NSLHD News May 14

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


Main story Short blurb celebrating our nurses and midwives Nurses and midwives across the district took part in celebrations on International Nurses Day and International Day of the Midwife.

Read more on Page x Read more on Pages 4-6

innovation pitch roaring success Page 6

construction begins at manly young adult hospice Page 3


Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

I am delighted to welcome back Deb Willcox after her two month secondment at the Ministry of Health. A big thank you to Dr Tamsin Waterhouse for so ably deputising for Deb during this period. This week we celebrate the dedication and commitment of our nurses across our district with International Nurses Day held on 12 May. Throughout the pandemic, our nurses have been at the forefront of our response, responding to the pandemic and caring for our patients. We are very fortunate to have such a wonderful team of nurses and midwives at our hospitals and services and on behalf of the district, I would like to say thank you for the work that you do. The Board held its annual strategy day on Saturday 1 May and a major focus was on how the district should continue to engage in partnerships and collaborations to achieve its goals. It was pleasing to have attendees from a number of existing partners including the University of Sydney, Macquarie University, the Sydney North Health Network, HammondCare and NORTH Foundation. The Kolling Institute presented on its three primary research areas, provided by the leads and it is evidenced there has been significant progress and early wins since the recent release of the Kolling’s 2021-2025 Research Strategy. Six of the directors of the district’s Clinical Networks presented on the current achievements, innovations, prospects and challenges of the networks. There was a good discussion on further work that might be done to improve collaboration and strengthen our networks. The Board was impressed by the talent and teamwork in each network. Professor Mick Reid AM presented on his work to date in developing the St Leonards Health Campus Health, Education and

Research Precinct Plan. The Plan will document how the public and private health services, education and research sectors can be harnessed in an integrated fashion within the precinct for both the betterment of health care, knowledge and skills and to provide an exciting environment for future investment and employment. The presentation identified a number of possible clinical opportunities as well as a number of strategic enablers. Further staff, community and Ministry of Health consultation will take place over coming weeks before a final report is presented. An important next step, after the report is considered by the Board, will be the development of a RNSH campus plan. The implications of the report will be wide reaching including in the consideration of the Herbert Street Precinct proposal and as we update the current NSLHD 2017-2022 Strategic Plan. The final session at the strategy day was devoted to planetary health and sustainability. Good work (solar panels, streaming of waste, recycling of plastics local projects, etc) is already being done across the district but there remains the potential to support staff and for the local health district to do a lot more and to make a real difference. The district’s Planetary Health Framework will be released for review by the committee in coming weeks. It is both exciting and ambitious and everyone has a role. Importantly, there will be a mechanism for good ideas from staff to be submitted.

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



(Left to right): Health Infrastructure, Senior Project Director Henry Lau, Health Infrastructure Chief Executive Rebecca Wark, NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox and NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos AM

construction begins at new hospice Construction has commenced on Australia’s first $19.5 million dedicated palliative care hospice for young people living with an incurable illness.

for patients after they leave Manly’s Bear Cottage. “There will be the respite for Matthew and he will be able to go and see his friends,” she said. “It’s just going to make a world of difference to us.” Construction of the hospice is scheduled for completion in late 2022 and is funded by the NSW and Federal Governments as well as generous community donations. Health Infrastructure is working closely with the Northern Sydney Local Health District and expert clinicians to deliver the hospice, which will be located at the former Manly Hospital site on the North Head headland. For further information and to support the Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice, visit www.nslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Manly.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian joined Member for Manly James Griffin and Federal Senator Andrew Bragg for the turning of the first sod. Generous donor Kay Van Norton Poche, who has made the project possible, also rolled up her sleeves and grabbed a shovel to mark the start of the works. Former Bear Cottage patients Matthew Van Hoek and Scott Green were also welcomed to the site, which they will be able to visit upon its completion. “Without places like this adult hospice, people like me don’t really have many places to go,” Scott said. Matthew’s mum Debbie Van Hoek said the new facility would provide a bridge improving patient experience Our staff recently celebrated Patient Experience Week where we asked ourselves and our patients what makes a good patient experience. Staff across the district are passionate about improving the experience of patients. Patient experience is defined as the sum of all interactions, shaped by our culture, that influence patient perceptions across the continuum of care. Chief Executive Deb Willcox said: “It doesn’t matter how small our actions are when it comes to elevating a patient’s experience: it could be a warm smile, listening, even the way in which we address our patients can improve their stay in our hospitals.”

Here are a couple of photos from staff and a patient at Hornsby Hospital.



Mona Vale’s Amazing Race winning team

international nurses day celebrations In a fitting celebration, nurses across

breakfast for those on night duty, and lunch for those on day and afternoon shifts. The annual nursing and midwifery awards were held with many individual staff and teams recognised for their fantastic contribution for caring for patients. Nurses at Hornsby celebrated with food trucks for a special lunch hosted by the hospital and Watpac, builder of the stage 2 hospital redevelopment. Australian College of Nursing Chief Executive Officer Kylie Ward was a guest speaker at the celebrations. Congratulations to all of those who won awards, as well as all of our nurses for their collective achievements over the past 12 months.

northern Sydney spent International Nurses Day competing in iterations of the Amazing Race and enjoying each other’s company and delicious food. International Nurses Day is marked every year on 12 May, and after COVID-19 put a handbrake on last year’s celebrations, they were back bigger and better in 2021. While there were the usual awards bestowing nurse of year and team of the year across most sites, nurses at Royal North Shore and Mona Vale hospitals competed in their own Amazing Races. Assessment and Rehabilitation Unit claimed the crown at Mona Vale, while the Severe Burns Unit saluted at Royal North Shore. Staff at Ryde Hospital were treated to a

Ryde Hospital staff enjoying lunch





Morning tea for midwifery staff at Hornsby

international day of the midwife Cakes, sweet treats and games brought in another year of International Day of the Midwife celebrations. Every year on 5 May our wonderful midwives working across our hospitals and supporting families in our community are celebrated and their incredible contribution to thousands of women and their families is formally recognised.

role in so many people’s lives, providing care before, during and after pregnancy and child birth,” she said.

Last year midwives across Northern Sydney Local Health District helped bring more than 3700 babies into the world. At Royal North Shore Hospital, staff were treated to an impressive cake made by Divisional Nurse Manager of Women’s and Children’s Family Health Laura Dangerfield. Chief Executive Deb Willcox and Director of Nursing and Midwifery for the district Claire Harris joined the celebrations. “Our midwives take on an incredibly special

Staff at Ryde Hospital enjoying treats to celebrate International Day of the Midwife

“The support, education and care they provide stays with parents and families long after they leave our hospitals and services. “Thank you to each and every midwife for providing compassionate care at such a life- changing time for so many people.” NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris thanked midwives working across the district for their ongoing commitment to providing high quality maternity care. “I am proud of your dedication to working in partnership with women and their families that come in contact with our maternity services,” she said. “This is greatly appreciated and does not go unnoticed.”

Staff at Royal North Shore Hospital cutting cake



iNNOVATIONS GRANTED The district’s innovation pitch returned for the first time this year with three successful winners walking away with cheques to kick start projects. Doctor Mathew Doane from Royal North Shore Hospital’s Department of Anaesthesia has taken out the main prize with his pitch ‘Curtailing Clinical Care’s Catastrophic Carbon Contribution’. The project was awarded $46,000 to purchase an anaesthetic gas filtering device that captures all scavenged waste anaesthetic gas, which is then returned for recycling. The ‘OPRAH’ project, ‘Optimising Postnatal Recovery and Health’, took out the people’s choice award and will be funded to create

Pitch winner Dr Mathew Doane with NSLHD CE Deb Willcox

The ‘Gut Microbiome in Radiotherapy’ project picked up a Chief Executive Award and funding to implement a study to inform the development and validation of a predictive clinical biomarker for radiotherapy related adverse events. Manager Strategy and Service Integration Anna Giuffrida said since the very first innovation pitch, the winning projects have focused on and improved patient care and the latest projects continue this trend. “It was great to be able to the social stigma surrounding mental health. “This time last year everything was so unknown with COVID - communicating and checking in with each other has really helped our team manage the challenges of the last year”, he said. Executive Assistant to the Director of Finance Todd Backhouse said: “Mental health affects everything you do – giving people the space to say they are fatigued, stressed, or overworked has really helped our team. “I’m not a runner, exercise is always the first thing to go out of my busy schedule, so this challenge has been really good to make sure I exercise and listen to self-help and comedy podcasts. “It has really helped my own mental health.” As an experienced runner, John has been loving the

come together for our first pitch for 2021 and celebrate innovation in the district,” she said. “The three projects awarded funding bring very different motivations – from sustainability to a research study and video for outpatients. “It’s fantastic to see the

a postnatal physiotherapy video including simulated graphics to facilitate improved understanding and uptake of essential postnatal exercise. different innovations staff are coming up with to improve patient care.” Applications are now open for the July pitch event. Apply now here https://bit. ly/3uVQhhi. finance team making a difference for mental health

The Northern Sydney Local Health District Finance and Corporate Services team has taken up the NORTH Foundation’s Conquer Kokoda From Home challenge. Six teams, made up of over 35 staff, have committed to walking or running 96 kilometres over 16 days to support mental health services across the district. In the first five days they raised over $4000. Director PPP Contract Administration John Barnard- Richardson said it’s really important to continue to lift

challenge, particularly working together as a team. “It’s created a real buzz around the office and brought out people’s competitive sides,” he said. “I challenge the rest of the district to put together teams and try to beat the finance team in total distance run and funds raised.” There’s still time to sign up your team to the virtual challenge here - https:// conquer-kokoda-from- home-2021.raisely.com/.

Staff taking part in the Conquer Kokda From Home challenge



PROGRAM BRINGs GUIDANCE TO NEW DADS More than 1000 dads across Northern Sydney Local Health District have signed up to a free Baby Kai was born in February this year. Once Kai was born, Ron notified

the program and the messages he received changed to focus on interaction with his baby and helping his partner post- birth. “The context and timelines were spot on,” he said. “I like the fact there’s no pressure to respond or interact, but it acts as a good prompt.” Ron said he finds it gives him new ways to interact with Kai, for example a message about gazing into his eyes. “Previously I did not know simply staring into my baby’s eyes could be so valuable for him,” he said. “I would recommend this to other dads because you don’t have to interact, it sits in the back of your mind, it triggers an action, is low-touch and requires very little time compared to other ‘help’ which is

program to help new and expectant fathers navigate the challenges of parenthood. The Focus on New Fathers program is a pilot being run by NSW Health. The program sends text messages to dads offering valuable health advice and links to other services to help them understand, connect and support their baby and partner. When his partner was 16 weeks, Northern Sydney local resident Ron Pena signed up to the program. He said the texts helped validate some things he had already been doing in the lead up to the birth, but also provided new ideas like putting a pillow behind her back as she slept on her side to make her sleep more comfortable. NORTH Foundation 2021 Tax Appeal The NORTH Foundation has launched the 2021 Tax Appeal campaign to raise vital funds to turn life-changing research and ideas to improve patient care into a reality. NORTH Foundation CEO Gibert Lorquet said: “In our district we have access to some of the best health care workers and medical minds.

Ron Pena and baby Kai

often more involved. “And my partner appreciates the extra effort.” Men living in Northern Sydney can sign up to the program if they are over the age of 18, their partner is at least 12 weeks pregnant or their baby is younger than six months. For more information, and to sign up, visit https:// www.health.nsw.gov.au/ public/Pages/focus-on- fathers.aspx

“The only thing holding us back is lack of funding to get these off the ground. The clock is ticking.” This year’s theme for the appeal is: It isn’t essential, until it becomes essential.

The fundraising target is $210,000 and the community is being called on to help reach this goal. To donate visit https:// northfoundation.org.au/ how-you-can-help/tax- appeal-2021/



International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia

Northern Sydney Local Health District staff are being called on to dress in the colours of the rainbow on Monday 17 May – the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Interphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) – to celebrate LGBTQIA+ people and raise IDAHOBIT recognises the date – 31 years ago on May 17 1990 – when the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems. In Australia, 75 per cent of LGBTQIA+ youth will experience some form of discrimination and 35 per cent of LGBTQIA+ Australians have experienced verbal abuse in the past 12 months. Executive Assistant to the Director of Finance and Corporate Services, Todd Backhouse is the co-chair of the LGBTQI+ employee awareness for the work still needed to combat discrimination. network and said days like IDAHOBIT provide an opportunity to teach people about the inequity and discrimination against sexuality or gender diverse people in society.

Staff getting into the spirit for IDAHOBIT

“With a name like IDAHOBIT people are bound to ask ‘what is IDAHOBIT? What does that mean?’” Todd said. “It’s an important beat to help people understand marriage equality isn’t the end of the fight against LGBTQIA+ discrimination in Australia. “Celebrating diversity is a powerful thing, and we see how over the years Mardi Gras and positive messaging has helped the LGBTQIA+ community. “But it’s also super important to add the shade to all that light and give people perspective – so they can see the reasons celebrations, acknowledgments, attention and education in this space is important because

discrimination still exists.” Staff are encouraged to get involved in the day by wearing something colourful, place posters up around their workplace showing their support for the LGBTQIA+ community, or send a photo holding an IDAHOBIT sign to NSLHD-ODTeam@health.nsw. gov.au to be posted on the NSLHD Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Further information, resources and IDAHOBIT support signs can be found on the IDAHOBIT website at https://www.idahobit.org.au/ For staff interested in joining the LGBTQI+ Employee Network, please contact NSLHD-ODTeam@health.nsw. gov.au.

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• nthsydhealth • Ryde Hospital • Royal North Shore



RNSH patient suffers stroke after high-intensity workout

Chris Plastow is a fitness fanatic. For the last 10 years the Bilgola local has been competing in CrossFit, a form of high intensity interval training. But following one of his workouts earlier this year, Chris started feeling a bit off. “I was driving home and I started losing feeling in my right side – in my arm and then my face,” he said. “I got home and my 13 year-old daughter called an ambulance – she knew the symptoms of a stroke.” While the paramedics did not believe the father of two had suffered a full stroke, he was taken to Northern Beaches Hospital for tests. “It turned out I had dissected a vertebral artery in my neck from doing dead lifts, but after staying overnight in hospital I started feeling okay,” Chris said. “So I got up to make a cup of tea and as I was walking down the hallway I heard a noise behind me and I turned around suddenly and heard a bang like something had shot into my brain. “I started grabbing for my room, but couldn’t move and just lay on the floor – everything started closing in and it seemed like 20 people came running from all directions. “I could see and hear everyone around me and I could feel everything, but I couldn’t talk. I just wanted to say ‘knock me out’. “I was feeling pure fear.” About seven hours later Chris woke up in Royal North Shore Hospital having undergone brain surgery. Royal North Shore Hospital interventional neurologist Dr Alice Ma said Chris had experienced a brainstem stroke whereby the clot from the injured vertebral artery had broken off and lodged in his basilar artery. “His symptoms are what we called a ‘locked in syndrome’ where he had preserved awareness and consciousness but was completely unable to move, breath or talk,” Alice said “He was urgently retrieved to the Royal North Shore Hospital Neurointerventional suite where he had a successful mechanical thrombectomy of the brainstem.

Patient Chris Plastow at RNSH

“This procedure involves the placement of an access sheath in the femoral artery and guiding catheters directly to the brain. “We then deploy a specialised stentriever device directly into the basilar artery clot and used an aspiration catheter to remove the clot. This allows blood flow to be restored to the brain.” Alice said the radiology, ICU, anaesthetic teams, and the neurology team led by Associate Professor Martin Krause were crucial to the rapid coordination of Chris’ care and his excellent clinical outcome. Chris said he was told the chances of suffering the localised incident that he had is about two in 100,000. “I was lucky being where I was and having the support I had. I had an amazing surgeon and team to make sure everything was going to be okay,” Chris said. “I just want them to know how grateful my family and I are.”



Patients at the heart of Hornsby’s design

Patients are at the heart of Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital’s newly completed Clinical Services Building with special design features to aide their treatment and recovery evident throughout. Staff and patients have moved from their old departments in the George Lumby Building, Mary Giles and Geraghty wards into modern- purpose built departments housed in the six- storey building. To care for patients with dementia and delirium, 14 beds in one of the new medical wards have been made into safe spaces, where there is a “homely” feel given to the area to make patients feel more comfortable in their surroundings. Aged care experts, Professors Sue Kurrle and Professor Richard Fleming, Director of the NSW/ACT Dementia Training Study Centre, consulted in the design of the ward for dementia and delirium patients. Transition Manager Adrienne Stern said: “There’s a mixture of single or double rooms in an area they can safely walk around. Special features include calming wall colours, such as light green. “To make the area feel homely, there are also dining chairs and table, sofas and a lounge room.” For the first time, patients with dementia and delirium will be able to access an outdoor space as part of their recovery where there is a figure eight palm and succulent garden they can walk around, and a sensory herb garden. With research showing that art can be therapeutic for patients, calming art work is displayed in wards. Finalists from the hospital’s photography competition have been produced on vinyl and decorate the corridors. Adrienne said the hospital engaged Sydney artist, Thomas Jackson, to produce large

Artist Thomas Jackson

car from the outside of the building, which may prompt some to ask how it got there and why? The car’s placement is not by accident, but was painstakingly driven through the hospital to be parked in the rehabilitation outdoor therapy area. Adrienne said the car can be used as part of a patient’s rehabilitation learning daily life skills, such as packing shopping into the car’s boot, and getting in and out of a car. The expansion of the emergency department (ED) and construction of the main entrance is still underway, with the official opening planned later in the year.

murals on the walls in the outpatients department, as well outdoor murals in patients’ gardens.

“The paintings in outpatients not only look decorative and brighten the walls, but they act as way finding tools so people can say ‘turn left when you see the koala, for example’,” she said. And visitors to Hornsby will now see a Smart

Artist Kim Neil’s painting



You can change that! DONATE TODAY Scan the QR code or visit northfoundation.org.au/tax2021 Life-changing research and innovative ideas for better patient care going to waste.

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