NSLHD News 26 May 2023


Main story Short blurb Advancing Women in Medical Leadership Women from health and other sectors came together to celebrate and discuss their careers. Page 3 Read more on Page x

Volunteers Appreciation Week Celebrations Page 4

First-of-its-kind spinal cord study Page 7


Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

Recently, the district has been laying the foundations to bring about positive change to our workforce so it will be more inclusive, diverse and equitable. For this change to be effective, it needs to be driven at grassroots, from staff who feel empowered to bring about change and those who want to educate and inform others on how to challenge some of the existing barriers. Two recent events I had the pleasure of attending are testament to the work that is being done on creating a diverse and supportive workplace. The Advancing Women in Medical Leadership conference was attended by over a hundred senior medical female leaders, internally and externally, in person and online, but also leaders from other sectors. This wonderful event celebrated the achievements of our female medical leaders and I hope inspired and empowered those who were in the audience. There were some fantastic guest speakers, including NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant AO PSM and Endeavour Energy’s director Dr Marlene Kanga AO who gave the keynote addresses and shared some invaluable insights into their professional careers. It was also inspiring to hear from panellist Professor Emma Johnston AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) and Sydney University. Importantly, this event faced up to some long standing challenges and inequalities and created a momentum for real change to support our female medical colleagues who are deserving and ambitious to hold senior leadership positions within the district. There is much more work the district needs to do in this area, but I feel extremely positive the momentum is amongst us to make this happen. The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion Belong

Strategy 2023-2028 was launched at a very welcoming event at the yarning circle, outside the Ministry of Health building. The launch brought many staff from across our district together who are working hard to make this organisation a place where everyone belongs. Both these initiatives are important bodies of work the Board has given a priority to and I look forward to seeing and hearing more developments in the future. The Board hosted a breakfast with the district’s protection and response to violence, abuse and neglect (PARVAN) team. The team has recently been established following a restructure which has made the service more streamlined. I also had the pleasure of celebrating with staff at the recent Administrative Professionals’ Day. Often working behind the scenes, our administration staff are the backbone to our hospitals and services, working alongside clinicians and management. They deserve this somewhat overdue acknowledgment and the district’s deep gratitude at what I hope will become an annual celebration. I would like to congratulate the finalists and winners from the RNSH Surgical Education Research Training (SERT) awards ceremony and the RNSH Nursing and Midwifery awards. It is always a privilege to hear about the great work of our staff. The Board continues to focus on planetary health and sustainability, and I will be attending the Council of Board Chairs next month where this will be a major focus.

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



NSLHD Board member Dr Michelle Mulligan; Deb Willcox, Deputy Secretary Health System Strategy and Planning, NSW Health; Dr Marlene Kanga, non-executive director, Endeavour Energy; Associate Professor Nada Hamad, St Vincent’s Health

Advancing Women in Medical Leadership Conference NSLHD played host to a powerhouse of women at the Advancing Women in Medical Leadership Conference.

Haematologist, Co-Chair Women in Medicine St Vincent’s Health Australia; Professor Clara Chow, Professor of Medicine, Academic Director Westmead Applied Research Centre, University of Sydney and Deb Willcox AM, Deputy Secretary NSW Health Strategy and Patient Experience. Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the district wanted to build on the momentum for change and was working with senior medical leaders to support more women advancing in their medical careers. “This is driven by women who are senior leaders in their field, joined by management to bring ideas to life and importantly make some real change,” he said. “Having a day like the conference is important because it not only brings many people together to share ideas, but it inspires us all.” NSLHD has made a priority to support senior women in medicine to advance their careers, with fewer than 50 per cent of senior medical leadership positions held by women.

Women from health and other sectors attended the inaugural event which celebrated the achievements of women and provided insight into how some of our country’s most successful female leaders have navigated their careers. Keynote speaker was NSW Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant AO who has been working in NSW Health since 1991 in the areas of virus infections, communicable disease prevention and Indigenous health. Well-known across New South Wales for delivering the 11am COVID-19 updates during the pandemic, Kerry delivered a candid insight into her career. She was joined by other guest speakers including Dr Marlene Kanga AO, Non- Executive Director, Endeavour Energy; Professor Emma Johnson AO, Deputy Vice Chancellor Research, University of Sydney; Associate Professor Nada Hamad,

Associate Professor Margaret Schnitzler with NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant AO



RNSH General Manager Alison Zecchin with volunteer June Irwin and RNSH Director Corporate Services Amanda Harriss

Volunteer Appreciation Week Celebrations Celebrations have been in full swing across the district to celebrate National Volunteers Appreciation Week, Australia’s largest annual celebration of volunteers. Awards ceremonies were held at Royal North Shore and Ryde hospitals to mark the important week and acknowledge the district’s incredible volunteers. The week also offered the chance to recognise some major milestones to some of the district’s volunteers. RNSH volunteer June Irwin was presented with an award to mark 43 years of volunteering and volunteer Michael Appleton was presented with an award to mark 32 years of service for his work assisting the Ryde Community Mental Health team. I/Chief Executive Lee Gregory thanked volunteers across the district for another great year of support to the community. “We are so fortunate to have such great volunteers and on behalf of our patients, staff and carers I’d like to thank you all for the work you do,” he said. Members of the community who are interested in volunteering across the district in 2023, are encouraged to contact below: • Ryde Hospital or RNSH: please email nslhd-volunteers@health.nsw.gov.au with your full name, phone number, email address and which hospital you would like to volunteer with, or call 02 9462 9936.

• Hornsby Hospital: 02 9477 9459 • Mona Vale Hospital: 02 9998 6300 • Macquarie Hospital: 02 9887 5966

Volunteer Michael Appleton with Ryde Hospital’s A/General Manager JenniferMcConnell



The visiting group of doctors at RNSH

Vietnamese doctors visit Royal North Shore Clinicians from Vietnam did the rounds at Royal North Shore Hospital recently aiming to improve care for their patients back home. As part of Hoc Mai Foundation’s latest intake, 16 overseas participants including two nurses, one pharmacist, a medical student administrator and 12 doctors spent three weeks gaining experience from RNSH clinicians. Hoc Mai Foundation Board Chair Associate Professor Chris Pokorny said many hospital staff gave up their time to speak with the Vietnamese delegation who hoped to take their new- found knowledge back to their patients. “Two other highlights were a visit to Hunters Hill Family Medicine Practice organised by Dr Andrew Bowes and a tour of the clinical skills and simulation centre at RNSH,” Chris said. “The following three weeks involved clinical placements, again supervised by many members of the medical and nursing staff to whom I am sincerely grateful. “All of the group gained a lot from the experience and hopefully this will translate into improved medical and nursing care for their many Vietnamese patients.” Hoc Mai Foundation is planning another trip to Hanoi in September for any staff who are wishing to attend. Dyson donates to AYAH

Thanks to Dyson patients and families will be able to use luxury Dyson hair care products while staying at the Manly Adolescent and Young Adult Hospice. Just in time for Mother’s Day, Dyson stylist Liz popped in to pamper mums and patients while giving nurses some great styling tips. AYAH Community Partnerships Manager Laura Grant thanked Dyson for their contribution to the AYAH. “We can’t thank Tom Cherill from Dyson and the entire team enough,” she said. “This generosity goes such a long way to ensuring our families and patients feel at home during their stay.”

Smiles were aplenty at the AYAH thanks to Dyson



NSLHD launches long COVID service NSLHD recently launched the Northern Sydney Long COVID Service (NSLCS).

area with suspected or confirmed long COVID-19 can be referred to the service by a GP or medical specialist. Individuals cannot self-refer. Interim NSLHD Chief Executive Lee Gregory said the service is a big step forward for the district’s long term coronavirus response. “NSLHD’s coronavirus response has been second to none over the past few years,” he said. “The addition of the NSLCS is another example of our commitment to helping the community navigate the complexity of the virus. “Thank you to everyone involved in getting this important service up and running, our community is going to benefit significantly from it.” NSLHD. The group is currently taking part in research related to ‘Digitising Blood Management Processes in Brazil’ and are also researching other health processes. The group visited different departments of RNSH including the haematology department, cardiothoracic intensive care unit, NSW Health Pathology transfusion laboratory and the immunology department. Phillippa said the experience with the researchers benefited everyone involved. “The researchers gained knowledge from RNSH clinicians and scientists, and we gained knowledge from them,” Phillippa said. “Several clinicians from RNSH will stay in touch with them, especially in relation to safety & quality and system processes.”

The service will provide coordinated care for patients who are experiencing complex long COVID-19 symptoms at least three months since their initial COVID infection with no other explanation and require specialist medical, nursing and allied health support. NSLCS is a multidisciplinary service that includes allied health, nursing and medical staff who can provide support virtually through Telehealth. The service aims to provide specialised advice and support so that patients can comfortably manage their symptoms in the community with their GP. Individuals who live in the NSLHD catchment recently visited Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) to gain more knowledge in relation to blood management processes at the hospital. The joint initiative between RNSH, NSW Heath Pathology Transfusion Services and the Centre for Healthcare Resilience and Implementation Science, the Australian Institute of Health Innovation Faculty of Medicine and Macquarie University, gave the researchers the opportunity to explore the hospital and engage with clinicians. The researchers Professor Flavio S. Fogliatto, Professor Tarcisio Saurin, Leonardo Furstenau, Guilherme Tortorella and Natália Ransolin, were accompanied by Macquarie University’s Associate Professor Robyn Clay-Williams and RNSH Blood Management Clinical Nurse Consultant Phillippa Weaver and Bruno Villamea Santos, Virtual Care Change Officer

Brazilian researchers visit RNSH A group of researchers from Brazil has

Researchers from Brazil were shown around RNSH



First-of-its-Kind Spinal cord injury study Researchers based at Royal North Shore Hospital have launched the first study of its kind to support those with a spinal cord injury.

injury due to disease. She has welcomed the opportunity to be part of the trial, saying the strategies have helped her to manage her pain and gain more control over her body. “I have found my stress levels and my fatigue have decreased, while my sleeping is better and I’m more grounded and in control,” she said. “The technique has allowed me to be more productive during the day, and helped me to do more, be more active, and be more independent. “It has been really encouraging to see that I have control over how my body works, when I don’t have any control over some parts of my body. “Knowing how quickly I can affect change through something as automatic as breathing and being more conscious of it, has been extraordinary.” The Spinal cord injury, Mind and HeART or (SMART) study has been made possible by $3 million in combined funding from the NSW Ministry of Health and the University of Sydney. How to participate

The team from the Kolling Institute’s John Walsh Centre for Rehabilitation Research is now seeking recruits for the clinical trial which is investigating the benefits of an approach combining breathing techniques with heart rate feedback. Study lead Professor of Rehabilitation Studies at the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute Ashley Craig said many people don’t realise the wide-ranging impact of spinal cord injuries from unstable blood pressure, chronic pain and fatigue through to poor sleep, brain fog, confusion and low mood. “All these conditions can significantly compromise quality of life,” Ashley said. “Doctors currently rely on a host of pain management and treatment approaches, but our team has developed an innovative technique to support existing treatment strategies. “It follows increasing evidence around the positive impact of regulated breathing on the nervous system, blood pressure and stress.” The study is investigating whether rhythmic breathing combined with heart function feedback can help people with a disrupted nervous system. “We know that a disrupted nervous system can be like a car without brakes, with limited moderation of the effects of the nervous system,” he said. “Our approach is using a specific type of breathing to regulate heart function to a point where it influences neural function and the autonomic nervous system. “The hope is this will in turn deliver wide ranging benefits for the brain, the gut, the heart, sleep and a host of other physical functions. Importantly, we hope it will improve quality of life for those taking part.” One of the first people to join the clinical trial is Dawn Miller-Argue. Dawn suffered a spinal cord injury in 2019 as result of a non-traumatic

If you would like to take part in the clinical trial or find out more about the study, please email smart.trial@ sydney.edu.au or call 0420 378 157

Dawn Miller-Argue

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


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