NSLHD News November 4 2022

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


Main story Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Opens The hospital has been officially opened following its $265 million redevelopment. Page 3 Short blurb Read more on Page x

New and improved Big Red Kidney Bus Launched Page 4

Researchers closer to better pain management strategies Page 5


It was wonderful to attend the official opening of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital, following its $265 million redevelopment. The long-awaited official opening celebrated the six-storey clinical services building and expanded emergency department which have been open to the public for the past 12 months. It has been a busy time for the hospital which has been preparing for the completion of the community health services building. For the first time, patients can now receive renal dialysis and chemotherapy services at Hornsby. I would like to congratulate the staff who had to endure so much upheaval during construction, moving patients to new departments, all under the cloud of COVID-19. The community now has access to a modern, fit-for-purpose hospital that our staff are proud to work in. I was pleased to attend the Research Showcase recently, which highlighted some of the research projects taking place across NSLHD. It was a great insight into the impact that research within our district is making across various areas of medicine and surgery. It is wonderful to see that two of our nurses have been named finalists in this year’s NSW Nursing and Midwifery Awards, to be held on 18 November. Congratulations to Ryde Hospital’s Barbara Scott and Matthew Weiss on your achievement and I wish you well in the awards. I had the privilege to attend the launch of the new state-of-the-art bus for the NSW Big Red Kidney Bus program. The program offers much needed mobile dialysis services so patients

undertaking dialysis can travel and take holidays within NSW.

The program offers much needed reprieve for patients undertaking dialysis and I am proud that our district can offer this wonderful service in partnership with Kidney Health Australia. The 2022 NSLHD Christmas with Dignity Campaign kicked off this week and will run until 29 November. This fantastic campaign gives staff the opportunity to donate non-perishable food items and new clothes for use in hampers that will be donated to our homeless community at Christmas. I encourage staff around the district to get involved and donate anything you can spare for such a great cause. On the topic of kindness, next week we celebrate Gathering of Kindness, a campaign which NSW Health is committed to each year to build and nurture a culture of kindness across our health system.

Kindness and compassion are key to elevating the human experience for everyone.

A smile, a hello, a please or thank you, are those small acts of kindness that make a big difference to the experience of our staff, our patients and their families.

Lee Gregory I/Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Clare Skinner, Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, Nick Cockrell, Member for Ku- ring-gai Alister Henskens, Emily Lyons, Member for Hornsby Matt Kean.

Official opening of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital Hornsby Hospital has been officially opened following its $265 million redevelopment. Minister for Health Brad Hazzard, Treasurer and Member for Hornsby, Matt Kean, and Minister for Skills and Training, Minister for

ED physician Dr Clare Skinner and nurse unit manager Nick Cockrell led the ministers on a tour of the ED, which also boasts a new ambulance bay, improved waiting areas and expanded resuscitation bays. Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said it was a proud day for staff, many who live and work in the community. “As chief executive and formerly the general manager of Hornsby Hospital, I am very proud of what has been achieved by our redevelopment team, Health Infrastructure, the building and project management teams and all of the hospital staff, who were integral to the design of this building which has our patients at the heart of the design,” Lee said. “The hospital has been part of the community since 1933 and it has been very much a hospital for the community: with local volunteers, staff who have grown up in the area, had their babies here and the community who have for many decades raised funds to support the hospital.” The hospital has just opened the doors to a new dental service, as well as renal dialysis.

Science Innovation and Technology and Member for Ku-ring-gai Alister Henskens toured the new emergency department (ED) which is three times the size of the previous ED. Unveiling the plaque, Mr Hazzard commended staff who had to endure multiple moves to allow for the redevelopment, under the cloud of COVID-19. “The new emergency department is three times the size of the previous ED and has purpose-built isolation rooms for patients who may be infectious, as well as a separate emergency unit for children,” Mr Hazzard said. “The entire facility is world-class – from the entrance to the new outpatients department, intensive care unit and the first public hospital robotic pharmacy in Australia.” Perioperative Nurses Week Royal North Shore Hospital staff recently celebrated nurses during Perioperative Nurses Week. The theme this year was wellness and self-care with a number of activities held throughout the week. Clinical Nurse Consultant in the Operating Theatres Rebecca Fox said the team had great fun celebrating. “In keeping with the theme, we held pilates, stretching and core strength classes before work, and practiced a mindfulness session one afternoon,” she said. “We also ran a number of competitions – ‘match the theatre shoes with the wearer’ and ‘can you guess how many sutures are in the bag?’”

Celebrations at RNSH



New and improved Big Red Kidney Bus Launched A new state-of-the-art bus for the NSW Big Red Kidney Bus program was recently launched at Parliament House in Sydney. The program is operated through a joint partnership between Royal North Shore Hospital and Kidney Health Australia.

for families and loved ones to know they’re receiving the same level of care from our highly trained renal nurses as they would in their own dialysis unit,” she said. Northern Sydney Local Health District Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the district is proud to help deliver a program that offers some reprieve to dialysis patients. “Living with kidney disease can be very demanding for patients and their loved ones,” he said. “With the launch of the new bus, patients will be able to have some repieve in a new environment whilst receiving treatment. “Providing the opportunity for patients and their families to be able to travel and receive dialysis treatment will hopefully continue to provide some reprieve for patients.” The bus has recently been parked at RNSH and will be making its way to Bateman’s Bay in early November.

The year-round program offers people on haemodialysis the chance to go away on holidays throughout NSW, while ensuring they still receive their life-saving dialysis treatment. The bus features three comfortable chairs for patients, equipped with dialysis machines and is staffed by dialysis nurses and renal technicians, with six sessions a day available at each destination. RNSH Medical Director of Dialysis Services Yvonne Shen, who delivered an address at the launch, said the program had received great feedback and repeat visits from families. “It provides enormous reassurance and relief

RNSH Medical Director of Dialysis Services Yvonne Shen provided an address at the launch

The new and improved Big Red Kidney Bus

Donated supplies to help reduce landfill waste The Northern Clinical School recently organised a donation drive across RNSH as part of MedEarth initiative.

initiative to reduce waste, particularly when the donated supplies can be used to help communities in need, rather than being discarded. “I am proud that our students and staff have led this project.” NSLHD has been actively working on its sustainability efforts, committing to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2035, with most of the reduction – 70 to 80 per cent – to be achieved by 2030.

MedEarth is a not-for-profit organisation that recovers medical supplies and equipment from various health services globally to redistribute and reduce landfill waste. The donation drive involved collecting safe- to-use medical supplies that would otherwise be discarded due to insurance regulations, hospital inventory systems, renovations, and equipment updates. Northern Clinical School students along with Clinical Skills Educator Monique Gilbert visited various departments around RNSH and received a great response from the hospital. Head of the Northern Clinical School Associate Professor Margaret Schnitzler said the school was proud to be able to organise donation drive. “It’s very rewarding to contribute to this

Students of the Northern Clinical School with the donated supplies from RNSH



Dr Karin Aubrey and Dr Yo Otsu

Researchers closer to better pain management strategies Researchers at the Kolling Institute have

brain,” Karin said. “The connections that make up the circuits of the spinal cord are all jumbled together and it’s difficult to unravel them and map how each connection contributes to controlling pain signals in the spinal cord. “In this study, we’ve identified how a particular point in the spinal pain circuit is controlled by opioids, giving us a clearer picture of how a good pain medication might work. “We currently have a reasonable understanding of the brain and pain circuits, but there is still so much more to discover. “Each one of us has about 86 billion cells in our brains called neurons, which is approximately half the number of stars in the Milky Way. Essentially our heads are a small galaxy. “This gives some context to the complexities of the brain and pain circuits, and the challenges involved in making significant scientific progress and advances in treatments. “We are encouraged by the progress we’ve made and the deeper understanding we now have around the spinal cord pain signalling and potential targets for new therapies.” This project was made possible with the support of the Ernest Heine Family Foundation and the Pain Foundation.

taken an important step towards the development of safer, non-addictive pain medications by increasing their understanding of spinal cord pain signalling. The findings follow the latest figures indicating more than 20 per cent of the population experience chronic pain, impacting their ability to work, care for families and generally function. Dr Karin Aubrey said many people currently rely on opioids, like morphine and codeine, to reduce their pain. “We know however, that these medications have serious side effects and in many cases offer only limited help,” she said. “Our team, including senior researcher Dr Yo Otsu, is committed to advancing our understanding of how pain signals travel through the body, so that we can use this information to develop safe, new medications.” This unique study used advanced techniques to unravel the spinal pain control circuit, and determine how opioids affect a key descending pain pathway. Researchers found the pathway could enhance and reduce spinal signalling. “Our spinal cords are an incredible information highway, responsible for relaying sensory, motor and pain information to the

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senior scientist revels at international meeting RNSH Senior Hospital Scientist Dr Anastasia Mihailidou says she was delighted to showcase the district’s work in blood pressure management on the world stage. Anastasia, who is also the head of the Kolling Institute’s Cardiovascular and Hormonal

myself, but for Royal North Shore Hospital and the Northern Sydney Local Health District.” Anastasia presented on Hypertension Therapy Using Diagnostic Service for Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring. Presenting at the event was the latest

Research Lab, presented at the International Society of Hypertension Scientific Meeting in Japan. Globally renowned academics and clinicians attended the event which profiled the latest clinical and biomedical research into the treatment of hypertension. “I was excited to talk about my professional passion of accurate blood pressure measurement,” Anastasia said. “Outlining some of the work being done in this area locally was a great honour not only for

accolade for Dr Mihailidou, who has previously been appointed by The Lancet to the Commission on Cardiovascular Disease in Women.

RNSH Senior Hospital Scientist Dr Anastasia Mihailidou

Ryde redevelopment consultation progressing Consultation on the future of Ryde Hospital continues with consumer, staff and community input being sought as part of the design phase for the project.

“This feedback helps to inform the next stages of the project which include the schematic and detailed design, which will be a key focus for the second State Significant Development Application to be submitted early next year,” Fiona said. “The community and consumer feedback sits alongside extensive Project User Group (PUG) consultation for the project, with over 140 PUG and Project Working Group meetings having been held to work through each of the departments included in the redevelopment. “The involvement of the community together with consumer representatives, staff and clinicians in the planning and design process has been integral to the development. “This is so important so we can ensure we create a facility that meets the needs of staff, patients and visitors to the hospital well into the future.”

The redevelopment team recently ran a series of pop-up sessions at the hospital and several local shopping centres to talk to staff and the community about the latest designs and what they would like to see as part of the redevelopment. Ryde Hospital Redevelopment Manager Fiona Thorn said eight sessions were held during September with around 120 people stopping by to ask questions and provide their feedback on a range of topics. “It was also an opportunity for members of the community to ask questions about the lodgement of the first of two State Significant Development Applications following the recent public exhibition period,” she said. “The team is reviewing all submissions and will prepare a response to the Department of Planning and Environment for consideration, as part of the planning approval process.” The redevelopment team recently attended the Granny Smith Festival in Eastwood, which attracts up to 90,000 people. “It was a great opportunity for the team to explain what’s planned for the redevelopment, let the community know where we’re up to in the design process and talk next steps,” Fiona said. “The response from the community was hugely positive.” Two consumer groups are in place and have provided feedback on the concept design and clinical spaces, as well as the building façade and landscaping.

Ryde redvelopment stall at the annual Granny Smith Festival



Northern Health Precinct Academic Directors Professors Jim Elliott, Robyn Gallagher and Margaret Schnitzler

Research expertise on show The diverse range of exciting research underway across the Northern Health Precinct was profiled during a recent showcase, highlighting the impact of research throughout NSLHD. The event directed the spotlight to a range of disciplines driving research including nursing, midwifery, and pharmacy, as well as allied health and public health. Precinct Academic Director Professor Robyn Gallagher co-ordinated the event, saying it was a wonderful opportunity to showcase a collection of emerging leaders and present details of their valuable projects. “Our event provided an insight into the successful collaborative efforts involving the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Local Health District, and the tangible impact these projects are having on the delivery of care,” she said. “There are so many dynamic projects underway from a mobile app to support pulmonary rehabilitation to the delivery of remote cardiac rehabilitation, and programs to improve cancer care. “It was encouraging to hear our researchers are enhancing the delivery of care with nutrition services, speech pathology and sleep programs to name just a few.” One clinician researcher to present at the event was Associate Professor Tom Buckley –

a registered ICU nurse and Precinct Research Education Academic Director. Tom shared details of his work investigating the physical and psychological impact of bereavement. He has particularly focused on the impact on heart health with research indicating there is an increased cardiovascular risk for both men and women in the weeks and months after they lose a loved one. “We know that death from a cardiac related event is one of the highest causes of mortality during bereavement,” he said. His research also assessed the benefits of Aspirin and the heart lowering drug Metoprolol and their ability to reduce cardiovascular risk factors in the weeks after the death of a loved one. “Our research has shown the use of medication not only lowers the cardiovascular risk factors, but also reduces depression and anxiety symptoms in the early bereavement period,” he said. “Interestingly, we found this trend continued even after people came off the medication, providing a longer-term benefit for this group.” The showcase broadened awareness of the diversity of research across the Northern Health Precinct, and also encouraged further collaboration.

SPREAD THE GOOD NEWS Share your news and achievements. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



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