NSLHD News December 6 2019

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


Macquarie’s new mural A stunning new mural will greet visitors to the Cameron Building at Macquarie Hospital after a lick of paint from an Aboriginal artist. Read more on Page 7

Theatre Cap Challenge Page 3

Hornsby and Ryde staff celebrate time in service Page 10 and 11

Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing


Message FROM the acting Chief executive Dr Tamsin Waterhouse

message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox

December has arrived, marking the end of a very exciting year across Northern Sydney Local Health District. Our performance continues to be among the best in the state, with our outstanding patient care on display every day across all of our hospitals and community health centres. Capital works at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai and Mona Vale hospitals are progressing well, with both set for an extremely exciting 2020. Just last week, imaging staff at Hornsby moved into their new home and so far reports have been glowing. Meanwhile, staff at Mona Vale are eagerly anticipating the completion of the Palliative Care and Geriatric Evaluation and Management buildings. Early planning for Ryde’s redevelopment is set to begin, while Royal North Shore Hospital is continuing to enhance its reputation as one of Australia’s best. This year also saw the district refocus its efforts on research, with the launch of the inaugural Research Strategy. I am incredibly proud of the clinicians, consumers and executives who helped create the strategy which will make a real difference to our patients and consumers lives. Our Mental Health Drug and Alcohol staff have again gone above and beyond in their care, with a number of initiatives, like the Ask the Question animation, proving very influential across the district.

Workforce and Culture has implemented programs geared towards making our district the best place it can possible be to work, with the introduction of the Compliment Portal as well as Speaking Up For Safety. I am extremely proud of all of you and your achievements throughout this year. I cannot wait to see what we can achieve in 2020. Never underestimate the effect you have on peoples’ lives every day. The festive season is just around the corner, and I hope you all have a much-deserved rest and special time with family and friends. I know many of you will be working and caring for your patients – I hope you still manage some family time and celebrations. If you are travelling please keep safe on the roads. I would like to thank you for your hard work, care and commitment and wish each of you a happy and safe festive season.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District


Kelly Sinclair CNE , Zouhdy Batshon Nurse Manager, Rebecca Fox CNC and Kylie Whitehorn NUM

new initiative capped as a sucess While names on theatre caps may seem like a simple idea, it is having great results for surgical teams at Royal North Shore Hospital thanks to their strong engagement. The project, which aims to improve culture and communication in the busy theatres environment, encourages all staff to label their cap with their name and their role – crucial information in a place with a large number of people and teams that are constantly changing. Clinical Director for Surgery and Anaesthesia Dr Michelle Mulligan said the initiative had been well received by staff and was having a positive impact on patient safety. “The analogy we like to make is to that of an airline crew; a team that knows its roles and responsibilities is a safe team, especially in emergencies,” she said. “Just like on a plane, everyone has a role to play in the theatre, and this is a really simple non-technical skill that enhances

communication and patient safety too.” Dr Mulligan said the names on caps were being noticed by patients, many of whom had commented how the labels had helped them feel more relaxed and comfortable on their hospital journey. “When everyone is dressed in scrubs, surgical caps and masks, it can be hard for staff to tell each other apart, let alone for patients,” she said. “Patients tell us being able to identify staff makes them feel more at ease and confident in asking questions about their care now they know who I who.” Staff working in theatres across the district are being encouraged to don their name and role on their cap in a small, yet effective way to improve practice. For more information on this project, please contact Zouhdy.Batshon@health.nsw.gov.au.

Staff getting into the #TheatreCapChallenge

RNSH staff strike a pose with their personalised theatre caps



midwife named top Mentor Starting any new career can be daunting, which is why mentors like Ellie Taylor are important. For Ellie, supporting her soon-to-be colleagues has always been an enjoyable experience, and she offered a couple of tips to those

Ellie Taylor

The newly crowned UTS Midwifery Mentor of the Year is the third RNSH midwife to scoop the award in the past three years. “Being a mentor is something that everybody in our team does,” she said. “One of our team members won this award last year, and another won it the year before so obviously we are doing something right. “It’s a really nice recognition (to win this award) because all the midwives do this work every day with the students and we’re all walking alongside them; it’s great that the students nominate us.”

looking to become a mentor. “Do it; do it generously and do it cheerfully,” Ellie said. “Since I’ve been working, I’ve loved working with students. I think it’s really important students work with enthusiastic midwives – I’m glad that I can do that for them.” Ellie might have claimed top billing, but seven other NSLHD midwives were also awarded Certification of Nomination. Congratulations to Amanda Liddell, Noni Joyce, June Payne, Kelsea Wills, Krista Gibson, Elise Matthews and Zoe Streatfeild on their nomination.

give a compliment this festive season It’s been a bumper year for the People and Culture Directorate, with the successful launch of Speaking up for Safety and the NSLHD Compliments Portal.

Health Learning and on the intranet, and I would like to encourage all staff to sign up to be part of the culture change.” Christine also encouraged staff to spread the cheer these holidays by sending a colleague a compliment through the Compliment Portal. “When reflecting on the year and all we have achieved, I’m sure we can all think of someone who has helped us, so why not send them a compliment to say thank you?” she said. More than 1000 compliments have been sent across NSLHD since portal launched in July 2019. “It’s just another little way of rewarding colleagues for the amazing work that they do every day,” Christine said. The compliment portal can be found in the quicklinks sections of the intranet home page.

Speaking up for Safety (SUFS) encourages all staff - clinical and non-clinical – to support each other to speak up about safety and quality at any time. Organisational Development and Talent Manager Christine Tait Lees said SUFS has gone from strength to strength and will be rolled out further in the New Year. “We now have more than 1600 people trained in SUFS; this is a fantastic start,” she said. “Thank you to those who have supported the program to date. Mona Vale and Ryde hospitals are on the journey with their trainers completing training in November to launch in early 2020. “Those training dates will be published in My


ed trip prompts school talk A trip to ED is never fun, but for nine-year-old Lucy, who paid a visit to Royal North Shore for a ‘bonk on the head’, it inspired her school speech. relief when told you can go home.

“Although hospitals might be scary to other people, it isn’t scary to me, my visit to the hospital was as good as it could be because of the kind well-trained people and great facilities at RNSH,” Lucy wrote. “Anything that you might need for treatment to make you better is included, no extra costs except parking

The Beauty Point Public School student was asked to write a speech about an issue close to her to give to her peers, and she chose her hospital experience. Lucy gave her classmates a brief rundown of what happens when arriving at Emergency, the tests she had to have as well as the

and mummy’s coffee. “How lucky are we?”

Lucy gives the thumbs up after a bump on the head

letter lauds patient care at Hornsby Hospital A letter of appreciation was received from a woman who had recently given birth at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital. The birth was complicated by a post-partum haemorrhage. “Four weeks ago, I gave birth to our beautiful daughter. I was under the wonderful care receive excellent care from our Midwife, and all the Midwives in the labour room, nursery and on the ward, the Obstetric, Anaesthetic, and ICU Drs and Nurses, but that each staff member we came across was so professional, caring and compassionate. Everyone made an effort to give us the extra care and

the follow-up period. The fast-acting Midwives and Obstetric Team Doctors, the Emergency, ICU and Anaesthetic teams in the labour room then Operating Theatre for getting me, and my husband, through this event. The Midwives in the nursery caring for our daughter who would bring her over to ICU every few hours and help me to feed and cuddle her. The kind and caring ICU Doctors and Nurses, and the supportive and nurturing midwives on the Maternity Ward who helped us with feeding and took the time to talk to me and to make sure my husband and I were OK. We have nothing but praise for the entire hospital, and it is important to us that this is made known to everyone who helped us, and to the upper management.” -Name withheld by request.

of a Midwife in the Group Midwifery Practice (GMP). Shortly after our baby was born, I experienced a severe postpartum haemorrhage in the labour room. I was then taken to the Operating Theatre and had an overnight stay in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) for monitoring. I am a Paediatric Intensive Care nurse with a background in anaesthetics. Whilst my recollection of the event is hazy, with my background I knew enough to know that my condition was serious, but also that I was getting all the care I needed. We feel that not only did I

support that we needed when we were feeling fragile after the event. While events like this may be witnessed by the staff on a regular basis, from an outside perspective we felt that the care and support we received was extraordinary. The whole of Hornsby Hospital seems to have a real community team feel and approach. We would like to acknowledge the hard work and care of: Our GMP Midwife, who showed personal care and professionalism from our very first meeting, displayed calm and professional care during the labour and compassion in



16 days of activism to end gender-based violence A ground-breaking new strategy to support staff facing domestic and family violence marked the launch of NSLHD’s 16 Days of Activism to end gender based violence. Under the Domestic and Family Violence Workplace Support Program, staff are able to receive paid domestic and family violence leave, will have access to flexible working arrangements as well as the establishment of Domestic Violence Contact Officers within NSLHD for assistance. It is all a part of the district’s commitment to ending gender-based violence, which was shown plenty of support with a strong turnout at the launch of the district’s 16 days campaign. Annual Public Meeting celebrates patients Thank you to the staff and visitors who attended the 2019 Annual Public Meeting, which this year’s theme was ‘Our patients, their stories.’ The event was well attended and staff from across the district made it to the Kolling

Mel Thomas, Mary Stewart, Deb Willcox, Peter Shine, Paula Williscroft and Robyn Laughton-Smith at the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism launch

Both told the crowd of their lived experience of domestic violence and the innovative ways they are helping others prevent it. For any queries, information or support relating to this issue please contact Robyn Laughton-Smith, Domestic Violence Coordinator on 9462 9266. For 24 hour support please contact the Domestic Violence Line on 1800 65 64 63.

Guest speakers and a special edition of Grand Rounds with the focus of sexual assault featured at the event, with the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team’s Anna Butler highlighting the prevalence and seriousness of domestic violence in NSW. She was followed by Mel Thomas, CEO and Founder of the KYUP! Project and Mel Wojtas, Voices for Change Advocate from Domestic Violence NSW.

Patient Sandy Eglin with CE Deb Willcox and Sandy’s daughter Maddy at the Annual Public Meeting

auditorium to hear from our guest speaker, Craig Hopper, whose moving talk on his wife’s experience brought a tear to many eyes in the audience.

If you would like to watch the video from the APM, keep an eye out for the intranet banner link.


Aboriginal artist Selwyn Williams and NSLHD Clinical Lead for Aboriginal Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Michelle Lawrence

mural a reminder of aboriginal culture at macquarie Macquarie Hospital’s Cameron Building has received some welcome attention thanks to a colourful specially-designed mural painted in the building’s foyer. you enter the building.

“The Welcome pieces at the centre of the mural were created by our MHDA consumers and were displayed here previously so this is a real collaboration. “The mural provides a constant reminder for staff coming to the building that we are all visitors to this land and acknowledge our elders past and present.” The mural is part of the process of making environments across NSLHD more culturally appropriate for our Aboriginal community but also many other cultures as well .

The mural was designed by Aboriginal artist Selwyn Williams who was commissioned to produce the artwork by staff from the district’s Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol service. NSLHD Clinical Lead for Aboriginal Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol, Michelle Lawrence, said the initiative came following the “Asking the Question” animation launch event. “Our mental health consumers tell us that some of our environments could be more welcoming and culturally appropriate, she said.” “Culture is everywhere and for Aboriginal people it is in the trees and the animals and this mural shows the tree of life and the tree of spirit. “Worimi” written on the left of the mural means ‘Hello’ in the local Dharug language and “Yaama” on the right also means ‘Hello’ in many other Aboriginal nations so we have “Hello – Welcome – Hello” across the wall as


NSLHD News is taking a break, but we will be back in 2020. You can still share your news, achievements and events with your District colleagues. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Dr Oliver Walsh, Katelyn Davis, Larissa Sirotti, Ashleigh McInnes, Helen Ganley, Dr Jonathan Gatward, Professor Len Notaras AM

ICU CLAIM HEALTHCARE STANDARDS HONOUR Congratulations to Dr Oliver Walsh, Dr Jonathan Gatward and Katelyn Davis and the team from Royal North Shore Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit who won a 2019 Australian Council of Healthcare Standards Quality Improvement Award. They won in the Healthcare Measurement category for their project titled ‘Reducing Inappropriate Arterial Blood Gas Testing in a Quaternary Intensive Care Unit.’ The ACHS QI Awards are Australia’s premier quality improvement awards for the health sector designed to keep quality improvement and innovation central to the healthcare safety agenda. Congratulations to all involved.

IMS+ IS COMING IN 2020 NSLHD will launch a new and improved incident management system ims+ on 17 February 2020 with support from eHealth throughout the transition. Preparations for this are currently underway with the NSLHD ims+ team working closely with the eHealth project team. The transition to the new system will be supported by comprehensive training and go- live support. Benefits of ims+ include it being quicker and easier to use, only one form for all incident types, and one system captures all data on incidents and consumer feedback. ims+ is accessible through your StaffLink ID and notifiers can receive feedback on their incident. ims+ automatically generates the severity/harm rating and the platform available anywhere, anytime.

Training will be a blend of online modules in My Health Learning, classroom sessions and webinars. Your role in the incident process will determine the level of training required. Notifier training is suitable for all staff, while manager/ reviewer training is required for NUMs, Heads of Departments or any position that is responsible for managing incidents. Notifier training is an e-learning module, and is currently available in My Health Learning. It is mandatory for all staff to complete this training Manager/Reviewer training is available as a classroom session and an online learning option. Classroom sessions will start from 20 January 2020. For more information please visit the ims+ intranet page or contact the NSLHD team via NSLHD-IIMS@health.nsw.gov. au


Calls for chronic pain to become a national health priority A team of researchers

from the Pain Management Research Institute joined international speakers at a symposium in Sydney addressing the complex challenges of deprescribing opioids for chronic pain. Social psychologist Dr Claire Ashton-James said one in five Australians live with chronic pain and until recently, many relied on opioid medications, such as oxycodone, codeine and tramadol. “There’s been a major shift in treatment advice in recent years, with recognition that opioids offer little long- term benefit and come with significant risks,” she said. “Stopping opioid use however is easier said than done. Many patients fear their pain will become unbearable and doctors find it difficult to explain to patients why opioid medications are no longer recommended. “Patients must be provided with strategies to help them cope as part of a multi-disciplinary pain management approach. This Pink ladies awarded by local mp Royal North Shore Hospital’s Pink Ladies were recognised by the Federal Member for North Sydney Trent Zimmerman at the fourth

A/Professor Paul Wrigley, Professor Paul Glare and Dr Claire Ashton-James

includes regular exercise and physiotherapy, nutrition planning, pain education, and the use of cognitive and behavioural strategies to help manage pain flare ups. “We need to raise community awareness of chronic pain, increase pain education across the healthcare system and provide better access to non- pharmacological approaches to pain management.” Those comments have been echoed by Associate Professor Paul Wrigley, a pain medicine specialist physician and Kolling researcher.

“Reducing a person’s reliance on opioids as a primary way of managing their pain is important, but the complexities of each person’s situation need to be considered and extra support offered where necessary. “There are many easily accessible, practical resources to guide healthcare professionals, such as the ACI Pain Management Network Opioid Quicksteps, however more promotion of these resources is needed.”

annual North Sydney Community Awards.

The Pinkies were awarded for their “outstanding service to

the community”. Well done Ladies!



celebrating time in service at Ryde and hkh Staff from Ryde and Hornsby Hospitals have celebrated their time in service, with some outstanding milestones clocked up at both sites.

Olwyn Cox and Leonie Leggo are presented their 40 years of service certificates by General Manager Lee Gregory

Jane Kelleher (35 years) and Maria Manna

Ramani Ranjitkumar and Jennifer Smith celebrating 20 and 25 years respectively

25 years of service

Alison Stilwell celebrates 35 years of service

The 20 years of service crew


The 15 years of service group

Cynthia Lam (10 years) and Drew Hilditch-Roberts

25 years

General Manager Heather Gough presents Deborah Woodgate and Teresa Buanne with their 30 years of service certificates

Matthew Noone presents Gary McNeil with his certificate celebrating 45 years of service


JMO report card is in Northern Sydney Local Health District’s report card from the ASMOF/AMA Hospital Health Check 2019 is among the best in the state. NSLHD achieved an overall B grade from its JMOs, ahead of the NSW average of C. Morale and Culture for the district scored an A grade, ahead of the state’s B average. Access to leave also ranked a B, still ahead of the state average of C, while wellbeing was awarded a C – better than the D given to NSW. Overtime and rostering and education and training recorded a C and a B, which is inline with the state score. Overall, six LHDs scored a B mark, with none recording an A. “These results are very encouraging, especially the A for morale and culture,” Deputy Chair of the JMO Wellbeing Board Committee Dr Nims Hettiarachchi said.

“Our JMO Wellbeing Board Committee is committed to continuing to improve our working environment and we certainly welcome any feedback from our colleagues. “We know we can improve and we’re looking forward to the New Year, welcoming a fresh round of Junior Medical Officers and new ideas as we work towards A in other categories, especially wellbeing.” Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital achieved a B overall, clocking up As in morale and culture and access to leave and two Bs in overtime and rostering and Education and training. Rounding out its results was receiving a C in wellbeing. Royal North Shore also achieved a B overall, with an A in morale and culture, Bs in access to leave and education and training, with Cs in overtime and rostering and wellbeing completing its report card.

Antibiotic awareness week Pharmacy staff were out in force, spreading the word about the importance of antimicrobial stewardship during Antibiotic Awareness Week.

of unnecessarily broad spectrum antibiotics can drive antimicrobial resistance. It has identified by World Health Organization (WHO) as ‘one of the biggest threats to global health’.

Antimicrobial resistance has a direct effect on patient care and can increase patients’ length of hospital stay and severity of patient illness.

Overuse and misuse


Above: The Dignity Tree in the District Executive filled up fast. Right: Ryde Hospital Director of Nursing Drew Hilditch-Roberts, General Manager Heather Gough with Dignity CEO Suzanne Hopman and Clinical Redesign Manager Deb Stewart.

plenty of success for dignity It’s been an incredible month for our workplace

accommodation this holiday season.

giving charity partner Dignity, claiming the coveted Telstra Business of the Year title, the first ever not-for-profit to do so. The monumental success began with Dignity being winning the Social Change Maker category on the same evening. Dignity CEO Suzanne Hopman said the award would only further strengthen their commitment to those experiencing or at risk of homelessness. “We have so much more to be done and know that we will use this award to shine a light on people experiencing homelessness,” she said. NSLHD helped celebrate Dignity’s success with a wildly successful inaugural Christmas with Dignity campaign. Donations flowed in across the hospitals, with goodies and essentials sure to spread some festive cheer among those experiencing homelessness or in need of crisis

“We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the NSLHD staff and extremely thankful for their donations,” Suzanne said. “I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year and thank everyone who donated to or signed up to workplace giving; your contributions are making a positive difference to those in need.” Workplace Giving is one of the most simple and convenient ways for working Australians to donate to a charity, connect with important social issues as a team and make a real difference. All donations are taken out of your pay before it is taxed. For more information on workplace giving in NSLHD and Dignity, please visit the intranet here.


Caroline Kelly, Professor Jas Samra, CE Deb Willcox, Professor Nick Pavlakis, Avner CEO Michelle Stewart and former patient Kristin Washbourne

Partnering with Avner The Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation and Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD) are collaborating to further translate cutting edge medical research and treatment into evidence-based clinical practice for patients with pancreatic cancer. The chance of surviving pancreatic cancer after five years is only 9.8 per cent compared to a person with prostate cancer who has a 95 per cent chance. In 2019 there will be an estimated 3051 deaths from pancreatic cancer in Australia. With world-leading pancreatic cancer specialists based at Royal North Shore Hospital, the collaboration between the Avner Foundation and NSLHD is aimed at supporting clinicians to better deliver the best patient care and treatment. At the launch of the partnership held at the Kolling Institute, NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said the district had a long and proud history of being leaders in treatment of pancreatic cancer. “Medical research and evidence-based practice by the specialist multi-disciplinary team of clinicians is at the core of developing better techniques and treatments for pancreatic cancer management,” Ms Willcox said. “By building on existing clinical strengths

and developing a centre of excellence with leading clinicians we can continue to improve our coordinated, strategic approach to the care and treatment provided to patients with pancreatic cancer. “Ensuring strong partnerships with other organisations is also essential if we are to translate the benefits of our clinical expertise to patients and our community.” The Avner Foundation, established in 2008 and named after Avner Nahmani, is focused on dramatically increasing pancreatic cancer survival rates and is the only foundation in Australia exclusively dedicated to improving outcomes for those affected by pancreatic cancer. Avner Pancreatic Cancer Foundation CEO, Michelle Stewart said international and national research has found that patients achieve the best outcomes when treated at high-volume centres, with a multidisciplinary team approach and cancer care coordinators. “We look forward to working with the world class multi-disciplinary team at RNSH to improve patient treatment options and outcomes. We want to broaden our Foundation’s collaboration to ensure that no matter where patients are they can have access to the best outcomes.”


Jessica Ford, Michelle Kleiner, Danielle Stone, Patricia Schlotfeldt, Julia Kwiet and Dijana Dragicevich were among the award winners from the North Shore Ryde Allied Health Symposium

Allied health staff turn out for symposium The North Shore Ryde Allied Health Symposium proved Outside The Box’.

guest speakers Vicki Flood, Laurie McKinnon and Mark Hancock as well as a fiery topical debate on ‘The Biopsychosocial Transmission and Impact of Trauma’. The day was a big success and the committee would like to congratulate all presenters and applaud the category and overall winners.

The symposium showcased the hard work of the entire allied health team and gave each discipline an insight into the role and scope of colleagues, as well as the opportunity to share emerging ideas for change and clinical improvement.

Celebrating Genetic counsellors day Genetic counsellors from across the district and beyond recently celebrated Genetic Counsellor Awareness Day. Genetic counsellors are allied health professionals who have specialised training and research projects being completed by fellow allied health professionals, inspired by this year’s theme ‘Thinking a hit, with staff from both hospitals and community health centres turning out for the 2019 event. The day was focused on showcasing quality improvement, innovation

Attendees also had the opportunity to listen to

to help individuals, couples and families understand and adapt to the many implications of the genetic contribution to specific health conditions.

To learn more about Genetic Counsellors, you can see the Australian Society of Genetic Counsellors website (hgsa.org.au/asgc/asgc).


Festival of Music DECEMBER 9th - 13th

RNSH FOYER 11am to 2pm Daily

Celebrate the festive season with a week of lunchtime musical performances bringing song and cheer to the Royal North Shore Hospital

Brought to you by the Royal North Shore Hospital Arts & Heritage Committee

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