NSLHD News 19 December 2023


Main story RNSH helps welcome healthy quadruplets For the first time in 25 years, Royal North Shore Hospital welcomed a set of healthy quadruplets. Page 6 Short blurb Read more on Page x

End of year celebrations in full swing Page 4

Revolutionary total body scanner launched Page 9


Message from the chief executive

Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM

As many of us get ready for the Christmas and New Year break, we should take a moment to reflect on what we have accomplished as a district this year. It’s been an incredibly busy time and so much has been achieved. This year, your work has been a source of inspiration. Your tireless efforts, often under challenging circumstances, have not gone unnoticed, and I want to thank you for your extraordinary contributions. We have a long list of highlights and achievements for 2023 and I know as a team, we have made a difference in so many lives this year. In recent weeks, we have continued to see staff being recognised for their work, which includes four finalists named in four categories in the 2024 Excellence in Allied Health Awards. Congratulations to Meryl Abao, Avindu Vithanage, Mia Whitehall and Kerry Crannis for their nominations in these special awards that acknowledge the passion, dedication and contributions that allied health professionals and their support staff provide in NSW. We also recently celebrated Nurse Practitioner Week, a time that recognises and honours the dedication and contributions of nurse practitioners in healthcare. We have 26 Nurse Practitioners and eight Transitional Nurse Practitioners working in the district and I would like to acknowledge their leadership, skills and expertise. As we wind up this year, I hope all of you who have time off get to relax and recharge with family and friends.

Thanks to those who will be working through the summer holiday and Christmas period - continuing to provide great care to our community. Your service is very much appreciated. In recognising the incredible diversity across our staff, I want to extend warm wishes for whatever holidays you celebrate during this season. Looking ahead, I am excited about the opportunities the coming year holds for all of us. Together, we will continue to innovate, grow and create a positive impact on the lives of people in our community. I wish our NSLHD family a safe and happy break and I look forward to working with you in the New Year.

Adjunct Professor Anthony M. Schembri AM Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



Honouring our staff Internationally-renowned geriatrician Professor Sue Kurrle AO has been recognised for her exceptional and outstanding service by being inducted into Northern Sydney Local Health District’s Board Honour Roll. Spanning more than 35 years, Sue’s career at the district has earned her accolades nationally and internationally. Board Chair Trevor Danos AM said Sue had given generously to her patients, their carers and families, but was also very giving with her time to colleagues. “She is commended for her work in areas including elder abuse, frailty, and nutrition and goes above and beyond to contribute every day in every way imaginable,” he said. Also joining Sue to the Board Honour Roll

is Professor Michael K Nicholas who was also inducted in recognition of 30 years’ of “exceptional and outstanding” service to the district for pain services. Recognised internationally and nationally, Michael has enabled a legacy of life-long transforming, adaptable and accessible programs of recovery for people living with chronic pain. “I congratulate these two extraordinary people for all the work they do and their exceptional service to the people of our district,” Trevor said. They join former NSLHD chief executive Deb Willcox was the first inductee to the Honour Roll last year.

Hornsby Hospital Mona Vale HOSPITAL nslhd mhda


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Santa makes a visit to the Manly AYAH

Staff enjoy a BBQ at Ryde Hospital

end of year celebrations in full swing Staff across the district came together to celebrate another remarkable year of achievements. At Ryde, Mona Vale, Hornsby and Royal North Shore hospitals staff were treated to a barbeque. Staff and patients at the Manly Adolescent and Youth Hospice received a visit from Santa and a local fire truck.

Staff enjoy a BBQ at RNSH

Staff enjoy a BBQ at Hornsby Hospital

Chief Executive Anthony Schembri was on deck at RNSH to hand out treats

All smiles at Mona Vale Hospital’s BBQ



Performance from the Cantorion male voice choir at RNSH. Photo credit: Marcus Kung

Festival of music RNSH staff, patients and visitors were treated to performances last week for the annual Festival of Music. Each day the hospital had a diverse range of performances from choirs to classical, jazz, and contemporary musicians and swing dancing. There were some performances from staff, some new performances from the Cantorion male voice choir, Pyrmont Sings, and The Jitterbug Club as well as the return of some popular performers such as EBHS and Ian Epondulan. TInsel trophy celebrations at ryde

Creativity has been on full display at Ryde Hospital in the lead up to Christmas as teams across the hospital competed in this year’s Tinsel Trophy. In what were very hard decisions for the judges, a total of three awards were given to various teams for their efforts. The ‘Mini Christmas Award’ (departments of less than 10 people) was tied between Health Information Services and occupational therapy. The ‘Sustainable Christmas Award’ was won by Graythwaite Rehabilitation Centre four for their creative use of materials. The overall winner and ‘Best in Theme’ was won by the operating theatres team who dressed up and serenaded the judges with live music.

The operating theatres team took out the top gong of ‘Best in Theme’



Taylah Tudehope-Glachan and her husband Shaun nurse Archie, Charlie, Billy and Daisy in the neo natal intensive care unit at RNSH.

RNSH welcomes healthy quadruplets For the first time in 25 years, Royal North Shore Hospital welcomed a set of healthy quadruplets in early December.

Husband Sean looked content as he nursed two of the babies next to Taylah. “It’s been amazing. It’s been a long journey and we’re just starting the next chapter, which is very exciting.” Dr Karen Mizia, head of department of maternal medicine at RNSH oversaw the pregnancy and described it as very “complex”, and one which involved planning, preparations and rehearsals with representatives from several specialities. Between 30 and 50 people have been involved in Taylah’s care. Given the rarity of quadruplets, with an incidence of 1:700,000 births, the medical teams did everything possible to make sure the pregnancy went as far along as it could. Karen said the safe delivery at 31.5 weeks was “the hospital at its finest” with a large community of staff coming together to help the family. “I’m really proud to say that I was part of an incredible team that managed to get such a wonderful outcome for this family.” Dr Eveline Straub, the head of department neonatology, said there has been a real “buzz” around the quadruplets. “We have been cheering her [Taylah ] on every week.” She said when the four babies finally arrived, they needed very little support. “They are actually beautiful, uncomplicated babies,” she said. “Everyone is just so delighted about the outcome.”

“I’m on cloud nine at the moment,” said new mum Taylah Tudehope-Glachan as she and husband Sean nursed Archie, Charlie, Billy and Daisy in the neo natal intensive care unit. The quadruplets – whose names correspond to the letters ABCD —arrived via a planned C-section at 31 and half weeks. This remarkable event involved a dedicated team of midwives, nurses, obstetricians, neonatologists, and anaesthetists. Each baby had their own medical team and at one point, Taylah and Sean counted 40 people in the delivery room. “It was a well-oiled machine in there,” said Taylah. “It was a very calm and controlled environment.” “We’re just very thankful we were able to have them in such an incredible hospital,” she said. “It has been a massive team effort. I don’t think we would be in the position we are in without the team here. They made miracles happen and we are very lucky to have them.” The couple, both schoolteachers from the Central Coast, began their journey with the hospital when their babies were ten weeks gestation. Taylah was admitted at 24 weeks. “It’s been hard but made a lot easier knowing that a lot of skilled people were behind the scenes working really hard to make sure we had healthy babies,” she said.



Volunteers celebrate the year that was As volunteers across the district have been injecting some Christmas spirit into hospitals and services, they have also some taken some time to celebrate the year that was. RNSH and Ryde Hospital volunteer coordinator Jennifer Duncombe thanked the volunteers across the district for their support every day. “Every day our huge team of dedicated volunteers contribute beyond measure in so many ways,” she said. “They have spent more than 50,000 hours this year raising money, purchasing essential machinery, instruments, and goods for the hospitals, listening and talking to patients and their families, helping with administration work, doing craft and playing games on the kids ward, pouring cups of tea, and much more.” NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri also thanked volunteers across the district for their generous support throughout 2023. “I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our wonderful volunteers across the district,” he said.

“Your kindness, empathy and compassion does so much for our staff, patients and their families.” If you know someone interested in volunteering across the district in 2024, please find the contact details 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 9462 9935. • Hornsby Hospital: Call 02 9477 9459 or email: marie. perkins@health.nsw.gov.au • Mona Vale Hospital: Call 02 9998 6300 • Macquarie Hospital: Call 02 9887 5966

Volunteer end of year celebrations at Ryde Hospital

Volunteer end of year celebrations at RNSH



Kolling Symposium celebrates impact of research A large group of inspiring researchers delivered presentations at the inaugural Kolling Institute Symposium, highlighting the strength of research underway at the institute.

Sumit Sahni Discovery Research Professor Jose Antonio Lopez-Escamez PhD completion Dr Natassia Rodrigo PhD supervision Associate Professor Claire Ashton-James and Dr Ryan Davis Professional Staff Shihani Stoner and Quoc Nguyen Professor Elliott thanked the Workforce and Culture Research Enabler and the Kolling Executive Committee for their co- ordination and support of the awards. “Each of these award winners is driving substantial improvements in their individual areas of expertise, and I’m pleased that we’re able to direct the spotlight onto their significant achievements through the Kolling awards program.”

Close to a hundred people attended the event at the Northside Conference Centre focusing on the key themes of collaboration, innovation and wellbeing. Senior researchers and up-and-coming investigators took to the stage, outlining the progress being made with the Kolling’s basic science right through to its crucial implementation research. Academic Director Professor James Elliott said it was evident that significant achievements are being delivered, and I would like to recognise the considerable efforts by all our researchers. “It’s during big events like this one where we gain a much better idea of the ground-breaking work being undertaken at the Kolling and where we have the chance to meet with like-minded investigators from other teams. “It was also encouraging to hear from four consumer representatives who generously discussed their personal health experience. They provided crucial feedback on how to further involve consumers in our research community and future strategic initiatives.” At the event Professor Elliott announced the successful recipients of the 2023 Kolling Awards. This year, eight researchers received an award across the following five categories. Clinical Research Dr Vicki Duong and Dr

Kolling Symposium Professor James Elliott congratulates Noel Reay who has volunteered at the Kolling for a decade



Revolutionary total body scanner launched The Australian National Total Body PET Facility was officially opened at Royal North Shore Hospital last week delivering

little as three, setting a new standard for efficiency and safety in diagnostic imaging. The scanner also offers unique molecular insights into whole-body physiology and interactions between organs that no other clinical imaging technology can provide. NSLHD Chief Executive Anthony Schembri said the addition of the scanner to RNSH adds to a decorated reputation of providing world-class imaging at the hospital. “Royal North Shore Hospital has a proud history of delivering world-class imaging and care to improve patient outcomes and we are grateful to adding this new facility to the hospital,” he said. “This collaborative effort will benefit patients and researchers for many years to come and I would like to thank everyone involved in making this TB-PET scanner facility possible.”

the first Total Body Positron Emission Tomography (TB-PET) scanner for both clinical settings for patients and research endeavors. The $15 million scanner was made possible as part of a joint collaboration with NSLHD, the University of Sydney and the National Imaging Facility. The TB-PET scanner is a revolutionary leap forward in nuclear medical imaging that has the ability to scan all tissues and organs simultaneously. The scanner is the first TB-PET device in Australia also accessible to researchers, and one of only twenty in use world- wide. The cutting-edge device enables comprehensive whole-body imaging in a single scan, significantly reducing radiation exposure and cutting down scanning time from 20 minutes to as

A ribbon was cut to launch the game-changing scanner at RNSH



Nurse practitioners celebrate 20 years at RNSH Nurse practitioners Kate Becker and Rochelle Firth recently celebrated reaching 20 years as nurse practitioners.

Kate and Rochelle started at RNSH in 1996 and 1995 respectively as part of the graduate nursing program. After working across several different roles within the neurosurgery specialty, they were offered the opportunity to become nurse practitioners and were endorsed as such in 2003. The duo were the first neurosurgical nurse practitioners within Australia and the first nurse practitioners in RNSH. Kate and Rochelle were and have always been best friends and are widely respected by their colleagues. RNSH General Manager Heather Gough commended the pair for their outstanding services of the last two decades. “On behalf of the hospital and district, I’d like to congratulate and thank Kate and Rochelle on this wonderful achievement of 20 years,” she said. Group has been awarded the 2024 Australian Centre for Accelerating Diabetes Innovation (ACADI) PhD grant. The funding means Cameron will be able to progress his research investigating the use of a new medication for diabetic foot ulcers and peripheral arterial disease. Mirabegron is currently used to treat overactive bladder syndrome, but this research will help determine if it could be a suitable option for diabetic foot ulcers and vascular disease, where dysfunctional blood vessels reduce oxygen and nutrients in the tissue, and cause chronic wounds. “Our use of Mirabegron works by improving blood flow to the lower limbs and increasing levels of nitric oxide, one of the body’s natural antioxidants,” Cameron said. “This will help blood vessels and diabetic tissue function normally and heal ulcers. “Current treatments include a cocktail of medications or vascular surgery which are

Nurse practitioners Kate Becker and Rochelle Firth

“Their advanced practice skills have allowed them to promote and provide safety and quality of patient care.” New grant for up-and-coming Kolling Institute researcher Despite tough competition, Cameron Evans from the Cardiovascular Discovery The pair have been friends and colleagues for the entire journey. Pictured here earlier in their careers.

invasive, costly and risky. “So we hope our research will confirm if Mirabegron will reduce amputation, improve quality of life and increase life expectancy.” Diabetes is continuing to escalate globally, with around 650 million people likely to have the disease by 2040. “It’s anticipated, one in five of those with diabetes is likely to develop an ulcer, so we could

potentially be helping

more than 130 million people with our research,” he said. “I am tremendously grateful for the

ACADI PhD grant, which will greatly boost our project.”

Cameron Evans



generous Diabetes donation A year after Alex Allara’s young son, George, was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, a random act of kindness inspired her to make a difference in the lives of families in the same boat. While at a coffee shop with George, Alex engaged in a conversation with a stranger about his diabetes. To her surprise, when she went to pay for her breakfast, the person had already covered the cost. “It was such a beautiful act of kindness,” she said. “I wanted to do the same.” In October, Alex, along with her siblings and girlfriends, raised around $7,000 by walking from Palm Beach to Manly. The funds bought 22 smartphones, which were donated to families at the Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes unit at Royal North Shore Hospital. In the lead-up to Christmas, Alex and George, 6, handed over the phones to appreciative staff. Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) and pumps are digital technologies that assist people living with diabetes

“CGM gives parents the ability to sleep again because they know there will be an alarm in the middle of the night, if their child’s blood glucose level becomes unsafe,” said Alex. “You can see the lows coming, you can see the highs coming. They can help you achieve better outcomes.” “Adopting CGM technology, with the help of a phone, was a turning point in our ability to cope,” she said. “It’s an extra admin thing that I wanted to take away from families in the haze and grief of a new diagnosis.” Alex has also added a letter to each phone. “I wanted to provide hope to newly diagnosed families and let them know they can and will thrive despite the challenges type 1 will bring.” Associate Professor Shihab Hameed from the department said the generous donation will make a difference for families. “By removing a task for parents, they can focus on managing diabetes in their young children, which can often be a stressful time.”

in monitoring their glucose levels. Both technologies interact with mobile phones in distinct ways. However, in many instances, young children don’t have a mobile. Before CGM, Alex had to do finger pricks on George up to six times a day, including waking him up two to three times a night.

The Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes team with Alex and George.

Thank you for helping us SPread the GOOD neWS throughout 2024

Please continue to share your news and achievements in 2024. Contact the Media and Communications team on 9463 1722 or email NSLHD-media@health.nsw.gov.au to submit your news.



NSW Health

Hot weather can be dangerous

Everyone can be affected by hot weather. There are simple ways to keep cool and stay hydrated in summer. • Avoid being outdoors in the hottest part of the day as much as possible. If you have to go outside, seek shade or shelter. • Keep your home cool by closing curtains and blinds to block out the sun and using air conditioning or fans.

• Limit physical activity, like housework or exercise, to early in the morning when temperatures are lower. • Drink water regularly even if you don’t feel thirsty. • Take water with you if going outside. • Keep in touch with family and friends.

For more tips: health.nsw.gov.au/ beattheheat

October 2023 © NSW Health. SHPN (HP NSW) 230748

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