NSLHD News 23 June 2023


Main story Short blurb new renal dialysis unit at hornsby Patients have spoken of their joy of the new renal dialysis unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, which is saving hours in travel time for many. Page 3 Read more on Page x

Kuring-gai Local Area Command’s Employee of the Month Page 7



Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

As we come to the end of the financial year we should pause to reflect on all the amazing outcomes that have been achieved within the district over the past twelve months, not just for patients and their families but also for our remarkable and dedicated staff in their professional and personal lives. The sort of success that we enjoy in the district and the district’s reputation for excellence and an exemplary culture and as an employer of choice are very much the product of the district’s leadership and the tone that is set by the district’s leadership. Our former Chief Executive Deb Willcox left behind a very strong and disciplined leadership team that was able to carry on and take forward her good work. For the past nine months, Lee Gregory has been the district’s Interim Chief Executive. The district did not skip a single beat in the handover from Deb to Lee. And even more impressively, the district has continued to thrive and to set the pace across the State under Lee’s leadership. I have very much enjoyed working with Lee, from visiting community health centres, opening new facilities and greeting Ministers, as well as the more mundane tasks of preparing for Board meetings, reporting on KPIs to the Ministry, reviewing risk registers and dealing with the ongoing staffing challenges arising from COVID. Seldom would a day pass without a telephone call and of course there was the regular Friday morning catch-up. Lee is by nature a quiet achiever, not someone who blows his own trumpet. But he has every right to do so. He is a strong and effective manager, he always keeps well on top of issues, he can cut through issues

quickly to get to what really matters and his decency and empathy are his hallmarks. I have also admired Lee for his vision and energy in taking the district forward in a number of key areas including data analytics, planetary health and sustainability, and diversity and inclusion. And behind the scenes much has been done by Lee to strengthen our university partnerships, our joint activities with the Primary Health Network and addressing some legacy issues relating to the RNSH campus. Working with Lee over the past nine months has been a pleasure for me. His professionalism has made my job easier. Lee will be taking off the month of July to visit family in the UK. We all wish Lee a well-deserved holiday. When Lee returns he will resume his substantive role of NSLHD Executive Director Operations. During Lee’s absence, and until Anthony Schembri commences on 17 July 2023, Mark Zacka will be Acting Chief Executive.

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



Minister for Health Ryan Park tours the new renal dialysis unit

Patients happy at new renal dialysis unit at Hornsby Patients have spoken of their joy of the new renal dialysis unit at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, which is saving hours in travel time for many.

“This is the first time in the hospital’s history that it has been able to offer this life saving service and it will make such a difference to lives of patients, their families and carers. “We thank the clinicians at the Royal North Shore Hospital and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital who through working collaboratively have brought this new service to life.” Patients can receive their treatment – usually three times per week – close to home, instead of needing to travel to other hospitals. The new unit has already provided 1150 dialysis treatments since opening for 20 patients who were receiving high-quality care at their local hospital. Dr Gregory Crosland was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his service to dermatology, particularly for patients in rural areas. He worked as a specialist dermatologist for over 30 years and was Head of the Department of Dermatology at Royal North Shore Hospital. Visiting Medical Officer for ophthalmology at RNSH, Dr Brett O’Donnell, received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for his service to ophthalmology.

The unit is a satellite dialysis unit of Royal North Shore Hospital and provides patients with nursing and renal management, which is available six days a week. Minister for Health Ryan Park visited the unit recently and was impressed with the new service that is being provided for the first time at the hospital. “I am delighted that residents of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai who need renal dialysis can now have this life-saving treatment closer to home,” he said. honours in the King’s Birthday Honours List. Professor Michael Tonkin was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to medicine as a hand surgeon, and to professional associations. A former head of department of hand surgery, Michael is now the consultant emeritus to the department, a position he has held since 2013.

King’s Birthday Honours for RNSH doctors Dedicating years of service to care for patients has earned two RNSH doctors



Small Bites for Big Steps videos will support kids have the best start to life

Small Bites for Big Steps: Empowering Educators in First 2000 days

Northern Sydney Early Childhood Educators have a new resource to support them help children get the healthiest start to life. The Small Bites for Big Steps video suite was developed by Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Early Years Population Health Promotion team, with expert contribution from the Child, Youth and Family Health Service. Nicole Tate, Early Years Program Manager said the first 2000 days, or first five years, of life is crucial for children to develop healthy habits and be more likely to grow into healthy teenagers and adults. “The Small Bites for Big Steps video suite gives educators, and families, practical tips and ideas on how to enhance physical development and encourage healthy behaviours across three age groups; 0 to 18 months, 18 months to three years and three years to five years,” Nicole said. “Educators in Early Childhood Education and Care Centres are often the people who spend the most time with children outside of their family, so they can have a very influential and key role in promoting and encouraging these healthy habits. “In fact, it was the educators themselves who identified the need for short, accessible, and trusted information that the videos provide. We are excited to develop a resource to meet their needs.”

teaching practices is such an important part of the initiative,” Nicole said. Paul Klarenaar, Director Population and Planetary Health, said the First 2000 Days Framework is a pivotal policy document for NSW Health. “This engaging and informative video suite is a game changer for addressing key parts of the policy,” Paul said. “The videos also support the NSW Health Healthy Eating and Active Living Strategy by empowering the viewer to share and implement the strategies suggested.” While the videos are targeted at teachers, educators, families and carers, all health professionals working with children aged 0 to five years are encouraged to share these videos with their clients and community groups. For more information on the Small Bites for Big Steps Video Series or Professional Development Packages, visit: nshp.com. au/SmallBitesBigSteps, email NSLHD- SmallBitesforBigSteps@health.nsw.gov.au or phone 8797 7298.

The videos have also been used to develop professional development courses for educators, including three courses that are NSW Education Standards Authority accredited. “Providing educators with free professional development to aid their

Health Promotion Officer Cara gets ready to present the next video topic



Professor David Hunter

Research questions the value of injectable medications for osteoarthritis Researchers at the Kolling Institute are

“Individuals with osteoarthritis need to be encouraged to manage their condition using behaviour and lifestyle interventions in the knowledge that the development of disease- modifying drugs might still be some way away,” he said. “Some of the evidence-based treatments include doing exercises that strengthen the physiotherapist or an exercise physiologist trainer to learn how to strengthen those muscles.” David said staying active and losing weight, if you are carrying extra kilos, are also important steps that can make a difference. “We know that losing five per cent of body weight can improve joint pain and function by 30 per cent,” he said. “This can have a significant impact.” Research indicates cortisone injections can be used for short-term relief but not a long- term solution. “One injection may be fine but repeat steroid injections appear to increase the risk of progressing the disease,” David said. More information on treatments and the latest advice can be found on websites including Arthritis Australia, My Joint Pain and Joint Action. muscles around the affected joint. “We recommend working with a

encouraging those with osteoarthritis to rely on treatments with a proven track record and avoid quick fixes without the data to show they work. The comments follow a steady rise in osteoarthritis cases nationally, with around three million Australians now living with the condition, and many forced to retire early. The rise in cases has coincided with strong interest in injectable medications, particularly for knee osteoarthritis, such as hyaluronic acid, stem cells and platelet-rich plasma. But Royal North Shore Hospital rheumatologist and world leading osteoarthritis researcher Professor David Hunter said there wasn’t the data to show these injections work. “The hyaluronic acid injections are no better than a saltwater injection, but they will cost you a lot more, while we just don’t have good enough evidence for the stem cell injections or the platelet-rich plasma,” said the University of Sydney researcher. David is disappointed the latest evidence on treatments is not filtering through to consumers and new resources are not reaching those with osteoarthritis. He would like to see a stronger focus on the core treatments which work.



RNSH SONOGRAPHER AWARDED TOP HONOUR Royal North Shore Hospital sonographer Linda Thebridge has received the Australian Sonographer Association Award for NSW Sonographer of the Year for 2023. Linda is the section chief of the vascular ultrasound unit at the hospital and is currently

completing her PhD at The University of Sydney investigating the use of intra- operative ultrasound in renal transplant surgery. She said it was a huge honour to receive the accolade. “You can’t go above and beyond without working with good people – this award isn’t just for me, but the whole team,” Linda said. Linda and the team at the vascular ultrasound unit cover a range of dedicated specialties including acute spinal patients, severe burns, trauma, reconstructive plastic surgery, neonatal intensive care, vascular and cardiovascular surgery, and oncology. “I am passionate about turning quality research into clinical outcomes and am currently investigating the effectiveness of the protocol I have developed and implemented in my determination that ultrasound should be used in the interests of best patient outcomes,” Linda said. Associate Professor of Medical Imaging at the University of Sydney Dr Jillian Clarke supported Linda’s nomination for the award. “It takes a special sonographer to have the CELEBRATING OUR CLEANERS HealthShare NSW’s Gregorio Mendellin strives to provide the highest standard of care every shift as team coordinator for patient support services in the emergency department at Royal North Shore Hospital. “There is nothing more satisfying than seeing patients get discharged, happy and thanking you on the way out,” Gregorio said. To celebrate International Cleaners Day earlier this month, Gregorio is shining a light on his team. “No matter how busy it is in ED, our cleaners ensure that the ward is safe, presentable and well-resourced to ensure patients are getting the best possible care,” Gregorio said. “People come into ED stressed, not well, and with a lot of uncertainty. “The protection cleaners bring to patients in ensuring that they do not get an infection while admitted to hospital is a massive task that, as a cleaner in any hospital, we should be extremely proud of.”

2023 NSW Sonographer of the Year Linda Thebridge

courage to stand strong amongst a team of surgeons and use your ultrasound expertise to guide them in theatre, and Linda excels at this and teaches others to do so,” Jillian said. “Linda is passionate about contributing to the profession, regularly trains sonography students, and fosters research in her department.”

Gregorio with RNSH ED Nurse Manager Bryan McKee-Hata

RNSH Emergency Department Nurse Manager Bryan Mckee-Hata said: “Gregorio has transformed the logistics and cleaning domain in the ED. He is a star.”



mental health nurse named nsw police kuring-gai local area command employee of the month Emily Knight doesn’t wear a blue uniform and she

doesn’t arrest anyone, but she has just been named NSW Police Kuring-gai Local Area Command’s Employee of the Month. Emily is a mental health nurse but instead of working in a hospital, she works out of the police station as part of program to have mental health workers as first responders with police. As part of the PACER program – a collaboration with NSW Police, NSW Ambulance and NSW

Health – a clinician attends with police at the point of crisis and can assist with de-escalation, conduct a meatal health assessment, offer reassurance, support and provides clinical leadership, directions and alternative approach. “Working with Kuring-gai Local Area Command has been the most rewarding experience of my career,” Emily said. “The police have been very welcoming and receptive of mental health clinicians within their service; and mental health has become an integral part of their team. “They have been extremely supportive of the PACER program and have shown a keen interest to learn and enhance their mental health knowledge, including how to approach different scenarios to achieve positive

Emily Knight named NSW Police Kuring-gai Local Area Command’s Employee of the Month

outcomes.” Northern Sydney Local Health District has mental health clinicians working at Hornsby and Dee Why police stations. Being acknowledged by her police colleagues, Emily said, was a humbling experience. “I feel very honoured and appreciated by my police colleagues. I have been told it is unheard of and the first time a civilian was awarded the Employee of the Month within the police organisation,” she said. “This makes a profound achievement and humbling experience.”

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