NSLHD News Feb 25

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


Main story Short blurb Celebrating surgical research, innovation and quality improvment Philanthropic donations make surgical awards possible. Read more on Pages 6 and 7 Read more on Page x

welcoming our newest nurses Page 3

New graduate management trainees welcomed Page 4


Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

The Board recently held its Strategy Day to start the process for the preparation of the NSLHD 2022-2027 Strategic Plan. Only a handful of initiatives and priorities from the current strategic plan, which expires this year, have not been completed. This is a terrific result, all the more impressive given the complexity and impact of the pandemic. The Board spent considerable time looking to see what is working well from the current strategic plan and should be preserved, and what new strategies and themes need to be considered. Our plan will continue to focus on people- centred care and patient engagement; workforce planning; and research and innovation; with a new emphasis on planetary health and sustainability; partnerships and collaboration; and lessons learnt from COVID-19. With your input, the Board hopes that the NSLHD 2022-2027 Strategic Plan will be finalised and launched in or around July 2022. It was wonderful to attend the Ray Hollings Surgical Excellence Award and the Harry Cumberland Travelling Scholarship Awards Night. The event was hosted by the RNSH Surgical Education Research & Training (SERT) Institute. These awards have been made possible thanks to extremely generous donations by and in the name of Dr Ray Hollings AM and Dr Harry Cumberland AM. Dr Hollings was a general surgeon at RNSH for over 60 years. He served as chair of the NSW Committee of the College of

Surgeons. Dr Cumberland was a highly distinguished gastroenterologist for over 40 years at RNSH. He was the first chair of the Department of Gastroenterology and retired as Head of the Department of Surgery. Drs Hollings and Cumberland were great friends and shared consulting rooms at RNSH. Dr Hollings was able to tune in to event via a live stream and members of Dr Cumberland’s family were able to attend the event. I congratulate the recipients of the 2022 Ray Hollings Surgical Excellence Award; Dr David Marshman (cardiothoracic surgeon at RNSH) and Dr Mike Symes (orthopaedic surgeon at RNSH). I’d also like to congratulate the recipient of the Harry Cumberland Travelling Scholarship, Dr Geoffrey Wong (surgical research fellow, upper gastrointestinal surgical unit at RNSH) and finalist Dr Krishna Kotecha. A great deal of progress has been made in recent years in enhancing the focus of our surgeons on education, research and training and in successfully pursuing partnerships and collaborations within the district and beyond. We should admire and thank colleagues like Drs Hollings and Cumberland for their legacy and their generosity, and their pioneering achievements, and be motivated by them to strengthen our alumni networks. Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



A handful of the nurses and midwives starting their career in 2022

2022’ s FIRST INTAKE OF NEW GRAD NURSES, midwives JOIN NSLHD The first intake of the 2022 cohort of graduate nurses set them up for success into their future career.

hospitals and health facilities this year in a major boost for the NSW Health system. NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris said it is great to have the new graduates on board. “It is an exciting time for our newest nurses and midwives as they embark on their careers,” she said. “While these graduates join us after a challenging two years due to the pandemic, I know the skills and experience they will gain will

have joined the ranks at hospitals across Northern Sydney Local Health District. This week 35 nurses and seven midwives started their roles at Royal North Shore, Hornsby, Ryde and Mona Vale hospitals. A further 168 nurses and midwives will start at the district over the coming months. They join more than 2,800 graduate nurses and midwives across the state who will work in public

“They will join the ranks of our frontline health workers who have been working tirelessly to care for people and keep them safe throughout the pandemic.” Throughout their first year, graduates are provided with opportunities in a variety of clinical settings to ensure they gain a range of experience and consolidate skills and knowledge developed whilst at university.

Carer Support Service: Taking action for 2022 accreditation The carer support service is on a mission to ensure staff across the district are following the local processes for identifying carers, using the care and communication cues form to support patients understanding and action on carer identification and related support processes. After initial spot audits, feedback will be given to implementing the Carer Support Framework. “The assistance and participation from staff is appreciated, especially during this busy period,” she said.

wards on performance in preparation for site accreditation.

with cognitive impairment, and utilising the ‘Carers @ the Bedside’ initiative. Over the coming weeks, carer support officers will be visiting wards across Royal North Shore, Hornsby and Ryde hospitals and undertaking audits, working to support the accreditation process, to determine the

“Together, we are creating an environment that recognises, respects and values carers as partners in care.” If staff would like to know more about the process visit the Carer Support intranet site, or contact the team on 9462 9488 or email NSLHD- Carers@health.nsw.gov.au.

All wards are now equipped with key resources to help staff engage with and support carers. Manager, Carer Support Service, Barbara Lewis said every ward will play a key part in helping the service better understand gaps in knowledge and barriers to



New graduate management trainees begin health career

Abby Kalac, Peter Sutherland and Kimberly Attenborough

Three fresh faces have joined the growing graduate health management contingent at Northern Sydney. Kimberly Attenborough, Abby Kalac, and Peter Sutherland have joined the district in 2022 as trainees alongside the 2021 co-hort. The two-year program has been created to establish tomorrow’s leaders in health management. They will be provided opportunities to gain work experience in a number of areas including executive and operational management as well as finance. Kimberly completed a Bachelor of Health Science, and is hoping the program enables her to help others. “Making a difference was the main motivator for me,” she said.

“We have a very strong health system in Australia, Sydney especially so I can’t wait to observe and absorb it all.” Peter, who graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Statistics and Economics, said it was a previous NSLHD graduate who inspired him to apply. “Sam Chapman, who just graduated from the NSLHD program, came to UNSW and gave a great presentation on her experience,” he said. “After listening to what she said, I thought working here would be a really good opportunity.” Abby, who completed a double degree in medical science and business majoring in accounting, said she was thrilled to be able to put her training to good use. “I thought ‘what better way

than to combine both of my degrees and work in an environment where I can combine business but also have a direct impact on the health environment’,” she said. As the ‘grads’ settle into their groove, there is one thing they all agreed on: Northern Sydney seemed like the place to be! “From day one, everyone has been so welcoming and willing to answer any questions we’ve had – you can tell it’s an environment where we are going to grow and people are going to support you,” Abby said. Kimberly’s first placement is with District Chief Executive Deb Willcox, Peter is at Ryde with General Manager Heather Gough, while Abby is at Mona Vale with its General Manager Jennifer McConnell.

Costumes for cancer Our cancer researchers within the Northern Sydney Local Health District are on a mission to improve diagnosis, treatments and outcomes for patients with cancer. You can directly support life-changing cancer research by signing up for Costumes for Cancer and dressing up to host a fundraiser this February or March.

It would be great to have NSLHD staff teams involved. Sign up today and get your costume ready. You can also purchase a NSLHD specially designed Costumes for Cancer t-shirts, with proceeds supporting the campaign. Visit: https://costumes-for-cancer.raisely.com/



RNSH selected to join leading cancer care centres in exciting new trial A team from RNSH will help drive a new research project investigating a revolutionary approach to care for those with neuroendocrine tumours.

Cancer specialists Professor Nick Pavlakis and Dr David Chan will join the AUS- NET trial after a funding

announcement by the Federal Government.

The study will assess whether a new patient-specific care model improves health outcomes and quality of life for patients with the rare neuroendocrine cancers. Around 500 patients from five centres across Australia are set to be involved in the clinical trial and Dr Chan said the RNSH team is thrilled to have been chosen to participate. “This is a really important study which we hope will improve the experience of patients going forward and lead to a better model of care with additional resources,” he said. “The clinical trial will examine a multi-disciplinary, shared- care approach involving greater specialised support

Dr David Chan

Professor Nick Pavlakis

treatment for instance, can only receive this care at RNSH and one other site in New South Wales. “We expect this new approach will make a marked difference to their lives if they’re able to access comprehensive, tailored care close to home, and have confidence that they’re receiving the same care that they would in a larger, metropolitan centre. “Our research and clinical teams have helped to develop this care model and are looking forward to trialling this promising initiative.”

and follow-up. “Importantly, this tailored treatment could be adopted in both metropolitan and regional centres where access to specialised care is a significant challenge for patients with this uncommon and complex cancer. “We hope this new model could be broadly adopted with the support of clinicians, GPs and nurses. “Currently, some of our patients spend a large amount of time travelling hundreds of kilometres to receive the care, knowledge and advice they need. Patients requiring lutate

North Foundation’s Annual Report – out now Northern Sydney Local Health District’s official charity partner the NORTH Foundation has launched its inaugural annual report. The report highlights that during a

said the report gave great insight into the Foundation and its achievements. “I encourage your support of the NORTH Foundation and the great work the team is undertaking to enable staff across the district to continue to deliver the best possible care for our patients, consumers and their families and carers, and make a difference with innovative research,” she said. To read the inaugural annual report, please visit The North Foundation’s website: northfoundation.org.au/

challenging year for health and medical services, generous donors gave more than $13.2 million to support patient care, innovative projects, equipment and investments in life-changing research within the district. Northern Sydney Chief Executive Deb Willcox




Dr Michael Symes with Prof. Bill Walter (left) and Prof. Tom Hugh

A celebration of surgical research and innovation was recently held with the combined presentation of the Harry Cumberland Travelling Scholarship and the inaugural Ray Hollings Surgical Excellence Award. Both awards have been established through generous philanthropic donations from the surgeons they are named after. They will be offered annually to provide support for research, innovation and

quality improvement. The event was jointly hosted by the Surgical Education Research & Training (SERT) Institute and the RNSH Department of Gastroenterology. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox acknowledged the significant contribution both Dr Cumberland and Dr Hollings made throughout their extensive surgical careers across the Northern

Sydney Local Health District, and appreciation for their ongoing support and generosity to enable these prestigious awards. “Congratulations to the successful recipients, I feel incredibly proud when I think about the capability here at Royal North Shore and across the district and to be able to acknowledge people with these two awards is really quite special” she said.

How COVID has changed medical classrooms The pandemic has changed the way we work – but also the way our future doctors study. For the past two years, doctors-in-training, their lecturers, and their tutors have had to overcome the challenges thrown at them by COVID-19, like medical student Vera Miao and tutor Dr Animesh Singla.

was going to be moved online, or if our tutorial was still happening that day. “It meant that we all had to be flexible and adaptable to those last minute changes.” Animesh said while students were often not able to fulfil traditional style placements – they remained resilient, and helped each other and the wards however they could. “We know students learn and get the most out of being able to examine and speak to patients, they absorb more, but the restrictions meant they often couldn’t do that,” he said.

“When COVID first hit, my fellow medical students and I were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to continue our hospital placements and that graduation would be delayed.” Vera said. “Sometimes we just didn’t know if our placement would be changed, or if our exam



Dr Adam Rehak, Dr David Marshman, Sharon Lum, Dr Kei Woldendorp and Prof. Tom Hugh

Dr Bill Cumberland, son of the late Dr Harry Cumberland, and his wife Genevieve were in attendance to present the Travelling Scholarship while Dr Ray Hollings, wife Beverly and family joined online. Dr Geoffrey Wong (pictured front cover) was the recipient of the Cumberland Travelling Scholarship for his study titled “Early recurrence after resection of colorectal liver

discovery.” This work was under the supervision of Professor Tom Hugh Dr Krishna Kotecha was runner-up finalist for his study titled - Propensity score analysis on pancreatoduodenectomy patients following neoadjuvant chemotherapy. This work was under the supervision of Clinical Professor Jas Samra and Clinical Associate Professor Anubhav Mittal.

There were two recipients for the Ray Hollings award: Dr Michael Symes (pictured page 6) for the Spinal and Orthopaedic Research Epidemiology Database project, and Dr David Marshman (pictured above) for the peri-operative

blood product usage in cardiothoracic surgery project.

metastases, clinical data to proteomic biomarker

“We had to adapt to this, so we developed a good system of case-based scenarios to simulate conditions they could centre their learning around, with the help of their peers. “Students were proactive; sometimes they would be allowed on the ward but not allowed to have patient contact, so they would spend time looking at scans and learning in any way they could.” While some of those methods adapted to cope with COVID-19 remain, thankfully many of our trainee doctors, nurses and allied health professionals have returned to the wards for 2022.

Dr Animesh Singla leads a tutorial for some of his medical students




Boost your protection against COVID-19

COVID-19 booster vaccinations are now available and recommended.

Boosters help keep protection high

You are eligible to receive a booster vaccine if you are:

Vaccine efficacy against symptomatic infection can drop from around 94 % to around 50 % after several months since the second dose of vaccination.

Aged 18 years and over

People who receive a third booster dose after their second dose reduce their risk of:

It has been 3months since you received your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Hospital admission by 93 %

Serious illness by 92 %

Death by 81 %

3 months

COVID-19 vaccine

compared to people who only received two doses.

The Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines are

It’s not mandatory to get a booster, but it is highly recommended. Not only does it help keep your protection against COVID-19 high, it also protects your family, colleagues, and the wider community.

approved for Booster vaccinations, even if you had a different vaccine for your first two doses.

COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine

Book today! For more information on booster vaccinations, visit: www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/vaccination/get-vaccinated/boosters

© NSWHealth January 2022. SHPN (SHEOC) 211062

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