NSLHD News November 21

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


Cheers to our Midwives NSLHD midwives have celebrated an outstanding achievement in helping women get healthy during pregnancy. Read more on Page 7

Universal Children’s day Page 3

Royal North Shore staff celebrate time in service Page 10 and 11

Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing


Message FROM the acting Chief executive Dr Tamsin Waterhouse

message FROM the Chief executive Deb Willcox

Last week saw our hospitals and the NSW health system operating under the State Emergency Management Plan as a result of the devastating bushfires and catastrophic conditions. Thankfully, at NSLHD, our hospitals and services were not affected by the bushfires but I would like to thank our NSLHD HSFAC Coordinator Anthony Dombkins and the team for overseeing our preparedness and to all our staff who were on standby. To our staff who may have family and friends affected by the fires, I would like to extend my thoughts and best wishes. Bushfires continue to burn and I urge you all to keep safe and remain vigilant during these times. I would also like to thank staff who are volunteering as part of the response to protect people and property. I commend your dedication and support of your community. As Christmas draws closer, this year we are partnering with our charity partner Dignity, who empowers people experiencing homelessness. Please join us to make this Christmas easier and more cheerful for vulnerable families in our community by donating to the Dignity Christmas drive. Christmas trees have been placed at our hospitals for staff and visitors to donate goods by Monday 1 December.

The district has identified planetary health as an important new initiative. Over the past century, significant advances in medicine, technology and urban development have increased our quality of life immensely. However, achieving these gains has led to negative impacts on the health and quality of our natural environment. As a health service with a large carbon footprint, we have the ability to improve the health of our environment whilst promoting the health and wellbeing of our patients, our workforce and our community. There are a number of key domains the district will endeavour to prioritise including: staff wellbeing, green space and healthy built environments, waste management and improvement, healthy communities, and sustainable capital works and procurement. I look forward to providing you further updates in this newsletter as we progress this important initiative. Finally, this Friday 22 November is our 2019 Annual Public Meeting being held in the Kolling Auditorium from 2:30pm. This year’s theme is “Our patients: their stories” and I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at this annual event.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District


Cammeray Public School’s Big Band wowed the crowd

celebrating our future: Universal children’s day 2019 The foyer at Royal North Shore Hospital turned blue and there were reports of Smurfs

They were created after extensive professional and community consultation. It was also D-Day for Herbie the Therapy Dog, who was the subject of a weight guessing competition. The Golden Labrador Retriever cross tipped the scales at 30.75 kilograms, with Declan Byrne from Corporate Communications guessing correctly, taking home a mini-plush Herbie of his own. Staff also attended the Improving Child and Adolescent Health Forum on Tuesday 19 November to hear about some of the latest developments in paediatric medicine and child and family health. Meanwhile, across the district staff participated in the day by decorating their departments, including RNSH’s paediatrics ED team, who decked their work station out in blue, as did the team in paediatrics at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai.

running rampant as part of the district’s Universal Children’s Day celebrations. Led by the Child, Youth and Family Health team and its Clinical Director Associate Professor Elisabeth Murphy, the day proved a hit with the young, old and four-legged. Attendees were encouraged to wear blue to mark the occasion, with everything from hair to tinsel being used to get into the spirit. Performances from the Cammeray Public School Big Band as well as an appearance from Herbie the Therapy Dog kept the crowd entertained whle CE Deb Willcox helped to launch the new ‘My Brain Matters’ infographs for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal patients. The infographs are a one page visual tool adapted from complex medical graphs that health and community professionals can use to promote awareness of the critical ages for young children’s early brain development.

CE Deb Willcox presents Declan Byrne his plush Herbie for winning the ‘Guess the Weight’ competition

Aboriginal Health Operations Manager Paul Weir helps to launch the My Brain Matters infograph



awards galore for marg It has been a big year for NSLHD’s Professor Marg Fry, claiming multiple awards for her sterling efforts in the field of nursing. At the recent International Emergency Nursing

helpline on emergency department (ED) and hospital avoidance, mortality and morbidity rates and patient satisfaction.” The award comes fresh from claiming the Transforming Patient Experience NSW Health Award last month with colleague and Oncology Nurse Practitioner, Meredith Oatley for the oncology telephone helpline. The helpline is available to cancer patients and general practitioners. They can call and ask for advice on symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment. It partnered with workplace giving charity Dignity to ensure those less fortunate can still celebrate the festive season. Each hospital within the district has started its own Christmas with Dignity campaign, including trees at Ryde, Hornsby and Mona Vale where staff and visitors can donate non-perishable food items and new clothing for men, women and children. Royal North Shore Hospital will use its annual staff barbecue to raise funds for Dignity, with staff encouraged to contribute a gold coin donation on December 18. Dignity CEO Suzanne Hopman said the charity was grateful to all the staff who had signed up to workplace giving, as well as those who have made donations under the tree. “It’s touching to see so many

Professor Marg Fry

Conference, Professor Marg Fry was bestowed with the Leadership in Emergency Nursing Award by the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia. In addition, Marg was also award by the NSW Emergency Care Institute the Evidence into practice Best Paper for the study “Impact of a telephone

enables shared decision- making and empowers patients. The impact of this innovative research is making a real life difference for people with cancer and delivering greater support for their families.

Christmas with dignity With Christmas just around the corner, NSLHD has

people come together to help others who might be having a tough Christmas, for whatever the reason,” she said. “Christmas can be a busy time for Dignity, with a number of people finding themselves without a place to call home for various reasons like relationship breakdowns or financial pressures. “While the gifts are only something small, it will hopefully give people a reason to smile and spread some Christmas cheer.” Donations of food and new clothing can be made under trees in main reception at Ryde Hospital, level 5 of the Douglas Building at Royal North Shore, at main entrance near switch at Hornby Ku-ring-gai or the main foyer at Mona Vale. For more information on NSLHD’s workplace giving program or to sign up, please visit bit.ly/343VXsk


Staff stop for a photo at the Person-centred Care Showcase

pERSON-CENTRED CARE TAKES CENTRE STAGE AT YEARLY SHOWCASE It is one of the most popular events of the year, with nurses and midwives from across the district turning out in force for the annual Person-centred Care Showcase. Leadership and Strategic presentations on the day drew a crowd of diverse staff. “The Person-centred Care Showcase is one of the most exciting events in our nursing calendar. It brings together nurses and midwives from across disciplines and facilities,” he said. Initiatives Nurse Manager Ken Caldwell said the variety of

“It’s not just a great chance for all of our nurses to connect with each other, but also a chance to hear about some of the excellent initiatives from nurses and midwives around the district.”

director scoops award NSLHD’s Clinical Director for Drug and Alcohol Services

medicine trainees.” Upon receiving his award, Mark acknowledged the impact that Dr Jon Rampono, Professor James Bell and Professor Nicholas Lintzeris have had on his career, and thanked his colleagues that work with him to deliver the best clinical care possible. In a double triumph, Research Co-ordinator Dr Lauren Monds won the Early Career Poster Presentation Award for her poster “How intoxicated are you? Comparing self & observer intoxication ratings to BAC.”

Dr Mark Montebello has claimed the Clinicians Award at the Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol & other Drugs conference dinner. The award recognises excellence and leadership in clinical practice in the field of substance use in any discipline. Mark was nominated by his colleagues for “excellence in clinical care, development of treatment services, and teaching addiction psychiatry and addiction

Dr Mark Montebello



WORLD FIRST DISCOVERY Kolling Institute scientist Dr Yo Otsu and a team of researchers have discovered a unique receptor in the brain which can regulate negative moods. The finding is the culmination of eight years of investigation, involving Dr Otsu and researchers from France, published in the top academic journal, Science, highlighting the discovery of the excitatory glycine receptor in a little known region of the adult brain, the medial habenula. the receptor plays a role in regulating negative moods. “The function of the medial habenula is not very well understood, but it is thought to play a role in depression, stress, anxiety and nicotine addiction,” said Dr. Otsu. “Therefore, the discovery of this rare type of receptor and Dr Otsu, said he and his colleagues now believe Canada and Hungary. The research has been

Dr Karin Aubrey and Dr Yo Otsu

up a whole new area of brain research. “Yo has brought such a depth of knowledge to the group. He interrogates every aspect of the data – an approach which has enabled him to consistently produce data of the highest level and impact. We are very fortunate to have a researcher of his calibre working with us, and I can’t wait to see what he does

its role in modulating anxiety means that it has the potential to be a highly specific target for mood regulating drugs. “Existing medications to treat conditions like anxiety and depression have side effects because they affect the whole brain. “The discovery of this receptor offers the potential to create much more targeted medicines with fewer side- effects.” Dr Karin Aubrey from the Pain Management Research Institute’s Neurobiology of Pain Lab, where Dr. Otsu now works, said the finding opens

next,” Dr Aubrey said. “We are starting new

research within the Kolling to further understand the role of this receptor, with the ultimate goal of developing medications to target it.” NSLHD Launches new health and wellbeing plan

The new NSLHD 2019-2021 Health and Wellbeing Plan is now a reality, going live across the district. The plan places our workforce as our most valued asset and recognises the importance of a healthy, happy and productive workforce. It has been designed with staff in mind and aims to set a strong commitment to assist them with their health and wellbeing. For more information on the NSLHD Health and Wellbeing Plan, head to the Health and Wellbeing intranet page.

Reading online? You can read the plan by clicking here.


Staff received keep cups to celebrate smashing their referral KPIs for the Get Healthy in Pregnancy program

Cheers to our midwives for a job well done NSLHD midwives have celebrated an outstanding achievement in helping women get healthy during pregnancy.

In recognition of their efforts Health Promotion presented midwives with a Get Healthy in Pregnancy Keep Cup. “The cups are not only great for drink refills and the environment, they spread the get healthy in pregnancy message and help the team think about all the women they have supported,” Health Promotion’s Darryn Piper said. For more information about the free Get Healthy in Pregnancy service, speak with your midwife, visit www.gethealthynsw.com. au or call 1300 806 258.

Between July 2018 and June 2019 midwives referred 1202 women to the free Get Healthy in Pregnancy service. This was 263 per cent of the expected number of referrals predicted by NSW Health and represents the second highest referral numbers in the state. Get Healthy in Pregnancy is a free NSW Health information and telephone coaching service to support pregnant women maintain a healthy weight during pregnancy. NSLHD Maternity Network Manager Michelle De Vroome said: “The team is so committed to helping our women achieve the best health possible for themselves and their babies. It’s no wonder we have received terrific results.” The team hasn’t rested on their laurels either; by September this year, they had already reached 60 per cent of the whole year’s referral target. “Referral numbers aside, what these achievements mean is that even more of our women receive the extra support provided by the service,” Michelle said.


We know our staff do amazing things and we want to hear about it. Share your news, achievements and events with your District colleagues. Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Staff at Ryde spread the word, not germs as part of International Infection Prevention Week

vaccines the focus during infection prevention week Vaccines are everybody’s business; that was the message from Ryde Hospital’s Infection Control Department at its recent stall. Led by Clinical Nurse Consultant, Mae Sia with the assistance of registered nurse Pui Leung, staff at Ryde learned how vaccines present an easy way to stay healthy and prevent infections from spreading. Staff celebrated all the infections prevented and lives saved for this year, with Graythwaite 5, Ward 3 and Emergency taking out this year’s quiz.

NSLHD AND CCLHD FIRST to send eMR Letters electronically via HealtheNet

Northern Sydney and Central Coast are the first NSW local health districts to send eMR letters digitally to their patients’ nominated GP via the HealtheNet secure messaging system. This significant project has been a collaboration between the ICT & Integrated Care networks from Northern Sydney LHD and Sydney North Health Network. This functionality contributes to the delivery of safe and quality patient care by providing GPs and their staff with timely access to accurate clinical information. The change allows all letters to be delivered using secure messaging, providing greater confidence to clinicians that information about their patients will reach their GP.

The letters provide GPs with information and recommendations that are relevant for ongoing patient care such as medication changes, and treatment plans. Providing a secure electronic pathway, significantly improves communication between the hospital, LHD Outpatients & Community Services and primary care settings. The digital ‘Letter to GP’ can be sent for all hospital and community encounter types and is generated in eMR. Once the document has been received into the GP’s system, an acknowledgement is visible in the eMR Results tab.


A chance to support rehabilitation services, research efforts The new look NORTH Foundation has launched its 2019 Christmas appeal, seeking help to fund high-tech rehabilitation equipment across the district, and more research into medication use by the elderly.

Chief Executive Officer Gilbert Lorquet said there’s increasing demand for occupational therapy services across Northern Sydney, and widespread support will help us purchase additional equipment. “Robotic equipment, like the Tyromotion Diego, SaeboReJoyce and Pablo, incorporate video games into traditional occupational therapy exercises, and patients are able to play interactive and stimulating games while undertaking repetitive exercises to help them regain movement in their upper limbs,” he said. “This innovative rehabilitation equipment has helped patients recover faster and we are committed to providing additional specialised resources to support our teams.” Occupational therapy team leader at Ryde’s Graythwaite Rehabilitation Unit Renee Gearin hopes the community will throw their support behind this year’s appeal. “These devices can help patients get home to their families at Christmas-time, which can have a meaningful and positive impact on their mental health and overall treatment outcomes,” she said Funds from the Christmas appeal will also support research into the best use of medications by older people.

Head of the Kolling Institute’s lab of Ageing and Pharmacology, Professor Sarah Hilmer said one in five older people take at least one drug where the risks of harm outweigh the benefits. “We have developed a tool for clinicians, called the Drug Burden Index, to guide the safer use of medicines,” she said. “We need further support to extend our research within the Penney Ageing Unit and help improve the effectiveness of medicines for older people, not just in Australia but internationally as well.” The NORTH Foundation is encouraging all staff to help support their colleagues within occupational therapy and the Penney Ageing Unit by spreading the word about the Christmas Appeal and fostering community engagement. The Orthopaedic Fracture Clinic at Hornsby Ku- ring-gai hospital has gone live with electronic documentation. Staff have been preparing for the move from paper to electronic for several months and are excited about achieving the “huge milestone”. Physiotherapy Manager Katie Lee said it means quicker access for other departments to review clinic notes and no waiting for scanned documents. “This is timely with Christmas and public holidays around the corner. It is a more efficient way of record keeping, clearer documentation and having less paper is better for the environment.” Orthopaeds goes electronic at HKH



celebrating time in service at rns Staff from Royal North Shore Hospital

years, as did Jane Florence.

celebrated their time in service this week, with some outstanding milestones clocked up at both sites. At Royal North Shore, Cancer Centre Clinical Trials Manager Sally McCowatt clocked up 40

Seven staff notched 35 years of service while 10 staff clocked up 30 years. See the next edition of NSLHD News for all the action from Ryde and Hornsby Ku-ring-gai hospital’s Time in Service ceremony.

The 35 years of service cohort

Jacque Hextall (15 years) and Laura Dangerfield

20 years of service

Tracey Gray (35 years) and Laura Dangerfield

Zoltan Kerestes (35 years) and Laura Dangerfield

The 30 years of service crew


The 10 years of service group

Rowan Wells (35 years) and Laura Dangerfield

This group clocked up 15 years

Jane Florence and Sally McCowatt clocked up 40 years each

25 years of service


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