NSLHD News July 22

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


Main story Short blurb quality and improvement awards Celebrating staff that make a real and positive difference to the lives of our patients, consumers, and their families and carers.

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volunteers spread joy during rns covid exposure Page 3

covid vaccination milestone Page 6


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Over the past 18 months COVID-19 has been demanding and difficult for all of us. The continued rise in cases in NSW reaffirms what I already knew, and that is your adaptability to ensure we can continue to provide high quality safe care. Unfortunately the majority of COVID-19 cases are still in the Fairfield, Liverpool and Canterbury-Bankstown Local Government Areas. I would like to thank our staff who live in these areas for your understanding following the announcement requiring you to be tested for COVID-19 before coming to work. As transmission of the virus in workplaces remains a key concern, I am grateful to those of you who have been able to transition to working from home. The changes for staff who are able to continue working in our hospitals, such as limiting interaction and mixing of employees, mandatory mask wearing indoors, and not attending work if you have any cold-like symptoms, can be tough, but are crucial to limiting any potential risk. I would like to remind you all that healthcare workers and their household contacts and family members remain a priority for COVID-19 vaccinations in our district. It is really pleasing that currently more than 90 per cent of our staff have had either one or both doses of a COVID-19 vaccination, but we are still committed to ensuring everyone who is yet to have a vaccine can do so if they choose. I strongly encourage you to continue coming forward for the vaccine – it is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones and our community. This is a hard time for all of us – both at home and work – and I thank everyone for your efforts and contribution to keeping our staff, patients and community safe. The results are in for our new 2021 Patient Safety Culture Survey. The results tell us

a lot about our performance, culture and values, our relationships and how we go about our work. Your feedback recognised what we are already doing well, but also areas where we can do better. It was really pleasing to see results showing NSLHD has a strong safety focus, supported by our managers and supervisors. We see that team culture is a strength and there is a strong sense of comfort to speak up. Ninety per cent of you would recommend your hospital or service to a friend or family member. This result speaks volumes about our culture. We had a high response rate of 37 per cent and I would like to thank those of you who took the time to respond to the survey – it says a lot about your commitment to our district and most of all, our patients. I always look forward to celebrating the impressive work you are doing across our district and while we navigate this challenging period, it is so important to continue to celebrate and recognise your successes. Our Quality and Improvement Awards put a spotlight on the hard work and delivery of programs and services which have made a real difference to the patients and families we care for. This year due to COVID-19 restrictions we were unable to go ahead with our award ceremony event. It is disappointing we could not celebrate these great achievements together, but I encourage you all to visit the NSLHD website – https://bit. ly/3xYpfrh – to find out more about each of our impressive winners and finalists. Congratulations to all of our winners and finalists – you are such an inspiring group of people who achieve so much every day in the work you do. Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Staff with care packs at the paediatric ward

Volunteers spread joy during Rns COVID exposure They may not be onsite, but volunteers at Royal North Shore Hospital safe way. As well as care packages, iPads were also distributed by the hospital to locked

staff,” she said. “Our volunteers play such an integral role at our hospital and the recent challenges we experienced further proves that. “I would also like to thank our allied health staff for putting the packs together and delivering them to the wards, and everyone else who played a role in keeping our patients and staff safe.”

rallied during the recent COVID-19 exposure to provide patients and staff with care packs. Led by the Corner Shop’s Anne Greene, with the people power of Allied Health, the locked down wards were provided with a much needed source of entertainment and joy via the packages. Items were cleared from the Corner Shop’s shelves, including confectionary, magazines, colouring books and puzzle books, books, wool and knitting needles as well as kids’ activities, with allied health collating and distributing the packages in a COVID-

down wards to ensure patients who could not be discharged were able to speak to loved ones and be entertained for the entirety of the isolation period. Hospital General Manager Alison Zecchin said it was heart-warming to see so many people get involved to support those impacted by the COVID-19 exposure. “I would like to say a heartfelt thanks to Anne and the volunteers at the Corner Shop who generously donated her stock, which allowed us to distribute the welfare packs for patients and

A nurse handing out care packs

NORTH FOUNDATION TAX APPEAL SUCCESS Northern Sydney Local Health District’s charity partner the NORTH Foundation has reported its most successful tax appeal to date. The appeal generous contributions from grateful patients, their families and the community.

generosity to thrive. The team would like to express their thanks to you, our healthcare workers, for your hard work, your commitment to patients and for spreading the word about the NORTH Foundation. You can follow the NORTH Foundation on Instagram @north.foundation or Twitter @north_fndn to stay up to date with all upcoming activities.

“Many of our donors are your grateful patients and they have contributed to something very special. “Their donations will have a positive effect on so many lives in the Northern Sydney Local Health District and beyond. The NORTH Foundation relies on people’s

has raised $336,000 to fund more innovative research and life-changing patient care within the district. NORTH Foundation CEO Gilbert Lorquet said: “We had our most successful appeal yet, thanks to



2021 quality and improvement awards This year due to COVID-19 restrictions the 2021 Quality and Improvement Awards ceremony event was unable to go ahead. The awards are a special event to celebrate staff that make a real and positive difference to the lives of our patients, consumers, and their families and carers. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said: “It is disappointing we could not celebrate these great achievements together, but I encourage you all to visit the NSLHD website to find out more about each of our impressive winners and finalists. “To our winners and finalists, congratulations - you are such an inspiring group of people who achieve so much every day in the work you do.”

Transforming the Patient Experience



Delivering Vale Based Integrated Care End of Life Symbol Palliative Care, Northern Sydney Local Health District

Meals Matter - Champions of Choice @ Macquarie NSLHD and HealthShare



The Deteriorating Resident Clinical Decision Tool (DETECT) Website, The Aged Care Rapid Response Team (ARRT), Beaches Rapid Access Care of the Elderly (BRACE) and Geriatric Rapid Acute Care Evaluation (GRACE)

Reversing Frailty at Ryde, Community Aged Care and Rehabilitation Service (CAReS)

Ryde Hospital

Excellence in Supporting the Mental Health of Patients and Consumers



Earning our Stripes – A journey into culture improvement in the Adult Mental Health Unit Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Mental Health Service

Improving Carer Connection

Ryde Acute Team, North Shore Ryde Mental Health Service



Recovery and Resilience

Keeping People Healthy Award



Tobacco Dependence Management in a Smoke-Free Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Service, Inpatient Drug and Alcohol Service, Royal North Shore Hospital

Delivering Paediatric Speech Pathology via Telehealth with a COVID push, Speech Pathology, Child Youth and Family, Primary and Community Health

Local Solutions


Stepping On: Community Falls Prevention Program, COVID PIVOT NSLHD Health Promotion


The ARRT of Telehealth, Aged Care Rapid Response team, Royal North Shore Ryde Service

Patient Safety First


Towards Zero Falls @ Ryde, Falls Collaborative Ryde Hospital


PIONEER: Improving access and care pathway for patients receiving radiation therapy for palliation by removing CT simulation, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre, NSLHD Cancer and Palliative Care Network A Time to Care – Supporting our CORE Casual Nursing Staff in Hornsby Mental Health, Mental Health Inpatient Units, Hornsby Hospital Supporting our People and Culture


Glucose Control Team: A proactive hospital-based initiative to improve glycaemic control in surgical inpatients, Glucose Control Team, Royal North Shore Hospital


Improving Patient Flow in an Outpatient Setting, Outpatient Project Team for Patient Queue Management System, Hornsby Hospital




Staff at Hornsby Hospital celebrating the vaccination milestone

Vaccination milestone More than 10,000 people

It takes a lot of people to run the vaccination hubs with a team of nurses, pharmacists, doctors, administration, cleaners and security manning our three hubs at Hornsby, Mona Vale and Royal North Shore hospitals. Congratulations to everyone who has played a part. To check your eligibility and book a vaccination, go to the Eligibility Checker on the Australian Government

Health Department website www.health.gov.au. The best way to book an appointment is via the eligibility checker at www. health.gov.au. Our COVID-19 vaccination hubs are unable to take bookings directly or accept walk-ins. If you can’t find an available appointment, keep checking every few days as vaccine supply increases and more appointments become available. another team or work area. The NSLHD Clinical Governance Unit has undertaken a PSCS Roadshow, with facility and service specific results provided to all sites and services. Senior management teams will work with local staff to analyse the data, feedback the results locally and develop next steps, while the district will also develop strategies to support in tandem. Both levels are important to continue building on NSLHD’s strong culture for staff and providing the very best care to patients and the community.

have now been fully vaccinated through Northern Sydney Local Health District vaccination hubs. And a further 20,000 people have received a first dose of vaccine so that’s over 30,000 doses of vaccines our hardworking nurses have administered. Thank you to those community members, our staff and agency partners who have rolled up their sleeves to get the jab to protect us from COVID-19.

patient safety culture survey results Northern Sydney Local Health District’s excellent culture has become clear for all to see, with more than 72 per cent of NSLHD staff rating patient safety as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ in the recent Patient Safety Culture Survey (PSCS). It was the first in a number agreed that during busy times, staff work together to help each other. The survey has also given the district a number of area where improvements can be made, including further developing a culture of learning.

Currently, 62 per cent of staff do not feel like their mistakes are held against them, meaning there is potential to improve. Patient handover was also a focus, with 70 per cent agreeing that important patient care information is not left out during handover or shift changes, while 59 per cent agreed it was not left out when transferring a patient to

of positive results, with 90 per cent of NSLHD staff saying they would recommend family or friends to be treated by our health service. The PSCS demonstrated that teamwork was a NSLHD strength. 89 per cent of staff agreed that they work effectively together as a team in their unit, and 87 per cent



Researchers to improve diagnosis for genetic disorders Kolling Institute researchers will drive a large, national research project to improve diagnostic rates for those with mitochondrial diseases and broaden treatment pathways.

A $3 million grant from the Medical Research Future Fund is being invested in the project, which will involve clinicians, researchers and diagnostic scientists from a host of organisations including the Kolling and the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Kolling Executive Director and project clinical lead Professor Carolyn Sue has welcomed the funding, saying the study will use the latest genome sequencing technology to help diagnose those with mitochondrial diseases. “This technology will build on our earlier research which demonstrated that whole genome sequencing was the best way to identify these diseases,” she said. “In recent years, new DNA technologies have increased our ability to diagnose mitochondrial diseases by more than doubling the detection rate of genetic mutations in affected patients. “Importantly, we anticipate this new approach combined with omic technologies will raise diagnostic rates to over 70 per cent. “This landmark

Dr Ryan Davis

improvement will lead to more patients being diagnosed, opening up more effective treatment pathways and crucially, improving long-term health outcomes.” The technology will offer greater support with family planning and prevent some diseases from being passed on from generation to generation. “Mitochondrial diseases are very difficult to diagnose, and in some cases it has taken many decades for an accurate diagnosis to be confirmed. “I’m really pleased to be leading our talented, multi-disciplinary

any organ in the body. “That’s why this research is so important and has a great potential to make a significant improvement to many people’s lives, and not just their lives, but their children’s lives as well.” The project is a collaborative study also involving Kolling researcher Dr Ryan Davis and teams from the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, Telethon Kids Institute, the University of Melbourne, Monash University, Queensland Children’s Hospital and the Mito Foundation.

clinical team on this project, which may offer support to a large number of people. “Mitochondrial diseases can have a devastating impact on individuals and their families. The disease robs people of their energy and can affect

Professor Carolyn Sue



Register like a life depends on it.

Grab your phone and Medicare card , it takes one minute to check you’re registered as an organ and tissue donor. Visit donatelife.gov.au

Ellie received a life-saving heart transplant thanks to a donor.

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