NSLHD News April 7 Covid-19 edition

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


Special Covid-19 edition

staff send simple message: Stay home Find out how the district is responding and preparing for COVID-19 - from building wards in less than a week to training new nurses in intensive care.

Read more on Page 4

teamwork key to beating covid, according to dr ben harris Page 6

acts of kindness from community and local businesses Page 6

Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing


Message FROM the acting Chief executive Dr Tamsin Waterhouse

message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox

As we respond to the evolving situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), our hospitals and healthcare services are rapidly changing. In order to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of our patients, staff and the community, we have needed to make significant changes not only to the physical spaces within the hospitals, but also the way we interact with the community. Already we have seen the number of visitors attending our hospitals reduce since we implemented the one nominated visitor per patient policy. I would like to thank the community for responding so positively to this and working with us as we try and slow the spread of COVID-19. The entrances to our hospitals have also changed. Visitors will now need to go through a checkpoint, staffed by our COVID-19 Care Team, who will ask a series of questions relating to the visit and also general health to make sure we only see those people who absolutely need to come to our hospitals. Some entrances have also been closed so I would ask the community to follow the signs and seek guidance from staff who can assist with wayfinding. Our cafes are still operating, but no dine- in services are available as we follow the Federal Government’s restrictions on social distancing. We are doing everything we possibly can to have our hospitals operationally ready to respond to any increased demand on our services. We have already doubled the capacity of our Intensive Care Units (ICU) and we have

now ceased non-urgent surgery which will enable our anaesthetists to move over to ICU and assist in critical care. We are reconfiguring clinical wards and spaces to free up patient beds in anticipation of an increase in patients over coming months. A clinical advisory group continues to meet daily monitoring COVID-19 cases and preparing our hospitals to ensure we have enough capacity. It is a difficult time for everyone, from healthcare workers, patients and the community, as we are asked to make significant changes to our daily lives during this uncertain time. We have seen some incredible acts of kindness from the community, businesses and individuals who have donated food, chocolate and other goods to our staff who are working tirelessly. I would like to thank everyone who has shown support to our staff who are lifted by the messages of gratitude we see on our Facebook pages and emails that our hospitals receive every day. Often during times of uncertainty, many people can feel helpless and unsure of how they can contribute. The community can help us by following the advice of the Federal Government and medical experts. Staying at home and protecting your loved ones is the most important thing you can be doing right now.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District


MEssage FROM the chairman Trevor Danos AM

Nearly a million Sydneysiders depend on the district for their hospital and community healthcare needs. Our district has seen some of the greatest number of cases of COVID 19. This has meant a heavier workload for the district than others and breaking new ground in dealing with the challenges that have presented themselves. Our community is blessed to have a frontline response team of such quality. The district’s successes to date are the product of strong and transparent leadership, outstanding clinical advice being given by our senior doctors to our Chief Executive, open communication, remaining calm and not giving way to panic, a respectful culture, a well-executed pandemic plan and agility in developing and rolling out new plans. The Board continues to work closely with the Chief Executive to provide all support and to ensure that whatever resources are needed are identified and made available.

The focus on COVID 19 and the preparation for the winter flu season inevitably mean that some business-as-usual activities and current initiatives across the district will need to be paused. The Board and the Chief Executive are working to ensure that this is minimised and that where it is unavoidable, it is done in a way that allows a rapid resumption when things return to normal. On behalf of the district, I would like to thank the community for its co-operation and understanding of the need to stay at home, social distance, and avoid visiting hospitals as much as possible. These are exceptionally challenging times for everyone, but by all working together as a community, we can save more lives.

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District

stay up-to-date with nslhd on social media NSLHD on Facebook

• facebook.com/HornsbyHospital/ NSLHD on Twitter • twitter.com/NthSydHealth NSLHD on LinkedIn • linkedin.com/company/northern-sydney- local-health-district/

• facebook.com/nthsydhealth/ • facebook.com/RydeHospital/ • facebook.com/MonaValeHospitalNSW/ • facebook.com/RoyalNorthShore/



NSLHD response and preparedness to Covid-19: update From building wards in under a week to training new nurses in intensive care, Northern Sydney Local

Health District is using all available resources to prepare for COVID-19. New social distancing measures appear to be slowing the spread of COVID-19, giving hospitals valuable time in preparing for an anticipated surge of patients in coming weeks and months. Intensive Care Units (ICUs) have already doubled their capacity and teams of experts have established a High Dependency Unit at Royal North Shore Hospital in under a week – something that would normally take years to do. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said the High Dependency Unit meant there was now extra clinical space for those patients who required a higher level of care, but not necessarily intensive care. “The speed in which our staff have been able to achieve some of this is remarkable,” Ms Willcox said. “Everyone is working together, no matter what speciality they come from, to ensure we are in the best possible place to care for being greeted by staff. As part of the district’s response to COVID-19, entry points at Hornsby Ku-ring- gai, Ryde, Royal North Shore and Mona Vale hospitals, have changed. In an effort to reduce the spread of transmission, hospitals are limiting the number of people coming into hospitals by temporarily closing some entrances. Other entrances are manned by staff or security who may provide visitors with important information on COVID-19.

Ryde Hospital staff with a simple message for the community

patients with COVID-19.” More negative pressure single rooms have been created, meaning more infectious patients will be isolated to protect staff and patients. Training has begun of more nurses who will be upskilled in intensive care, under the supervision of ICU nurses and doctors. The district is increasing support for older people in the community who are some of the most vulnerable residents. Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery Jenny Neilsen said teams of nurses were visiting dozens of residential aged care facilities across the district, testing residents, providing education and offering quarantine packs. “We believe these measures people who absolutely needed to be at hospital should attend. “We have reduced the number of visitors a patients can have, to one person, unless the patient is a child or in a critical situation where loved ones need to be with them,” she said. “I am seeking the community’s help to make sure we reduce the number of people moving through our hospitals, unless they absolutely to need to be there. “A staff member will ask you a few simple questions

will assist a large number of older people, delivering help to their doorstep and providing valuable assistance,” she said. To look after the staff and their families, a Staff and Family COVID-19 Swab Clinic has also opened. “This is an important additional service just for our staff and their families,” Ms Neilsen said. Hospitals have now set up visitor check points at entrances to reduce the number of visitors. Other measures also include reserving outpatients services for urgent patients only, as well as limiting our café services to take-away only, which is to strengthen social distancing. when you arrive to protect staff and patients. Please understand this is to protect you, staff and patients at this time. “If you have symptoms similar to COVID-19, staff will direct you to our COVID-19 clinic on site.” All cafes at hospitals now only provide takeaway services in line with recent changes by the Federal Government on social distancing. There is also increased signage around hospitals giving guidance to visitors.

Change to entrances at hospitals Significant changes to hospital entrances have been made with visitors now NSLHD’s Chief Executive, Deb Willcox, said only those



IT capabilities strengthened across the district The district has rapidly improved its technology to support staff working remotely.

patients, such as cleaners, SSOs, food service team, waste management and the help desk. These staff members are essential to ensuring the hospitals run smoothly – whether it be cleaning the wards, preparing and serving food or moving patients. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said, “No matter which part of the organisation you’re from, thank you for your hard work.” “Every one of you from every corner of this organisation is playing your part in making a difference to the wellbeing of our patients and community.” Our ICT team has partnered with key vendors to improve remote access technology and processes to assist teams working outside our facilities. Acting Director of Information, Communications and Technology Michael Bishop said we’ve been able to upgrade our technology within a week and roll that out to our teams. “More than 700 remote access accounts were established within two days, putting us on track to create more than 1000 accounts in less than a week,” he said. “Our previous system would have created just 100 accounts in the same time. “We have also altered our service delivery model to ensure our ICT staff are

Pooja Potrapalli Shivlal, Biju Kirup, Ihsan Hawat, Grahame Lang, Ayush Sharma, Darryl Robinson and Mark Chiu

available to support the growth in remote access, communications and Telehealth. “This will be especially valuable with the significant increase in Telehealth services over the coming months. “It’s been great to see our staff collaborate and adapt o meet the challenge – a true example of our CORE values.” NSLHD CE Deb Willcox thanked the ICT team for their tremendous efforts and the rapid implementation of

the upgrade. “The technology improvements mean staff are working efficiently offsite and importantly, continuing to provide valuable healthcare services,” she said. For more information about ICT remote access, go to the ICT Technology Shop on the intranet and Remote Access. Alternatively, click on the following link http:// intranet.nsccahs.nswhealth. net/corpsupport/imt/ services/techshop/Pages/ RemoteAccess.aspx

THANK YOU FRONTLINE SUPPORT STAFF across nslhd COVID-19 is impacting all staff across the district and how they deliver care for patients and the community. This includes frontline staff who aren’t directly caring for

Thank you to all our frontline support staff



doc says teamwork key to beating COVID As preparations for COVID-19 ramp up, Royal North

district have been receiving generous donations from the community and local businesses to support staff during the evolving COVID-19 situation. Royal North Shore, Ryde, Hornsby and Mona Vale hospitals have received donations ranging from coffees, fruit, sandwiches and snacks to an early Easter delivery of chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs from Lindt. Royal North Shore General Manager Alison Zecchin said staff have been very appreciative of this kindness. It’s a message Dr Harris has relayed in a recent video to his colleagues and community, while also appearing in The Daily Telegraph talking about the state’s preparedness. He said we had already nailed Shore’s Head of Respiratory Medicine Dr Ben Harris has an important message for all of us; we are ready. Dr Harris, who is also on the NSLHD COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Group, said the challenges the virus posed were being met head on. “We’re getting ready for patients with COVID, we’re focussing on our practices around infection, in particular our PPE,” he said. “We’re ensuring we’ve got resources we can use both within the department but also outside of the department, deploying our staff throughout the hospital so that we can better assist with care. “We’re certainly in a good place to be able to deal with this.”

Royal North Shore’s Head of Respiratory Medicine Dr Ben Harris

a key aspect in getting ready, namely, working together.

of engagement between the executive and the clinicians is one of the strengths of this place.” Dr Harris said the organisation, communication and devotion of staff from all levels at the hospital would prove invaluable as we continue to deal with COVID-19. “People are feeling a bit uncertain, but what we are finding is that the more we talk about this as a group, the more we communicate with each other, the more people understand that we are going to get through this,” he said.

“There’s always been an increasing sense of camaraderie; that’s

developed over the years, but particularly in the past couple of weeks,” he said. “We’re working in the division of medicine with the groups related to COVID care, particularly the emergency department, the intensive care department and also our surgical colleagues. “We’re incredibly fortunate to have the leadership team that we’ve got with Deb; the level

acts of kindness felt across nslhd All hospitals across the

Easter came early for NSLHD staff

“The compassion shown by the community is truly felt by our doctors, nurses and clinic staff who are working

tirelessly caring for patients during this challenging time,” Ms Zecchin said.


Share your news and achievements. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.


Telehealth connects patients with clinicians remotely Killian Donnelly has experienced first-hand the benefits of Telehealth.

The Program Office Manager from eHealth NSW was overseas when his six-week old baby Oisín was admitted to Royal North Shore Hospital with a viral rash. “My wife Fiona and I had just welcomed our son into the world, but Fiona insisted I go on the overseas trip as it was my parent’s 50th wedding anniversary,” Killian said. “Naturally it was tough to leave them both, but thankfully Fiona’s sister is a nurse and moved in to help with what was a very demanding time.” Fortunately Oisín was home discharged but a follow up video call was arranged with a nurse to check on the rash and advise the next steps. Killian was given the conference details and dialled in from the other side of the globe. “I easily entered in the conference ID and low and behold there we all were – the nurse from Royal North Shore to my wife in our house in Sydney to me in County Wexford, Ireland all being able to seamlessly interact on the call,” he said. “It gave my wife great comfort to have me involved in the call despite the huge physical distance between us, and for myself to be able to offer some very small support at a time Specialist anaesthetist and clinical director at Royal North Shore Hospital, Dr Michelle Mulligan has paid tribute to staff as the district continues its preparations for COVID-19. Dr Mulligan, who is also a board member and a member of the NSLHD COVID-19 Clinical Advisory Group, told The Australian Financial Review it was pleasing to see everyone doing their bit to beat the virus. “Hospital staff from all departments have been united that our key goals are providing carefully managed quality care to as many patients as possible while keeping staff safe,” she said. “Sometimes in life you just have to put the pedal to the metal and go all out – and this has been one of those times.” Dr Mulligan also thanked members of the community for doing their bit, abiding by social distancing and gathering guidelines which help to protect everyone. “Follow the public health messages and act in a responsible manner,” she said. “Stay at home, social distance when you do go out – and keep washing your hands. This is what will help us contain the pandemic.”

Killian, Oisín and Fiona

when it was most needed.” With the current COVID-19 situation, the Telehealth team has been working hard to ensure Telehealth services are available across the district to assist with remote service delivery. There are two platforms now available for staff to use – myVirtualCare (one-on-one videoconferencing suitable for patient consultations) and Pexip (multiple user videoconferencing, suitable for consultations with multiple patients). For further information and any questions, get in touch with the Telehealth team at NSLHD-

Telehealth@health.nsw.gov.au or visit the NSLHD intranet to find clinician and patient resources. message from rns doc: ‘follow public health messages’

Dr Michelle Mulligan pays tribute to staff as the district continues to prepare for COVID-19

You can catch more from Dr Mulligan in Thursday’s edition of The Australian Financial Review, after she took part in Lunch with the AFR.



MAKE MENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY. Eat well and keep active. Stay in touch by phone or video calls and seek help if you need it.

Together we can help stop the spread and stay healthy. Find out more at australia.gov.au

Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8


Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online