NSLHD News October 21 2022

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


Main story NSLHD’s Australian first net zero program Twelve clincians across the district have joined the program to help with NSLHD’s sustainability efforts. Page 3 Short blurb Read more on Page x

NSLHD steps its way to the top for STEPtember Page 6

Celebrating allied health professionals Page 4


With recent public health orders changing and the number of reported COVID-19 case expected to drop, it’s important that staff remain vigilant within the health setting. All healthcare workers are still required to isolate for at least seven days in line with the COVID-19 deisolation advice document. Throughout the entire pandemic NSLHD has been exemplary in following public health orders to protect our patients and their loved ones. I have no doubt this will continue as we continue in the next phase of the pandemic. The district has achieved another great result for STEPtember this year, raising the most amount of money across all local health districts in the state. I’d like to congratulate Hil Henchman and the team ‘Hilly’s Soldiers’ on being the highest fundraisers across the district and team ‘Stayin’ Alive’ for being the highest steppers across the district. These fundraising efforts are a wonderful achievement for a great cause and I’d to thank everyone who was involved this year. We recently celebrated Allied Health Professions Day, a day we recognise and celebrate our more than 1660 allied health colleagues across the district. This year’s theme was ‘Stronger Together’ which highlights the essential collaborative care allied health clinicians provide. I would like to say a huge thank you to our allied health professionals – you are an incredible group of people and we truly appreciate your commitment and dedication. This month is Cyber Security Awareness Month and the importance of cyber security has never been more relevant than it is now with the recent data breach that affected Optus customers. The month serves as a reminder to have cyber security front of mind and the NSLHD ICT Cyber Security Team have been sending out some different pieces of information throughout the month.

upcoming Northern Health Precinct Research Showcase on October 25. The event will provide a chance to profile some of our emerging research leaders across nursing, midwifery, and pharmacy, as well as allied health and public health. The showcase will demonstrate the impressive collaboration between the University of Sydney and the district, while highlighting the expertise across the Northern Health Precinct. Everyone is welcome to join the online event. The annual People Matter Employee Survey results are currently being released and it was wonderful to see 41 per cent or 4656 of our staff participated in the process which is a record for our district.

Your responses are very important as they tell us what our people think about their workplace.

I am pleased to report that NSLHD remains in the top three health districts and networks for engagement across NSW Health and our engagement rate was 65 per cent. This level of engagement tells us how many of you are proud of where you work and what you do. Undeniably our results this year have been impacted, as we continue to deliver exceptional healthcare while managing the ongoing impact of the pandemic on staffing levels. Your feedback was very aligned with the rest of NSW Health and clear on where we need to focus our improvement efforts in the months ahead. There have been some very clear themes emerging this year from your feedback which we will review very carefully as we work to build action plans based on the results. Look out for the results coming out soon for your hospital, services and teams as they are communicated through the normal channels and on the NSLHD intranet. I would like to thank everyone who took the time to complete the survey.

Lee Gregory I/Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District

With our research across the district going from strength to strength, I’m looking forward to the



NSLHD Net Zero Program leads

NSLHD commences Australian first net zero program Clinicians working across Northern Sydney Local Health District have put up their hand to focus on sustainability initiatives as part of an Australian first net zero program. A group of 12 nurses, doctors, pharmacists and allied health staff from and our department has already been working to

practices,” Nicola said. “It’s exciting NSLHD is the first health service in Australia to undertake a program of this nature with such enthusiastic and passionate leads from different clinical areas. “Healthcare contributes seven per cent to Australia’s carbon footprint, and clinicians are becoming more aware of this and want to address it.” 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.

reduce this by educating our colleagues to use alternative gases that are less harmful to the environment. “Using desflurane for one hour is the equivalent of flying from Sydney to Melbourne in terms of carbon emissions. “Encouraging our colleagues to use alternative gases such as sevoflurane not only significantly decreases these emissions, but also has a large financial benefit – in 2021 we saved $100,000 by using cheaper and more sustainable alternatives. “There is also great potential for reducing pharmaceutical wastage and improving waste segregation

three NSLHD hospitals will dedicate half or one day a week to be part of the NSLHD Net Zero Leads Program. Northern Sydney is the first local health service in Australia to establish such a program as part of an Australian first sustainability program funded by NSLHD’s charity partner, the NORTH Foundation. Royal North Shore Hospital anaesthetist Dr Penny Hodges never considered a role like this would be possible. She will be sharing the net zero lead position with a colleague, each dedicating one day every fortnight. Penny said the opportunity to focus on sustainability alongside her clinical role is going to help her engage and empower colleagues to make sustainability a priority. “Being able to become a ‘green’ champion for the anaesthetics department is something very different to my day job and I am really excited about it,” Penny said. “We know anaesthetic gases represent five per cent of our hospital’s carbon footprint,

of general and clinical waste.” NSLHD Planetary Health Manager Nicola Groskops is coordinating the program for NSLHD. “We asked staff at NSLHD to submit an expression of interest in the program and we were thrilled with the response – a real indicator of how enthusiastic clinical staff are about embedding environmentally sustainable

Medical Consultant Planetary Health Dr Kate Charlesworth, Director Population and Planetary Health Paul Klarenaar and NSLHD Planetary Health Manager Nicola Groskops



Celebrating NSLHD’s allied health professionals More than 1660 allied health professionals working across 22 disciplines in northern Sydney were celebrated earlier this month on Allied Health Professions Day (14 October). Allied Health Professions Day started back in 2018 by two clinicians in the United Kingdom. The clinicians wanted to recognise allied health professionals and their contribution to patient care and population health.

This year’s theme was Stronger Together, and NSLHD Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory said this highlights the essential collaborative care allied health clinicians provide. “This is reflective of the remarkable care our allied health staff provide to patients and consumers in acute, rehabilitation and community setting,” he said. “I would like to say a huge thank you to our allied health professionals – you are an incredible group of people and we truly appreciate your commitment and dedication.” On the day, NSLHD Director of Allied Health Julia Capper announced the winners of the annual Allied Health Professionals Awards, and staff were treated to gelato. “Our allied health clinicians work hard every day to make a difference in people’s lives and this is recognised by our patients and consumers, their families, and the multi- disciplinary teams they contribute to,” Julia said. “Thank you for the remarkable contribution that you make every day – your dedication, energy, flexibility and compassion.”

Allied health staff from Royal North Shore Hospital Celebrate AHP Day

NSLHD Allied Health Leader of the Year, Tracey Cragg with her team

Allied health staff from Mona Vale Hospital Celebrate AHP Day

2022 Allied Health Professionals Award winners

Michelle Lawrence, Clinical Lead, NSLHD Aboriginal Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Team Sophie Logan, Physiotherapy Allied Health Assistant, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

NSLHD Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Allied Health Professional of the Year

NSLHD Allied Health Assistant/Technician of the Year

Ilana Krug, Social Worker, Royal North Shore Hospital

NSLHD Early Career Allied Health Professional of the Year

NSLHD Exercise Physiology Team Highly Commended: • Hornsby Hospital High Risk Foot Team • Royal North Shore Hospital Emergency Department Pharmacy Team Leigh Ambrose, Senior Radiation Therapist, Northern Sydney Cancer Centre Tracey Cragg, Women’s Health Physiotherapy Team Leader, Royal North Shore Hospital

NSLHD Allied Health Professional of the Year

NSLHD Allied Health Leader of the Year

Allied Health Team of the Year

• Mona Vale Hospital Speech Pathology Team • Ryde Hospital Occupational Therapy Team

Katrina Travassaros, Student Unit Supervisor Occupational Therapy Department Royal North Shore Hospital

NSLHD Allied Health Educator of the Year

Louise Hansell, Senior Physiotherapist, Royal North Shore Hospital

NSLHD Allied Health Researcher of the Year



Outstanding career recognised with national accolade RNSH’s Head of Clinical Pharmacology Professor Sarah Hilmer has been elected a fellow of the prestigious Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences.

internationally. Sarah leads a research program in ageing and pharmacology at the Kolling and has contributed widely to the management of medication. Her research focuses on understanding and optimising medication use and improving outcomes in older people, particularly those living with multiple conditions. Sarah has developed the Drug Burden Index, a tool to measure the overall risk of a person’s medicines to their physical and cognitive function. This tool is being used widely across the Northern Sydney and Central Coast local health districts. Sarah said she has been tremendously fortunate to have worked across clinical

Professor Hilmer is part of a select group of researchers who have been admitted to the academy, which works to advance health and medical research across Australia. She has joined the highly-respected organisation in recognition of her important contribution to healthcare and research. Sarah has welcomed the election, saying it was not expected. ‘I was surprised and honoured to be elected a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences,” she said. “I have great respect for the work of many of the current fellows and I look forward to contributing to the activities of the academy, particularly supporting younger researchers. “Mentorship for health and medical researchers is a priority for me in my roles at RNSH, the University of Sydney and the Kolling Institute, as well as through the Sydney Health Partners Geriatric Medicine Clinical Academic Group.” Sarah has worked as the Head of Clinical Pharmacology and as a geriatrician at RNSH since 2005. Her research and clinical expertise is respected both nationally and

practice, research and policy, and to have worked with a wonderful network of mentors, colleagues and mentees.

Professor Sarah Hilmer

12 year old Grace fundraises for RNSH

the past three years volunteering with her grandmother Anne Green who also volunteers at RNSH’s Corner Shop. As part of a passion project for school, Grace set out to raise money for RNSH’s spinal unit and for patients admitted to RNSH with eating disorders. With a lot of determination and hard work, Grace has been able to donate an incredible $1000 in gifts to RNSH. Grace said her motivation to fundraise for RNSH was visiting the hospital and wanting to help patients feel comfortable. “Seeing patients at the hospital made me realise that I wanted to do something to help,” she said. “I hope that these gifts can make the lives of patients, their families and staff a little bit easier.” Grace was able to present some of the gifts to the spinal unit at RNSH, which included a music speaker for patients to listen to music as well as a selection of games for patients and their families to play with during recovery.

Volunteer Grace Green with Spinal Nursing Unit Manager Wendy Brown

Grace Green is only 12 years old, but her compassion and desire to help others shows she is well beyond her years in kindness. Grace has spent her school holidays over



Philip Hoyle honoured with national award Royal North Shore Hospital Director of Medical Services Dr Philip Hoyle has been honoured with a prestigious award for his work in improving accreditation systems in Australia and overseas

The program provides support for doctors across Australia to ensure their physical and emotional wellbeing. “I care about this area (of improving standards) because improving healthcare includes not just the patient but also the people who look after the patients,” Dr Hoyle said. “Having standards that benefit everyone in healthcare, whether they are patients, their family members or staff and workers themselves, is very important. “I am also fortunate to work at Northern Sydney Local Health District and Royal North

Dr Hoyle is the inaugural recipient of the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards (ACHS) President’s Award for Outstanding Contribution. The award recognises Dr Hoyle’s dedicated work as Chair of the ACHS Standards Committee and guiding the ongoing evolution of the Evaluation and Quality Improvement Program Standards Dr Hoyle has contributed to developing the standards for more than 20 years. They are now used internationally to ensure excellence in patient care. “I’m delighted with the award because it shows how the work we have been doing in this space has been effective, is meaningful and is having an impact,” Dr Hoyle said. “A lot of the work has been focused around coming together with various groups, finding the common ground, knowing and assessing how health services are performing and then taking it to the next level. “Everyone in healthcare is here to make a positive difference and hopefully through this work that’s what I am contributing to.” The ACHS award also honours Dr Hoyle’s role developing a new set of standards for the Australian Medical Association’s Doctors’ Health Services.

Shore Hospital, which is one of the most caring hospitals in Australia. We have a culture here where we care for patients and each other, so that’s an inspiration for me. “I’m proud to receive this award but it’s more a reflection of the wonderful teams and people I have worked with.”

Dr Philip Hoyle

NSLHD steps its way to the top for STEPtember STEPtember 2022 has officially wrapped up and the results indicate another very successful year for NSLHD.

supportive and were very generous in helping me achieve this goal,” she said. Hil even donated some of her own money to the cause to help fundraising efforts that will help make a difference to those living with cerebral palsy and their loved ones. “I donated some of my own money to the cause because it’s been a rough few years for everyone and I want to play my part in helping contribute to the CPA and the wonderful work they do.” Interim Chief Executive Lee Gregory thanked staff for getting behind STEPtember and helping a great cause. “To see so many people get behind a wonderful initiative like STEPtember is very pleasing,” he said. “I’d like to thank all staff members and their loved ones for showing so much enthusiasm and achieving wonderful results.”

Northern Sydney Local Health District finished STEPtember as the highest fundraiser across all local health districts across New South Wales, raising a total of $39,875 for the Cerebral Palsy Alliance. The highest fundraising team, ‘Hilly’s Soldiers’ (pictured on cover), were the team who raised the most funds across the district with $2,044, whilst team ‘Stayin’ Alive’ were top steppers across the district with 3,200,193 steps. NSLHD Workforce Health Safety and Wellbeing administration officer Hil Henchman, who is a team member of the Hilly’s Soldiers, was the top individual fundraiser with $1,733. Reflecting on the challenge, Hil said she called on friends and family to rally around her and her team’s efforts for the great cause. “My friends, family and colleagues were all so



research recognised with multi-million dollar grants We would like to congratulate Professors Carol Pollock and Gemma Figtree who have received significant National Health and

The program will involve three main components, including an assessment of new strategies to prevent or slow the development of kidney disease. Carol and her team will also expand our program promoting the regenerative capacity of kidney fibroblasts, and will analyse the models involved kidney disease that spontaneously recover from kidney injury compared with the models that progress to irreversible fibrosis. “I’m really thrilled to have secured this funding to undertake our work and develop our research which we hope will have transformational benefits for patients with kidney disease,” she said. “While early-stage research requires several years to translate to clinical benefit, we are well placed at the Kolling Institute to speed- up improvements in patient care. “Our renal research laboratory has researchers from diverse professional backgrounds and this will facilitate the successful delivery of the research. “We are also well supported by partners in the biotech and pharma industries, and have received crucial philanthropic funds to bring the research to this point.”

Medical Research Council Investigator Grants. Despite a tremendously competitive field, both clinician/researchers have been awarded $2 million to progress their world-leading research and improve long-term patient outcomes. Professor Figtree’s research will investigate innovative solutions to reduce heart attacks for those without the typical risk factors. Professor Figtree, an interventional cardiologist at RNSH, said approximately one-quarter of first-time heart attack patients do not have any of the typical risk factors of coronary artery disease, and yet they have developed what is regarded as silent coronary artery disease without any symptoms. Gemma and her team will use this group to extend their understanding of the disease and identify markers relevant to all patients at risk of a heart attack. Her program will drive the discovery of new biomarkers for the early detection and treatment of coronary artery disease. “I am enormously grateful to the NHMRC for this support. It will help my team follow exciting leads towards clinical translation, and help develop a new way of detecting coronary artery disease and preventing heart attacks,” she said. Professor Carol Pollock’s program of research will work to reduce the personal and societal impact of kidney disease. Carol is a renal medicine specialist at RNSH and an internationally respected academic at the Kolling Institute. Chronic kidney disease currently affects over 13 per cent of the global population and 10 per cent of Australians. Professor Pollock says despite implementing treatment strategies, a progressive loss of renal function is inevitable.

Professor Carol Pollock

Professor Gemma Figtree

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


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Research Excellence and Collaboration BETWEEN the University of Sydney and the Northern Sydney Local Health District



Tuesday 25 October 2022 4:00pm to 5:30pm https://bit.ly/3SiW7VN

The showcase will provide an opportunity for our emerging leaders to share details of their valuable research across a range of disciplines.




Allied Health

Public Health

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