NSLHD News 19 April 2024


Main story

Short blurb mona vale hospital celebrates 60th birthday Celebrations were in full swing to mark the occasion. Page 5 Read more on Page x

Discovering Coonabarabran: Allied Health Deployment Page 4

NSLHD influenza vaccination program underway Page 3


Message from the chief executive

Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM

Dear Colleagues,

I am equally excited to highlight the remarkable progress of the Time to Care initiative, driven by your feedback from the Time to Care survey. This initiative is dedicated to increasing the amount of time frontline staff have to provide direct care to their patients, thereby enhancing patient care and clinical workflows. From recruitment efficiencies to digital documentation enhancements, our district has made significant strides in improving patient outcomes and experiences. These achievements are a testament to our collective commitment to innovation and patient-centred care. I extend my deepest gratitude to the Time to Care Steering Committee for their invaluable contributions to these initiatives. These accomplishments would not be possible without the dedication and hard work of all our staff. I look forward to continuing on this transformative journey together, delivering excellence in patient care across our district. If you have an idea on how to make NSLHD a better place to work, I am keen to hear from you. Please feel free to email or text me. Warm regards, Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District

An important step in our sustainability efforts outlined in the NSLHD Planetary Health Framework is to better understand staff commuting patterns. To help us do this we are asking NSLHD staff to complete the Commuting and Sustainable Travel Survey 2024. This is a crucial step in our sustainability efforts and our aim for a five per cent reduction in car commuting by 2027. If you haven’t already, please complete the survey here: https://bit.ly/3Q3BBta. As Human Experience Week (29 April to 3 May) approaches we are reminded of the important connection between the experiences of patients, their families and carers, and the experiences of our staff and volunteers. The district’s consumer and patient experience team has partnered with the Virtual Care and Hospital in the Home Service to hold an event to showcase the district’s Virtual Care and Emergency Ambulance Avoidance Strategy. The strategy illustrates how innovation in virtual care has been used to elevate the experience of staff and consumers. The event will be held in the auditorium, Level 5, Kolling Building, RNSH on 29 April 2024, 8:30am to 11am and virtually by using this link https://bit.ly/3Q62Wem. I recently had the privilege of joining Mona Vale Hospital’s 60th-anniversary celebrations with district board members. This milestone event allowed us to reflect on the remarkable achievements made in public health over the past six decades, highlighting Mona Vale Hospital’s pivotal role in our community.



NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri receiving his vaccination

Protecting Health Heroes: NSLHD Rolls Out 2024 flu Vaccine The 2024 influenza vaccine is now available for all health care workers across Northern Sydney Local Health District. It is highly “It’s important that we get vaccinated to protect ourselves and the patients we care for,” said Gigi Kwok, Nurse Unit Manager, Occupational Staff Health Service.

recommended to prevent influenza infection within the workforce and amongst patients. The vaccination program, running from 15th April to 1st June, aligns with the influenza season’s timing, which has shown earlier onset in recent years. Healthcare workers are urged not to delay in seeking vaccination, as timely administration is crucial in preventing illness and protecting vulnerable patients. Enhanced influenza vaccines are available for adults aged 65 years and older, providing added protection. NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri and Board Chair Trevor Danos received their vaccination at Royal North Shore Hospital. Compliance with NSW Health’s vaccination requirements is

With the unpredictability of the influenza virus, prioritizing vaccination is paramount. By getting vaccinated, healthcare professionals play a vital role in mitigating the spread of influenza within the community and ensuring the continuity of quality healthcare services. Don’t hesitate - take action today to safeguard yourself and those you care for against the flu.

mandatory for Category A workers and new recruits, with the deadline set for June 1, 2024. While strongly recommended for all healthcare workers, influenza vaccination is imperative during the designated influenza season for those in Category A positions. All Category A health care workers are required to have the Influenza vaccination by 1 June 2024. Category A staff are those in positions that brings them into contact with vulnerable patients. Further information on immunisation category A and B can be found in the policy directive. If unsure, please discuss with your manager.

NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos AM has also had his vaccination



Discovering Coonabarabran: Allied Health Deployment A Hospital in the Home (HITH)

rehabilitation under Belinda’s expert guidance, enabling a safe return to sports. “For me this was a great opportunity to meet and work with people from all walks of life,” said Belinda. “This has been a great opportunity to use the broad range of physiotherapy skills and begin to understand some of the challenges faced by regional healthcare.” The NSW Health Deployment Program offers short-term opportunities spanning two to 13 weeks for nurses, midwives, and allied health professionals across regional, rural, and remote NSW. Participants receive accommodation, meals, travel, and incentives, fostering professional growth and providing a chance to explore new environments while contributing to essential healthcare services. Find out more information here: https:// www.health.nsw.gov.au/careers/Pages/ deployment-program.aspx.

physiotherapist recently embarked on a rural deployment supported by the Ministry of Health. Belinda Kelly, physiotherapist, undertook this pioneering endeavour, spending four weeks in Coonabarabran (Gamilaroi Country). During her deployment, Belinda had the privilege of engaging with patients ranging from seven to 93 years old, addressing a diverse array of physiotherapy needs. The face-to-face outpatient sessions were particularly valued by patients, offering them personalised care and support that virtual consultations couldn’t match. Belinda said one notable success story involved a gentleman in his 70s diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. Through targeted exercises and educational interventions, Belinda helped improve his mobility significantly, reducing his risk of falls and enhancing his overall quality of life. Similarly, a young athlete recovering from ACL reconstruction benefited from tailored cancer, a Royal North Shore Hospital ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon has set his sights on changing the landscape. In March, Dr Leo Pang held the first Australian screening clinic at Royal North Shore Hospital to raise awareness about head and neck cancer and offered free screening to detect early cancers. With over 60 members of the public attending the one-day clinic another one is being planned for later in the year. “Head and neck cancers rank seventh in Australia and early detection is key in the fight against cancer,” Leo said. “Early detection is key in the fight against cancer. Together with my colleagues at Royal North Shore we are pioneering a screening program that could pave the way for future screening programs, allowing for early detection of head and neck cancer.” Participants took part in the simple 15-minute screening which included a questionnaire, risk factor assessment and a clinical examination. They were informed about the results and risk stratified into low, intermediate or high risk for head and neck cancer, with appropriate investigations and follow up arranged before leaving the clinic. With the support of the Surgical Education Research and Training (SERT) Institute at Royal North Shore Hospital, the program and results will be analysed and incorporated in

Surgeon on a mission to make a difference. With no national or international screening program for early detection of head and neck

future service planning. Leo said he will continue working on

improving the program and raising awareness with GPs and the public on head and neck cancer.

Dr Leo Pan conducting a scan



NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri (far left) and Board Chair Trevor Danos AM (third from left) joined the celebrations

mona vale hospital celebrates 60th birthday Mona Vale Hospital celebrated its birthday with past and present staff who have cared

Beaches. It now provides care to over 445 admitted patients each year,” he said. “The urgent care centre is also a service much valued by the local community providing 24-hour care to the community for non-life threatening medical conditions. It plays a significant role in caring for the community and alleviating the pressure on Northern Beaches Hospital emergency department.” Following the opening of the palliative care unit in 2021, people on the northern beaches can now receive admitted palliative care close to home. The unit has also established itself as a supporter of corneal donation. “To everyone here who has played a part in Mona Vale Hospital’s history, congratulations!,” Anthony said. Staff celebrated with a special afternoon tea at the hospital’s Yarning Circle.

for the community the past 60 years. The hospital first opened its doors on 22 February 1964 after much desire and willingness by the community to campaign and fundraise for a hospital on the northern beaches. It initially accommodated 152 patients and was one of two hospitals on the northern beaches, with the other hospital at Manly. Northern Sydney Local Health District Chief Executive Anthony Schembri acknowledged the community’s role in the hospital’s history. “Mona Vale Hospital has had a significant role in our district in being a major provider of rehabilitation services, since the opening of the assessment and rehabilitation unit in 1988. It was the first dedicated rehabilitation unit for people living on the Northern

The afternoon tea was held at the hospital’s Yarning Circle



Clowning around at Royal North Shore Hospital Every week since 2005, Clown Doctors have been visiting the Royal North Shore Hospital to bring medicine through laughter. These dedicated individuals have been bringing smiles to patients, families, and staff alike. The performers undergo rigorous training to work in hospitals, where they help engage children during procedures, calm nerves in emergency departments, and foster positivity during therapy sessions. Under the umbrella of The Humour

lives of over 239,204 people in 2023 alone. International research and studies continue to prove the numerous physiological and psychological benefits of laughter to health and wellbeing. Humour is an effective coping strategy, relieving fear, stress, and pain, and has positive effects on the cardiovascular, immune, and respiratory systems. To learn more about the Humour Foundation and their programs, visit their website: https:// humourfoundation.org.au.

Foundation, an organisation of expertly trained performers, they bring laughter, joy, and connection to children’s hospitals and aged care facilities. The Humour Foundation is a national charity dedicated to improving the health and wellbeing of vulnerable Australians. Its vision is to bring laughter and connection where is it unexpected, yet most needed. Founded in 1996 by the late Dr. Peter Spitzer, the foundation harnesses the power of humour therapy, backed by research highlighting its benefits. “My favourite part of our work is meeting families and bringing some joy where it’s needed most,” said Dr. Quack, Clown Doctor. Their impact extends far beyond the walls of RNSH. The clown doctors visit 21 hospitals nationwide, including The Children’s Hospital Westmead and Sydney Children’s Hospital Randwick, touching the

Clown doctors at RNSH doing the rounds

NSLHD Honoured with Bronze Award for LGBTQ+ Inclusivity Northern Sydney Local Health District

exemplifies inclusive healthcare provision, serving as a model for equitable access and quality care for LGBTQ+ individuals. Moving forward, NSLHD aims to replicate Clinic Sixteen’s inclusive practices across all services, ensuring accessibility for LGBTQ+ individuals. “It is wonderful to see our commitment to diversity and social inclusion at NSLHD recognised with this award,” said Jemma Clifton, Project Officer, NSW Health LGBTIQ+ Strategy. “However, a bronze award is only the starting point and the real benefit of the HWEI submission is that is has provided us with a road map to ensure all of our services are equally accessible for LGBTQ+ people.” NSLHD’s achievement reaffirms its dedication to fostering a culture of inclusivity and equality in healthcare delivery, setting a benchmark for excellence in LGBTQ+ healthcare provision.

(NSLHD) has received a Bronze Award at the 2024 Australian Pride in Health and Wellbeing Awards, marking a significant milestone in LGBTQ+ inclusivity. This recognition, evaluated through the Health + Wellbeing Equality Index (HWEI), underscores NSLHD’s commitment to fostering inclusivity for individuals with diverse sexualities and genders across health, wellbeing, human services, and community care sectors. NSLHD’s dedication is evident through initiatives such as the implementation of an LGBTIQ+ strategy tailored to address healthcare needs, establishment of workplace policies, and executive sponsorship for high-level support. Additionally, the district has formed the Pride+ network to provide advocacy and support for LGBTQ+ employees and utilised inclusive intake forms for tailored patient care. A full-time dedicated LGBTIQ+ project officer role further demonstrates NSLHD’s commitment to inclusivity. Clinic Sixteen, NSLHD’s sexual health clinic,



Preventing falls, one step at a time Thorughout the month of April, sites across NSLHD celebrated April Falls Month - an annual campaign across NSW dedicated to highlighting the importance of fall prevention. The campaign, themed “Better Balance for Fall Prevention,” emphasises the significance of increasing physical activity and improving life balance to prevent falls and enhance mental well-being among older adults.

Throughout April, various activities and information booths were established at Macquarie Hospital, Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai, Mona Vale, and Royal North Shore Hospital, engaging staff, patients, and the wider community. At Royal North Shore Hospital, Margaret Armstrong, NSLHD Falls Prevention Coordinator, and consumer representative Warren Nutt spearheaded a team to disseminate resources and information to patients, caregivers, and hospital staff. Hornsby Hospital also participated in the campaign with engaging activities and demonstrations, reinforcing the importance of fall prevention. Mona Vale Hospital introduced weekly Falls Month initiatives, inviting staff, patients, and carers to participate in balance and strength tests every Monday in April. Macquarie Hospital hosted an inclusive ‘open day’ event on April 15, offering attendees various falls-related challenges and activities to foster education and community awareness. NSLHD further supports fall prevention efforts by providing accessible resources and tools online, encouraging healthcare professionals and community members to engage in promoting safety and preventing falls. To further support fall prevention efforts, NSLHD encourages accessing a range of resources available at https://nshp.com.au/ AprilFallsDay. These resources provide valuable information and tools to assist healthcare professionals and community members in preventing falls and promoting safety.

April Falls celebrations at Royal North Shore Hospital

April Falls celebrations at Hornsby Hospital

April Falls celebrations at Mona Vale Hospital

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


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NSW Health | Our planet, our health

Be part of how we reach Net Zero

Help us shape our first roadmap to achieve our net zero target and make a positive impact on the sustainability of our healthcare system. We’re looking at how to improve our supply chain, health care services, land and building design, travel and transport, energy, water and food services.

Have your say on the Net Zero Roadmap. Complete the survey or join a workshop.

Learn more at www.health.nsw.gov.au/ netzero/Pages/roadmap.aspx

March 2024 © NSW Ministry of Health. Image credit: The ‘planetary health’ team at Northern Sydney LHD working on energy, water and food projects to reduce their carbon footprint.

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