NSLHD News August 9

Message from the board chair Trevor Danos AM

The NSLHD executive team has been keeping the Board briefed on the impact the COVID-19 Delta and the strain the current outbreak in NSW is having on our hospitals and services and the delivery of care across the district. The Delta strain is testing the state’s health system in ways we could not have imagined a few months ago. This is a very trying time for our staff, our patients and their families as well as older community members living independently or in nursing homes. Everyone is feeling the challenges of lockdown, isolation, home schooling and being separated from loved ones. During these times there are also many positives. We have exceptionally strong, agile and compassionate leadership in the executive leadership team led by our Chief Executive Deb Willcox. We have first rate infection controls in place. We are making the most of telehealth opportunities. We are working closely with primary care providers and with Sydney North Primary Health Network. The Board was very reassured that more than 90 per cent of staff have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and more than 80 per cent have had both doses meaning staff at NSLHD are the most vaccinated in any local health district in NSW. Also reassuring is the fact that there are more than adequate supplies of PPE. There are strengthened close links with local nursing homes and disability service providers. The district is working closely with local private hospitals to manage any elective surgery backlogs. And plans are in place to redeploy our staff to boost staff numbers where it is safe, appropriate and effective to do so. It all adds up to a health system and a district that are first-class and one of which we can all be very proud.

The executive leadership team is very focused on the mental wellbeing of our staff. The Board is immensely impressed with staff who have gone above and beyond for close to 18 months, always putting patients’ needs first. We know there is fatigue and exhaustion, made worse by the uncertainty of when this lockdown will end. We understand the frustration of staff having to self-isolate and it is pleasing to learn that additional trained psychologists have been employed to get around our hospitals and facilities. The Speaking Up for Safety program has also been strengthened and expanded. You can find out more about the program on the Intranet here – http:// intranet.nslhd.health.nsw.gov.au/Safety/ Pages/default.aspx. In these trying times strength can be taken from our daily wins, from the district’s long and proud track record and from our CORE values of collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment. If you are asking yourself what more you could do, please consider: trust in the district’s leadership; continue to provide the best possible care to our patients and consumers; remain honest, open, clear and calm; look out for friends and colleagues; put up your hand if you are struggling or need help; and encourage everyone to get vaccinated. The Board is very aware of the hard work and planning underway to ensure the district can continue to provide high- quality and safe care during this period, and I would like to thank you for your commitment.

Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District



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