NSLHD News March 11 2022

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


Main story Short blurb exceptional people awards T e 2021 Exceptional People Awards celebrated and formally recognised staff and volunteers across the district. Read more on Pages 4 and 5 Read more on Page x

rnsh and honrsby hospital equipment heads to tonga Page 3

Research: age and sex influence impact of medications Page 6


Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

It gives me great pleasure to see the winners of the 2021 Exceptional People Awards in this issue of NSLHD News. The ceremony may have been a little later than normal due to our response to last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, but it was a tremendous day of celebrations with our staff. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in the awards, from the organising committee to all the staff who submitted nominations and to those who attended. It truly is one of my favourite days in our calendar, and we get to do it again later this year for the 2022 Exceptional People Awards. Congratulations to all of our winners, you can read more about them here: https://bit. ly/35Ulfie Speaking of celebrations, Royal North Shore Hospital has been ranked the third best hospital in Australia, and number 136 in the world, in Newsweek’s 2022 World’s Best Hospitals list. It is joined by Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital which was ranked 27th in the hospital rankings for Australia. RNSH was one of just seven Australian hospitals to make this year’s top 250 hospitals global list. After such a challenging year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the results are a testament to our staff who have worked tirelessly to deliver safe and quality healthcare to our patients every day. In more praise for our wonderful staff, the NSLHD Board Consumer Committee wanted to extend their sincere and heartfelt thanks to our healthcare staff in the delivery of excellent care through the COVID-19 pandemic. The committee is a group of people who are helping us improve the care we provide by offering their insight and experience. The committee knows of the many difficulties and hardships our staff have endured, including personal sacrifices, so the patients and consumers of our health service could continue to receive the care they needed during this difficult period. As well as our consumer committee, I regularly receive feedback from the community of the stellar job our staff are doing, and I cannot help but feel an enormous sense of pride every time.

This week we celebrated International Women’s Day 2022. Incredibly, women make up more than 72 per cent of our workforce and are leaders in research, innovation, clinical care and management. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was ‘Break the Bias’, a call to action for a world free of bias, stereotypes and discrimination, and to promote diversity, equity and inclusivity. A few of our inspiring staff were interviewed for a podcast to discuss what the day and theme mean to them professionally and personally. You can hear from Occupational Therapist and Allied Health Workforce Development Manager, Emma Tan, Associate Director of Medical Services Dr Bahare Moradi and Acting Divisional Nurse Manager for Women Children and Family Health at Royal North Shore Hospital Michelle De Vroome through our Moments that Matter site or here: https://bit.ly/3pJOUSk The recent flood disaster in NSW and south-east Queensland has been devastating to watch unfold. For some of these communities, it is the second time in 12 months they have been impacted by flooding, while others are still reeling after the devastating bushfires of 2019 and 2020. I know many of us are thinking of our colleagues, as well as any family and friends we may have in flood affected areas. Please know NSW Health, along with other disaster relief authorities, are responding to the situation and helping people access the services they need at this difficult time. Already a number of NSLHD staff have put their hand up and we are in the process of redeploying staff to help the community of northern NSW and support Northern NSW Health Local Health District staff. I know many in our district would welcome the chance to assist, and should such an opportunity materialise it will be communicated.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Treasurer, Minister for Energy and Member for Hornsby Matt Kean with CE Deb Willcox, General Manager Simon Hill, NUM Ros Ferguson and new graduate nurses

Hornsby graduate nurses in the spotlight Nursing graduates from Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital welcomed Member for Nurse Samantha Morris has followed in her mother’s

patients and their carers. The hospital was presented with a NSW Government Community Service Award for its COVID-19 response. Acting General Manager Simon Hill accepted the award on behalf of the hospital.

footsteps with Nicola Morris working in the emergency department. It was the first time both Matt and Deb saw the new hospital main entry which has now been completed. There is now seating at the front of the entrance, along with 15 minute patient drop off/pick up zones to assist

Hornsby, Energy Minister, Treasurer Matt Kean and NSLHD Chief executive Deb Willcox recently. The graduates are among 28 who have started at the hospital with some spending time working with COVID-19 patients, while others have been in placed in the emergency department. Hospital beds, over-bed tables and medication trolleys are just some of the items making their way to Tonga from Royal North Shore and Hornsby hospitals following the devastation caused by the volcano eruption in January. Equipment is being sent to Vaiola Hospital in Tonga’s capital city Nuku’Alofa which was destroyed during the eruption. After speaking with Consul General of Tonga Louise Waterhouse, who is helping collect aid for the country, endocrinologist at Royal North Shore Hospital Professor Bruce Robinson contacted NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox for support. “Louise asked if there was any equipment that would be helpful for the hospital after this terrible disaster

Plans are underway to hold an official opening which staff and the community will be invited to. Royal North Shore and Hornsby equipment heads to Tonga

Tongan Pili-e-Tauhala NSW Recovery Team with the beds from Hornsby Hospital

and thanks to Deb within 24 hours we managed to locate hospital beds, over-bed tables, medication trolleys, amongst other items to send,” he said. “This sort of hardware is really important for patients and staff.” Bruce has had a relationship with Tonga dating back before the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games when he was the team doctor for the

Tongan athletes. Twenty-five beds and

mattresses from Hornsby Hospital are on their way to Vaiola Hospital with a further 40 over-bed tables, four medication trolleys, one bariatric wheelchair, one standard wheelchair, three sets of crutches and one electric examination table due to be collected and sent to Tonga in the coming weeks.



Exceptional People Awards 2021 The 2021 Exceptional People Awards were held on Friday 25 February 2022 to celebrate and formally recognise staff and volunteers across the district. Congratulations to all our nominees, our finalists and our winners, who are all truly exceptional and make a positive difference in people’s lives each day. To read more visit the NSLHD EPA awards page on the website or click here: bit.ly/35Ulfie Connected Person-Centred Care Presented by District Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris

Evidence-Based Decision Making Presented by District Director of Allied Health Julia Capper

Carer Engagement Presented by District Director of Finance Jacquie Ferguson Team Award Inpatient Palliative Care Team – Mona Vale Hospital

Individual Award Dawn Hooper, Palliative Care Nurse Practitioner – Mona Vale Hospital

Team Award The Oncology/Palliative Care CNSs/CNCs team – District Services

Healthy Communities Presented by District Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris

Individual Award Laura Robinson, Clinical Psychologist - Macquarie Hospital

Individual Award Barbara Triantafilis, RN - Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Health Service

Team Award Big Red Kidney Vaccination Bus – District Services

CORE Values and Behaviours Presented by District Director Finance Jacquie Ferguson

Responsive and Adaptable Organisation Presented by District Director of Allied Health Julia Capper

Individual Award Jenny Gilbert, Clinical Document Application Specialist – District Services

Individual Award Aaron Owen, M365 Digital Workspaces Project Manager – District Services

Team Award Paediatric Hospital in the Home – District Wide Services



Leadership Presented by District Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Engaged and Empowered Workforce Presented by District Director of People and Culture Paula Williscroft

Team Award Medical Assessment Unit – Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital

Individual Award Leanne Frizzel, Director Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services – Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital

Individual Award Dr Adrian Lee - Royal North Shore Hospital

Chief Executive’s Awards Presented by CE Deb Willcox

Posthumous Individual Award Megan Chiu, accepted by husband Blake - Former Service Director for Child and Youth Mental Health Service

Board Chair’s Commendation Presented by Trevor Danos AM

Individual Award Dr Michelle Mulligan, COVID-19 Clinical Lead - District Services

Team Award NSLHD Research Team, accepted by Rebeka Freckleton - District Services A big thank you to our sponsors for 2021 Gold:

With special thanks to our Master of Ceremonies - Adam Johnston.

Individual Award Nicole Ikenberg, Chief Risk Officer – District Services


Team Award Internal Audit, accepted by Jorge Ferreira - District Services



Research shows your age and sex influence the impact of medications A new study by

researchers at the Kolling Institute will directly guide the use of medications by older Australians after it identified the profound adverse effects of taking multiple medications. The study follows

Trang Tran, Professor Sarah Hilmer and Dr John March

the impacts were greater with females than males, confirming that gender can influence outcomes, particularly the effect of medications on physical and cognitive performance,” she said. “Part of the strength of this research is due to the consistent monitoring involved, with behaviour patterns recorded continuously for 23 hours in both night and day settings. “Our research represents an important body of work which we hope will highlight the need to consider age and sex when prescribing or managing multiple medication use in patients. “It will provide evidenced- based information to help clinicians understand the global effects of multiple medication use and individual susceptibility.” Members of the nursing community have welcomed the research, with clinical ranked 27th in the hospital rankings for Australia. RNSH was one of just seven Australian hospitals to make this year’s top 250 hospitals global list. After such a challenging year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the results are a testament to our staff who have worked

nurse consultant Allyson Waird, from the Aged Care, Delirium and Dementia units at RNS and Ryde hospitals, saying the new findings provide valuable information. “The clinical importance of unsettled, agitated or aggressive behaviours by patients, especially later in the day, should never be underestimated,” she said. “Such behaviours may be due to a number of factors, not the least of which is medications, and should always be investigated. “Whilst nurses are aware of addressing unmet needs as a person-centred strategy when caring for these patients, it is also imperative that medications be reviewed.” The study, which has been published in Scientific Reports, builds on Professor Hilmer’s internationally significant research fostering the safe use of medications across the hospital, aged care and community settings. tirelessly to deliver safe and quality healthcare to our patients every day. NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said: “thank you to all of our staff who every day make a difference to our patients through the outstanding care you provide.”

the latest figures which show around 50 per cent of Australians over 75 years take five or more medications every day to treat multiple chronic illnesses. The trend is leading to an increased risk of geriatric syndromes, including functional and cognitive impairments. Concerned by the growing number of adverse issues, Professor Sarah Hilmer and her team from the Laboratory of Ageing and Pharmacology used a preclinical model to assess the impact of multiple medications on physical activities. Trang Tran, the PhD student who led the paper, said the research identified significant adverse impacts, including a reduction in physical movement such as walking speed and behavioural changes similar to a drug- induced delirium prior to sleep. “Interestingly, some of

The best hospitals in the world Northern Sydney Local Health District is proud to announce that Royal North Shore

Hospital has been ranked the third best hospital in Australia, and number 136 in the world, in Newsweek’s 2022 World’s Best Hospitals list. It is joined by Hornsby Ku- ring-gai Hospital which was



study to investigate new treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia The Cancer Council NSW

“There are however, high rates of relapse as this form of cancer is protected by a rare group of cells known as leukaemic stem cells, which have the ability to lay dormant and evade chemotherapy. They then reactivate and renew themselves to drive fresh cancer growth. “My team and I recently uncovered a mechanism which is crucial to the survival of leukaemic stem cells. This mechanism is only found in leukaemic stem cells, not in normal human stem cells, making it a promising target for a new treatments.” In this project, Dr Wang and her team will investigate how leukaemic stem cells are able to survive and renew. The team will then develop a treatment strategy to inhibit this unique mechanism “We are very excited by this approach targeting leukaemic stem cells, as this potential new treatment could eradicate acute myeloid in clinically relevant experimental models.

announced funding for a new team at the Kolling Institute to examine a revolutionary approach to treatment for those with acute myeloid leukaemia. This aggressive form of blood cancer has a tragically poor survival rate, and while we have seen tremendous progress for many other types of cancer in recent years, there have been very limited improvements in treatment for this deadly form of blood cancer. Internationally respected researcher Dr Jenny Wang will lead the promising new study following the Cancer Council NSW grant of $450,000. “We are thrilled to have received this generous funding for our project which we hope will lead to an effective, new therapy for this complex cancer,” said the University of Sydney researcher. “Chemotherapy is currently the first-line treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia.

Research Dr Jenny Wang

leukaemia at its root,” she said. “If our pre-clinical tests are successful, we hope to start clinical trials of this innovative approach in collaboration with clinicians and our longstanding industry partner. “This new funding represents an important step towards a greater understanding of this complex cancer and promising new treatment options to improve outcomes for those with this form of blood cancer.” the future of our maternity services. ”We know birthing preferences have changed over time and we aim to meet the needs and expectations of our community, so it’s important we continue to canvass their ideas. “We want to know what’s important to them.” Approximately 10,000 babies are born in NSLHD each year. The survey will be available across the district in places such as maternity wards and child and family health centres

NSLHD undertakes its largest maternity study NSLHD is relaunching a maternity study to survey as many families as possible who have or are planning for a baby to help shape future services. In one of the largest maternity studies undertaken at the households who live in the district. All participants are welcome – even if they chose to give birth in a private facility – or at home. NSLHD’s Acting Network Manager Midwifery Practice

district, we are conducting a month-long survey of families who are planning a pregnancy or have recently given birth. Launched during last year’s COVID-19 outbreak, the survey has undergone a revamp in an effort to boost more responses. The survey will be handed out to patients currently using our maternity services, and will be available online and through social media to reach out to

Jodie Adams said it was important that as many parents filled out the survey so the district could understand the needs of families. “It is important we receive a large number of responses so the district can better understand the needs and preferences of new and expectant families,” she said. “The feedback will help shape

throughout March 2022. It is available by visiting https://bit.ly/3tpiHkD



Healthy and Active for Life Online

What’s included?

A 10-week online program

Are you 60* or over and want to be active and healthy? Join our free online healthy lifestyle program in Term 2! Starting 26 April 2022 Find out more and register at: www.activeandhealthy.nsw.gov.au *Aboriginal people aged 45+ can register.

Exercise videos to do at home each week Online healthy eating and lifestyle sessions Support from a trained Phone Coach

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