NSLHD News July 31

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


quality and improvement awards Celebrating the projects that improve our services for patients, staff and the community.

Read more on Pages 4 and 5

Manly hospital’s masterplan Page 3

herbie celebrates one year as therapist Page 11

Leaders in healthcare, partners in wellbeing


MEssage FROM the chairman Trevor Danos AM

As our staff continue to face the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19 and ensure our hospitals and services are well prepared, there is also a great deal of other work underway to benefit our patients, our staff and the community. One such important project the Board is excited about is Planetary Health. This recognises the inextricable link between the health of our planet and the health of our population, with a focus on the importance of climate change and environmental sustainability. To drive Planetary Health, the district is focusing on six priority areas: healthy communities, capital works, staff wellbeing, green space/ healthy built environments, waste management and improvement and procurement. A range of initiatives related to Planetary Health are already occurring across the district and work is underway to develop a comprehensive register to capture these activities. Key initiatives include: Mona Vale and Hornsby Hospitals’ solar panel installations, Royal North Shore Hospital joining the Global Green and Healthy Hospitals Network and implementing pharmaceutical waste segregation strategies, battery recycling and metal salvaging processes. NSLHD has established a Planetary Health committee with representatives from across the district. The aim of the committee is to develop and support strategies to promote Planetary Health and provide leadership and direction for the implementation of these initiatives. This is something the Board strongly and proudly supports and I look forward to hearing about its progress and providing updates to our community. Good consumer engagement is key to our hospitals and health services providing world- class care to patients and their carers and it is fundamentally important to have input from those who use our services.

To increase effectiveness and ensure our consumers have enhanced capacity to engage with our services the NSLHD Board Consumer Committee has reviewed and reformed its terms of reference. This will include consumer representation from each hospital and health service within the district, totalling seven additional local consumer representatives. A copy of the terms of reference is on the District’s internet page. The committee also has representation from consumers who have received health care in our district who can provide feedback, advice and support. The additional numbers of consumer representation from the hospitals and services will strengthen the consumer voice within the district to enhance service design and delivery, particularly during the redevelopment of our hospitals. The Board is very pleased with the progress the district has achieved in the Leadership and Talent Program, identifying and investing in our leaders. Our staff are our most valuable asset and by investing in their talent and supporting future leaders, as an organisation we are laying the foundations for the district’s future. In some very sad news, one of our former Board members Dr Harry Nespolon has passed away. Harry was an extremely passionate GP who worked tirelessly for his profession and his patients. This included being President of the RACGP and Chair of SNPHN. Even during his short illness over the past nine months, he remained committed to his heavy workload and continued to advocate passionately and persuasively for general practice and all the good it does for the health and wellbeing of the community. On behalf of the Board, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Trevor Danos AM Board Chair Northern Sydney Local Health District

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Manly MP James Griffin and CE Deb Willcox at Manly Hospital

Former Manly Hospital’s master plan released A vibrant health and wellbeing sanctuary supporting the needs of the local and wider community is one step closer with proposed plans for the former Manly Hospital site ready for further feedback.

to develop future uses and masterplan for the site. The PSAC comprises members from the Department Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE), Northern Beaches Council, Northern Sydney Local Health District, National Parks and Wildlife Services and local community members. A link to the updated concept master plan and an opportunity to submit feedback can be found here: www.property.nsw.gov.au/ former-manly-hospital-site The community will have an opportunity to submit their feedback on the concept master plan through to Wednesday, 19 August, 2020.

The Department of Planning, Industry & Environment and COX Architecture have prepared a draft concept master plan for the site and are inviting community feedback. Chief Executive Deb Willcox joined Member for Manly, James Griffin at the site to reveal the latest concept master plan. “This site is so important to the people of Manly and the wider Northern Beaches. I encourage everyone to view the master plan on the Property NSW website,” Ms Willcox said. “The community has already made a significant contribution by helping to shape the future of this site, which will offer a range of services that will benefit the community.” A planning proposal will be lodged with Northern Beaches Council which will seek to expand the range of health, wellbeing and related uses permitted at the site under the current zoning. The former Manly Hospital was closed in October 2018 and a Project Steering Advisory Committee (PSAC) established


Share your news and achievements.

Contact our team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health. nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



Delivering Integrated Care Award



The 2020 NSLHD Quality and Improvement Awards were held on Tuesday 28 July. While this year looked a little different due to COVID-19, the finalists and staff from the executive team came together to celebrate the excellence of nurses, clinicians, allied health professionals, support staff and researchers across the district. Director of Clinical Governance Mark Zacka hosted the event and announced the finalists and winners. NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos AM, along with Board members Karen Filocamo and Professor Mary Chiarella, presented winners and finalists with certificates and trophies. The awards are a special event to celebrate staff who have gone above and beyond to improve their working environment for patients, consumers, staff and the community.

Frailty Initiative Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

After-hours Clinical Nurse Consultant Pilot Project

Lower North Shore and Hornsby Child Youth Mental Health Service

Patients as Partners Award



Patient Led Handover Initiative Rehabilitation Team, Mona Vale Hospital

Youth Health Consultant Initiative NSLHD Health Promotion

Health Research and Clinical Practice Award

Keeping Sweethearts Together

They represent a fantastic opportunity to put a spotlight on the district’s commitment to excellence and the delivery of programs and services which make a real difference to the people we care for. The awards will inform NSLHD’s entries into this year’s NSW Premier’s Awads and NSW Health Awards.

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital


Congratulations to all the winners and finalists.

Excellence in Supporting the Mental Health of Patients and Consumers Award

Excellence in Supporting Services Award




Mental Health Intensive Care Unit Metabolics Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Mental Health Service

MHEND Clinic Mental Health Endocrine Team, Hornsby Hospital

Executive Operational Huddles Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

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2020 NSLHD Quality and Improvement Award Winners and Finalists

Quality and Safety Award

Patient Experience Award



Reducing Time in Seclusion Project Mental Health ICU, HK Hospital

Carers @ the Bedside Project NSLHD Carer Support Service

Keeping People Healthy Award


Eyes Open Project Ophthalmology Clinic, Royal North Shore Hospital



Improving physical health outcomes of mental health consumers Assertive Outreach Team, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

Ryde Community Mental Health Gym Program Ryde Community Mental Health Service

Local Solutions Award


Bereavement Bag Project Compassionate Hospitals Working Party, Cancer and Palliative Care Network



Reducing innappropriate arterial blood gas testing Intensive Care Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital

Orthopaedic Fracture Clinic Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital



Telehealth project officer Emily Gregg, with Dr Josh Pillemer and Social Worker Emily Mahony.

CONNECTING PATIENTS TO LOVED ONES DURING COVID-19 It has been one of the hardest aspects of

receive patients from all across NSW,” he said. “Being able to facilitate communication with loved ones who are hours away is a tremendous service that helps patients, their families and the health service. Even when restrictions are relaxed again, I can see this providing a lasting benefit for all.” Dr Pillemer said the flow on effects from the project would greatly benefit other areas of healthcare and enable families to play a key role in their loved one’s recovery. “Having this technology available gives us the flexibility to expand the involvement of the patient in their own care through access to telemedicine services, inclusion in multidisciplinary family conferences which can include family from around the world, and provision of face-to-face language translation services,” he said. “Well beyond COVID-19, this project has great potential to improve the way we care for our patients.”

being in hospital during COVID-19; but thanks to an initiative at Royal North Shore Hospital, patients and loved ones will no longer have to go without seeing each other. The hospital’s Intensive Care Unit has installed webcams on existing bedside computers and trained nursing and social work staff in the use of videoconferencing software to ensure patients, including those with COVID-19, remain connected to the outside world. Staff will operate the computer with patients to ensure they are able to call and see their loved ones without being restricted by their injuries or clinical requirements. ICU Staff Specialist Dr Josh Pillemer said that the catalyst for this project was some of the restrictions on patient visitation. The project is intended to reduce the isolating effect of these restrictions, especially given the prospect of further restrictions in the event that COVID-19 becomes a larger problem. “It is hard enough for our unwell patients in ICU without adding the extra challenge of removing the vital support that comes from visits from their loved ones” he said. “In the past, patients had been haphazardly using their own devices for video calls – but this was not possible for many, given it required patients to have their own equipment and the faculties to use it.” Dr Pillemer said that the isolation of being in ICU was particularly noticeable for those who were transferred to Royal North Shore Hospital far away from their homes. “As a NSW Trauma Centre, as well as a state- wide burns and spinal cord injury service, we

By the numbers...

132 conferences...

running for a combined total ofmore than 3500 minutes...

with more than 560 different devices joining.



A feast for our food services They are the unsung heroes in our hospital: food services

staff who deliver food to patients, take meal orders and prepare the food for our patients. Hundreds of food services staff across our local health district were recognised recently with hospital delivering food to them, while they got to enjoy a cuppa and a cake. The Thank You Food Services Day shows the district’s appreciation to support services who also work on the frontline, helping patients. In a letter by Chief Executive Deb Willcox to food services staff, she praised their commitment especially through the challenging time with COVID-19. “On behalf of us all at Northern Sydney Local Health District I would like to say a huge thank you for the vital contribution you have made found the number of women smoking during pregnancy in NSW has halved, and yet there are still some concerning trends prompting calls for targeted campaigns. Researchers from the Kolling Institute and the University of Sydney, analysed smoking rates in all pregnancies in NSW over a 22 year period from 1994 to 2016. The Women and Babies Research team found the overall smoking rates during pregnancy have more than halved from 22.1 per cent in 1994 to 8.3 per cent in 2016. The numbers fell from 19,850 women to 7,820. Director of Women and Babies Research, Professor Jonathan Morris, said the reduction in numbers was positive and reflected the

Amandeep Kaur Gill and Agnes Li enjoy a coffee and a cake at Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

as we have prepared and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Deb said. “As food service staff you have played a very special role, providing our patients with a large variety of healthy

underestimate the impact you have every day. “The nutrition of our patients is critical, and your attention and care to their meals is so very important.” Staff also received a free coffee voucher. avoidable health outcomes, such as stillbirth, neonatal death, low birth weight and preterm birth.” Associate Professor Tanya Nippita said around 8000 pregnancies each year are exposed to maternal smoking, and researchers would like to see that figure drop substantially. “Armed with our research data, we believe the greatest reduction in smoking during pregnancy is likely to come from interventions targeting the four regions with the highest rates,” she said. “Tailored programs represent the best use of resources, with the potential to achieve the best results. “This is an important example of strong research data translating to improved public health outcomes.” WWW.NSLHD.HEALTH.NSW.GOV.AU 7

foods and drinks. “You must never

Research to help reduce smoking in pregnancy A large scale review has

success of anti-smoking initiatives such as plain packaging and mandatory health warnings. “The decrease however, was the lowest among younger mothers, under 25, and women from a lower socio economic background,” he said. “The data indicated the highest rates of smoking were clustered in just four areas, including Hunter New England, South Western Sydney, Western Sydney and Western NSW. “Over half the women who smoked during pregnancy lived in one these four regions, and up to 21 per cent of women in these areas continued to smoke while they were pregnant. “These trends are concerning and contributing to poor but

VALE – Dr Harry Nespolon Former NSLHD Board member and Royal Australian College of GPs President Dr Harry Nespolon has passed away aged 57 following a battle with pancreatic cancer. Harry worked tirelessly advocating for his profession, even as he

helping secure $500 million for general practice to fight coronavirus, helping to expand telehealth for all patients and raising the importance of GPs in the community. During his tenure as President, Harry also managed to secure a number of key objectives and milestones for the RACGP, such as ending the Medicare freeze; advocating on behalf of marginalised people; and building greater support systems for new and experienced GPs. Before his time as RACGP President, Harry enjoyed a long and varied career. After graduating with a Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery from Flinders patient groups such as refugees and LGBTQI University in South Australia in 1985, he went on to obtain his Diploma of Obstetrics constant and unwavering dedication to the nursing profession she loved and the Royal North Shore Hospital community. Her commitment to patient care, passion for nursing and the support she provided was unwavering. Susan was very much part of the Royal North Shore Hospital family and her tireless efforts to ensuring the very best care was provided to patients will be greatly missed. While this is an incredibly

battled his illness after being diagnosed nine months ago. As a GP and practice owner, Harry was elected RACGP President in July 2018 and he advocated on behalf of Australia’s GPs. As a NSLHD Board member, he was passionate about discharge summaries and the value and worth of the Primary Health Network. Harry joined the NSLHD Board in 2017 and only resigned in November 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he was well respected by his peers for

from the Royal Australian College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He became a Fellow of the RACGP in 1992, opening his first practice in 2003. The NSLHD Board, on behalf of the District, extends its deepest condolences to his family.

VALE – susan henderson Susan Henderson,

Divisional Nurse Manager at Royal North Shore Hospital, has passed away after a short and sudden illness.

A dear friend to many, Susan was well known across the hospital.

She was a wonderful warm person who was incredibly caring towards those she worked with. She was an inspiration to the many staff she managed, guided, taught and supported and will be remembered for her

sad time, she will be remembered her enthusiasm, kindness and the outstanding contribution she made to the public health system.

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Erin Lamond (back left), , Kolling Institute Executive Project Manger Christine Anderson, Director of People and Culture Paula Williscroft, Consumer Representative Steph Sanbrook (front left) Rachael Fisher and CE Deb Willcox

Lights, camera, action for 2020 s first innovation winners It looked a bit different to normal due to COVID-19, but NSLHD’s Innovation Program returned with a bang and a $45,500 cheque. Originally scheduled for April, the pitch was postponed until July but they were worth the wait with the judging panel facing a tough choice to decide the winner. However, they weren’t the only winners with Chief Executive Deb Willcox also choosing to fund Outside the Box - a collaborative education program to help clinicians understand the experiences of carers so they are better prepared to work with families to the benefit of the patient and their clinical outcomes.

In the end, Rachael Fisher and Erin Lamond from Graythwaite Rehab at Ryde Hospital took out the title of Pitch Winners and Best Presenters, a popular vote by the audience. Rachael and Erin’s project, Lights Camera Action: Superstar Graythwaite was awarded $45,500 to better prepare patients for their transfer and stay in the rehabilitation ward by engaging patients earlier with communication via video in 5 different languages.

This idea was pitched by carer peer workers Simon Johnson and Robyn Fallshaw and Family and Carer Program Manager Angela Hunter from Mental Health Drug and Alcohol. Manager Strategy and Service Integration Anna Giuffrida said the Innovation Program had improved patient care since 9ts inception and believed the latest winners would continue that theme. “It was great to be able to finally come together in a socially distant way to enjoy and celebrate innovation in the District,” she said. “There continues to be a trend for developing video content, however the innovative idea lies in the way that staff want to improve the way they communicate and engage patients and carers to improve patient care and their outcomes. “The Innovation Program is all about improving patient care.” Applications for the November Pitch close on October 7. Details can be found nslhd.health. nsw.gov.au/improvementhub or by emailing NSLHD-innovationProgram@health.nsw.gov.au to discuss your idea.

Erin Lamond and Rachael Fisher scooped $45,000 for their Innovation Project.



Updated mask policy across NSW hospitals Given the current local transmission of COVID-19

NSW Health has escalated the level of risk of the disease to moderate across the state. This requires all health workers – at both hospitals and community health settings – to wear a surgical mask when they are delivering care or when they can’t socially distance 1.5 metres of patients. Patients, carers and visitors to our hospitals and services across Northern Sydney Local Health District are also required to wear a mask where possible. Children 12 years old or under are not required to wear a mask. The use of masks does not substitute other COVID-safe

practices such as staying at home if unwell, good hand hygiene and physical distancing. People who are unwell are being asked not to visit patients in our hospitals and

health facilities. NSW Health is continuously monitoring the evolving situation and will update advice as new evidence emerges and risk levels change.

careers that risk developing a disabling knee condition A global review has identified the jobs most likely to lead to knee osteoarthritis, prompting calls for greater measures to reduce the painful condition.

More than 70 studies, involving nearly a million people were analysed as part of the biggest review of the knee condition. The international study brought together teams from the Universities of Sydney, Oxford and Southampton. Researchers found construction workers, cleaners, miners, farmers and surprisingly stay-at-home parents were all more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Professor David Hunter, from the Kolling’s Institute of Bone and Joint Research, said they also identified the activities which increased the risk of joint disease, like excessive kneeling, squatting, standing, lifting and climbing stairs. “This large scale review was important to highlight the direct link between specific jobs and knee osteoarthritis, a leading cause of loss of work and disability worldwide,” he said. “One in eight people currently have the condition, and that number is expected to

jump by 50 per cent in the next 15 years.” Lead author Dr Xia Wang, also from the Institute of Bone and Joint Research, said knee osteoarthritis can lead to invasive surgery including total knee replacements. “We hope this research will lead to additional measures to reduce the occupational hazards across a broad range of jobs,” she said. “We also hope it will promote the steps individuals can take to reduce their risk, such as reducing their weight, improving the strength of the muscles around the joint, and reducing the load on the joint when working.”

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Back row L to R:Sue Beston – Secretary, Cornucopia Committee, Maureen Thornett, President, Cornucopia committee, Kim Field, Director, NSLHD PACH, Samantha O’Keeffe, Therapy Dog Trainer, GuideDogs NSW, Dr Liz Murphy, Andrea Turner and CE Deb Willcox

Herbie celebrates one year as therapist A year after embarking on his career of choice,

Herbie has helped. “The stats from the staff’s personal impact and experience survey were overwhelmingly positive,” she said. “All up, 100 per cent of staff said animal assisted therapy in the workplace has improved staff relations, while 94 per cent agreed it has improved their own wellbeing.” Further to that, 90 per cent of staff agree that Herbie has positively changed workplace culture. But being a rock star can be hard work, with demand for Herbie sometimes far exceeding his availability. “Herbie is very popular and the interest in and requests of him continue to increase,” Andrea said. “Other services are recognising the value of being able to provide continuity of care and strong relationship development through animal assisted therapy.” Herbie has had such a positive impact in his first year, we cannot wait to see what he can do in his second. For more on Herbie, check out his video on Facebook!

Herbie the therapy dog and his team took time to paws and reflect on his achievements to date. As one of the district’s most well-known and popular staff members, Herbie knew his performance review would tell him how much of a good boy he has been, especially when you look at the numbers. Since he was unleashed at the Child Youth and Family Services team to help with their animal assisted therapy, Herbie has attended more than 250 occasions of service. This includes 212 scheduled client/patient appointments, 14 clinical supervision appointments, 14 case conferences and 11 ‘special guest’ appearances. A survey commissioned by Herbie’s boss and fur-mother Andrea Turner, found animal assisted therapy was proving a useful mechanism for both staff and patients. Clinicians were 100 per cent united by Herbie’s impact, with all agreeing he has encouraged willingness and engagement and made people feel more comfortable and able to talk about their feelings. However, it’s not just patients and consumers



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