the community and those who have helped keep them safe for the past year. They purchased a number of vouchers from restaurants on the northern beaches to support their recovery, which would be given to first responders, such as COVID testing staff and Mona Vale

“We are proud to serve our community and are

extremely thankful to them for their efforts helping us to combat COVID-19.”



Students’ donation helps patients get back on their feet Last year was difficult in lots of ways, including for community fundraising, but that didn’t stop students at Willoughby Public School who were happy to step up to the challenge.

Its Student Representative Council (SRC) organised a Mufti-Day to raise money for new mobility walkers to assist patients at Royal North Shore Hospital. On 11 November, students left their uniforms at home, wore mufti clothes to school and brought in donations to help raise money for the walkers, which are vital in assisting patients during their recovery. Year six student David came up with the idea when visiting his grandparents with his mum, Kylie, during their treatment at Royal North Shore Hospital. He noticed the walkers and thought the hospital and patients could benefit from some new ones. David made his case and created a PowerPoint presentation to show the SRC why it was essential to raise money for this

Willoughby Public School students with the 10 mobility walkers they fundraised for and donated to Royal North Shore Hospital

important cause. “I saw how much the walkers were being used by patients like my grandparents, but I also saw how much the hospital supports the local community - I wanted to help and give back,” said David. All up, the students raised an incredible $750, which enabled them to purchase ten new mobility walkers to donate to the physiotherapy department. decorate the donated walkers to acknowledge how grateful we are for this tremendous support from the school community. The Willoughby Public School emblem proudly

Physiotherapy Head of Department Gary Rolls said the team is absolutely thrilled the students thought of the hospital and are sure that the patients will be happy knowing primary school children raised the money to help get them up and walking. “It truly shows that you’re never too young to make a big difference,” Gary said. The NORTH Foundation is always looking for great community champions who want to partner with us to

support our hospitals. If you’re interested in becoming a community fundraiser please visit northfoundation.org.au/

New free advice line for health professionals The Drug and Alcohol Specialist Advisory Service (DASAS) offers a free week, and has recently had a boost in capacity.

this not possible, within 24 hours. Contact DASAS on 02 8382 1006 (within the Sydney metropolitan area) or 1800 023 687 (in regional, rural and remote NSW). For more information, visit the St Vincent’s Hospital website.

Health professionals can receive specialist

telephone service for health professionals across NSW seeking general advice on the clinical management of people with alcohol and other drug issues. The service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a

guidance from clinical nurse consultants and addiction medicine specialists based at St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney. The service will often respond immediately, or if



RNSH Emergency Department Research Unit The emergency department (ED) at Royal North Shore Hospital is one of the busiest

EDs in NSW, seeing over 90,000 patients per year. The RNSH ED Research Unit is tasked with performing medical research on the wide spectrum of patients who walk through its doors. It is headed by Associate Professor Mark Gillett who oversees a research team including a project support officer, 20 research volunteers and doctors/ nurses/medical students/PhD students from the ED, many other disciplines at RNSH and researchers from other hospitals, interstate and overseas. “Our team of 20-25 research volunteers are a varied group of students and retirees who generously give their time to both recruit and provide follow up for our studies,” A/ Prof Gillett said. “Many areas of emergency medicine still remain under of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Australia Day Honours. Dr Van Nunen was recognised for her service to medicine, particularly to clinical immunology and allergy. Up until last year, she was a senior staff specialist with the Department of Clinical Immunology and Allergy and was previously the head of the department of allergy

Some of those involved in the ED Research Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital

researched. However, the ED is an area of medicine that demands high quality medical research in order to provide better treatment for the patients who attend there. “ Currently RNSH ED is running over 20 research projects in areas such as bicycle injuries; musculoskeletal injuries including back/neck/knee pain; pain relief in fractures; use of diagnostic ultrasound in EDs and many other areas. In the past three years, the research group has published over 20 scientific journal practice, Dr van Nunen is also a Visiting Medical Officer at Northern Beaches Hospital and a Clinical Associate Professor of the Northern Clinical School of Sydney She is well known for her research into tick-induced allergies and holds a number of positions including a member of the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy, Medical School at the University of Sydney.

papers. “The ED is a difficult area of the hospital in which to perform research due to the large patient numbers, their high medical acuity and the need for research funding, ,” A/Prof Gillett said. “We are always looking for support in order to carry on the research we are currently conducting.” To find out more, or to find out how to donate to ED research, contact Associate Professor Mark Gillett at mgillett@med.usyd.edu.au

Former staff member named in Australia day Honours Former Royal North Shore immunologist, Dr Sheryl van Nunen has received a Medal from 1985 to 2012. Now working in private

a member of the National Asthma Council and a reviewer for the Therapeutics Goods Administrations since 1995.



New practice standards for clinicians treating eating disorders In a first of their kind, new practice standards for “Eating disorders are highly complex and debilitating

health practitioners treating eating disorders have been released, with a NSLHD eating disorder dietician instrumental in their development. The Australia and New Zealand Academy for Eating Disorders (ANZAED) – the peak body for eating disorder professionals - has published training standards for clinicians to provide guidance on the minimum level of knowledge and skills needed to competently treat patients with eating disorders. Dr Gabriella Heruc, NSLHD Eating Disorder Dietitian and ANZAED working group chair and spokesperson, said implementation of the practice standards would bring eating disorder treatment closer to best practice; ultimately improving treatment outcomes, reducing financial costs to patients and services and lead to better health outcomes. nursing staff will undergo a new development program to enhance their critical care skills. The program involves rotating staff – with two to four years of critical care experience – through the emergency department, intensive care unit and operating theatres over six months. Registered nurses Rachel

psychiatric conditions that sadly, affect adults, adolescents and children as young as five,” she said. “Given the serious psychological, social and physical complications associated with eating disorders, treatment is complex to manage and requires well-coordinated multidisciplinary treatment.” training standards were recently published in the Journal of Eating Disorders. Dr Heruc said tertiary health education programs generally provide limited training in eating disorders, and graduates often entered the workforce with inadequate skills needed to The ANZAED eating disorder treatment principles and general clinical practice and work in this field. “The new practice standards outline the knowledge, practical skills and experience required to competently manage and treat patients with Smith, Adrian Caputo and Kim Flores will be the first to undertake the program and broaden their knowledge base and extend their professional portfolios. Ryde Hospital Director of Nursing and Midwifery, Drew Hilditch-Roberts said the program is about creating a competent, confident and flexible critical workforce local to

Dr Gabriella Heruc

an eating disorder which will consequently improve treatment outcomes for patients,” she said. To access the standards, visit ANZAED eating disorder treatment principles and general clinical practice and training standards. There are two free open access webinars on Monday 1 February that interested mental health professionals and dietitians can join to hear more about the new practice standards. Register: bit.ly/3c7wDsh Ryde. “Staff who take part will return to their departments with new skills and learnings that will benefit their department and the patients they care for,” he said. “This local program will better place staff members who wish to go on to participate in the district clinical accreditation program (CAP).”

Ryde’s Critical Care Professional Development Program Three Ryde Hospital



Members of last year’s winning team at Graythwaite Rehab

Innovation Program round one now open The Innovation Program is back with applications now open for our first round of pitching for 2021.

innovation program and we were the lucky winner. The video is now in its final stages and we cannot wait to start showing it to patients to help set expectations before and on arrival at Graythwaite. We were also able to purchase a number of iPads to show patients and their families the video in their language. Why would you encourage others to apply for the innovation program? The innovation program is a way to make your innovative ideas come to life. Healthcare professionals have loads of ideas because we see what happens day to day and sometimes it is really hard to materialise the thinking that is going on because you don’t have the executive support and financial. By understanding the processes of the innovation program and giving it a go, you can get really good ideas off the ground. The funding and executive support puts a focus on the innovations. It helps you push forward and achieve great results. Applications for the first round of the program close on Sunday 28 February 2021. Visit the following link to apply - https://www.nslhd. health.nsw.gov.au/ImprovementHub/Pages/ WhatisInProgram.aspx

The program provides funding for ideas that support staff to improve patient care. The top five applicants each round will pitch their idea to a panel of judges in front of a live audience. We recently spoke to one of last year’s winners to find out what they have achieved since their big win. The team from Ryde Hospital’s Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre was awarded $45,500 to better prepare patients for their transfer and stay in the rehabilitation ward by engaging patients earlier with communication via video in five different languages. What has the funding helped you achieve? A clinical redesign project, known as iGO (improving Graythwaite outcomes), was underway with one of their priorities to work out ways to help patients understand what rehab involves and to make their transition from acute to sub-acute smoother. The team came up with great ideas to address the issue – including a welcome video for patients and carers. However the team needed funds and further support to turn that into a reality. This led us to apply for an the

Share your news and achievements. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.




Healthy and Active for Life Online

What’s included?

A 10-week online program

Are you 60* or over and want to be active and healthy? Join our free online healthy lifestyle program in Term 2 ! Term 2 Registration opens Monday 8th February Find out more and register at: www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au *Aboriginal people aged 45+ can register.

Exercise videos to do at home each week Online healthy eating and lifestyle sessions Support from a trained Phone Coach

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