NSLHD News July 1 2022

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


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Read more on Page x NSLHD hosts HOc Mai celebration NSLHD welcomes Hoc Mai members to celebrate an official partnership. Page 5

Hornsby hospital nurse retires after 44 years of service Page 4

hornsby hospital Volunteers celebrate 60 years Page 3


I was honoured to attend an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital’s Pink Ladies and male volunteers. We have always been so fortunate to have many wonderful people in our community give up their time to help our patients and staff. Thank you to all of our volunteers and congratulations to the Hornsby volunteers for this remarkable milestone. Our staff, patients and community are so thankful for your contribution and the warmth and genuine spirit you bring to the hospital. Our district recently celebrated the official transfer of Hoc Mai to NSLHD. Hoc Mai is a not-for-profit foundation that brings together the collective healthcare knowledge and experience of Australia and Vietnam in an educational partnership aiming to improve health outcomes through education and research. We were privileged to be able to welcome members from the Australia Vietnam Foundation as well as some of our wonderful donors of Hoc Mai. I look forward to seeing the partnership evolve and grow. It always brings me great joy to see talented staff members within our district excel in their specialties and receive recognition for their efforts. I was delighted to see that our NSLHD Falls Prevention Coordinator Margaret Armstrong was awarded the NSW Falls Prevention and Healthy Aging Network Lifetime Achievement Award. Margaret is such a deserving recipient for her wonderful contribution to falls prevention in our hospitals. Hornsby Hospital recently farewelled its longest-serving nurse, Rosalyn Ferguson, as she retires after 44 years of service. Rosalyn was preparing to retire before the COVID-19 pandemic but stayed on to care for her community and impart her knowledge to her colleagues during such a difficult time.

I think this speaks volumes of Rosalyn’s character and why she will be sorely missed from Hornsby Hospital. On behalf of the district, I would like to thank Rosalyn for her efforts and contributions throughout her career and wish her all the best in her next chapter. The NSW Ministry of Health is soon expected to announce that Category A staff will be required to demonstrate evidence of having received three doses of a COVID-19 vaccine and proof they have received their annual influenza vaccination or have an approved medical exemption. Whilst we know most of our staff members have received vaccinations for COVID-19 and/or influenza, it’s important to ensure your proof of vaccination status has been recorded in your StaffLink, particularly if you had these vaccinations through your GP or local pharmacy outside of the NSW Health Hubs. If your vaccinations have not been recorded in StaffLink correctly please email a copy of your immunisation history statement to NSLHD-vaccinationcompliance@health.nsw. gov.au A number of staff have asked about the need for a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. ATAGI advises that a fourth dose is not required at this time for healthcare workers who are under 65 and are otherwise healthy as the risk of severe illness remains very low after your first dose. Finally, I appreciate the health system is extremely busy at the moment during the winter flu season compounded by COVID-19 and I want to thank you for everything you are doing to keep yourself protected and those you care for. Deb Willcox Chief Executive




bought a significant piece of equipment for the Intensive Care Unit, the Bellavista 1000 – a $55,000 automated ventilator machine. Hornsby was the first public hospital in Australia to use this cutting-edge ventilator which automatically adjusted a patient’s oxygen flow, instead of staff manually having to. The Pink Ladies have carried out a variety of roles since their inception from hairdressing, floral arrangements, mail delivery, gardening, concierge, arts and crafts and running the Pink Ladies shop. In 2004, the Pink Ladies underwent one of their biggest changes by allowing men to join for the first time. A special lunch was held for the volunteers at Hornsby RSL attended by NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox, NSLHD Board Chair Trevor Danos and members of the Hornsby Hospital executive. Pink Ladies Auxiliary President Brian Minnett said being a volunteer meant he was helping to support the

hospital provide high quality care to patients and their families. “Right from the start I have had a feeling of fulfilment knowing that I was helping the hospital, staff and my fellow volunteers in a worthwhile position,” he said. “I am now in my 15th year as a volunteer, and I have watched Hornsby Hospital grow. We have witnessed changes to patient care that I would never have imagined happening when I was a patient many years ago. “Having seen the changes in volunteer duties I am convinced there will always be a place for volunteers at Hornsby Hospital.” Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital General Manager Simon Hill said: “It was very difficult during the COVID-19 restrictions when our volunteers couldn’t come on site. Our staff and patients missed them and we know the volunteers themselves missed being able to come and help.” them and to let them know we understand the challenges they face and to continue to highlight the resilience of our people,” she said. For NSW Health staff, please visit My Health Learning to access the module.

is celebrating 60 years of volunteers in a milestone year for the hospital which has just completed its major redevelopment. The Pink Ladies Auxiliary has marked the 60th anniversary by moving into a new shop at the main entry, where their handmade and donated giftwares greet visitors as they enter the hospital’s new building. Volunteers officially first began at Hornsby Hospital in June 1962, when the hospital looked very different to the modern designed building that it is now. Over the decades, the volunteers have given hours of their time to support staff and patients, as well as raise thousands of dollars to buy medical equipment for the hospital. Some of the equipment purchased has included speech pathology chairs, ultrasounds, patient trolleys, and orthopaedic surgical equipment. In 2017, the Pink Ladies

NSLHD representative involved in Learning module A new learning module for all NSW Health staff has benefitted from the expertise of Northern Sydney Local Health District Mental Health Drug and Alcohol staff all Aboriginal health professionals across NSW Health,” she said.

“It also acknowledges the cultural importance of the role our Aboriginal workforce has in ensuring Aboriginal health outcomes are a priority. “For non-Aboriginal staff in NSW Health, this training resource presents an opportunity to further their own understanding and improve relationships within their workplace.” Michelle said she is proud to work with some of the most dedicated Aboriginal health workers across multiple districts and organisations. “This module is to thank

member Michelle Lawrence. Michelle is the clinical lead for the Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Aboriginal service. She has been involved as the subject matter expert for Health Education and Training’s new e-learning module – Aboriginal Social and Emotional Wellbeing. Michelle was involved in the co-design and development of the module. “The module helps to inform, guide and enable self-empowerment for

Michelle Lawrence



Rosalyn Fergusons celebrates with colleagues and Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Hornsby hospital’s longest serving nurse retires Rosalyn Ferguson was born at Hornsby Hospital, had her three children there and has spent the past four decades as a nurse caring for the local community. But now the hospital’s nursing is the friendships, and that every day you can make a difference.” While the COVID-19

herself to be an energetic, supportive, capable and warm manager who has endeared herself to many emergency department staff over the past 18 years. “Ros has a way about her, she innately possesses that incredible nursing skill of engendering trust immediately whether you are patient or staff. Ros will be deeply missed by not only Hornsby but across the local health district, where many of us have sought out her knowledge and skills. We have been so fortunate to have shared her career for this long, and we wish her the greatest happiness in retirement.”

pandemic delayed her plans of retirement, Ros said she was proud to be able to care for patients and share her knowledge with other nurses through one of the most challenging events the health system has faced. Hornsby Hospital’s Director of Nursing and Midwifery Drew Hilditch-Roberts said: “Without doubt Ros will be truly missed, not only is she one of the best, her warmth and friendship has made it a real pleasure to come to work each day. I want to congratulate her on her retirement and wish her all the happiness on future adventures.” Her tenure as a nurse at Hornsby is also one of the longest in the Northern Sydney Local Health District, with her retirement felt across the hospitals. NSLHD Director of Nursing and Midwifery Claire Harris said: “There are very few nursing unit managers who have continued to lead and manage as well as Ros has. “To the end, she has proven

longest serving nurse is set to walk out the doors for the last time - retiring after 44 years. As an eight-year-old, Ros decided she wanted to be a nurse after visiting Hornsby’s emergency department and being in awe of the sisters who took care of her. By the time she was 17, she was living in the nurses’ quarters on the grounds of the hospital and learning on the job. She developed a passion for working in critical care and has spent most of her career nursing in emergency or intensive care. Ros has been the nurse unit manager at the hospital’s emergency department since 2004. “I love critical care and looking after patients when they are their most vulnerable,” Ros said. “It’s quite a privilege to be there for people and the community in the acute setting. The best thing about

Rosalyn Ferguson with Hornsby Hospital’s Director of Nusing and Midwifery Drew Hilditch-Roberts



Hoc Mai celebrations at RNSH

NSLHD hosts HOc Mai celebration Northern Sydney Local Health District recently

Program and the Advanced Course in Medical Education, Hoc Mai facilitates the development of knowledge of Vietnamese doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers to improve healthcare delivery among Vietnamese people. A Memorandum of Understanding between the four parties (NSLHD, Hoc Mai – the Australia Vietnam Foundation, Vietnam National University and E Hospital, Hanoi, Vietnam) was signed as part of this event. NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard, a former Hoc Mai board member attended the event and acknowledged Emeritus Professor Kerry Goulston AO, Chairman Professor Bruce Robinson AC and Hoc Mai board members for their work. “In over 20 years, the foundation has enabled hundreds of fellowships

for Vietnamese health professionals to study in Australia, while a similar number of Australian clinicians have gained invaluable medical experience in Vietnam,” he said. “There is much we can learn from each other, and I want to thank the foundation for enabling this to happen.” NSLHD Chief Executive Deb Willcox said Hoc Mai and NSLHD have shared values in improving health outcomes. “There are a lot of similarities between Hoc Mai and NSLHD, most of all, our collective commitment to improving health outcomes through education and research,” she said. “We are so very pleased that Hoc Mai has joined NSLHD and look forward to a long and ongoing partnership.”

welcomed members from Hoc Mai to celebrate and acknowledge the official transfer of Hoc Mai from the University of Sydney to NSLHD. Hoc Mai is a not-for-profit foundation that brings together the collective healthcare knowledge and experience of Australia and Vietnam in an educational partnership aiming to improve health outcomes through education and research. Hoc Mai undertakes activities in partnership with a number of public hospitals including those within NSLHD and Sydney Local Health District, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, and private hospitals such as Sydney Adventist Hospital and North Shore Private Hospital. Through programs such as the Clinical Observer



Nursing and Midwifery Conference highlights research and innovation

The bi-annual Nursing and Midwifery Research and Innovative Practice Conference recently took place at Royal North Shore Hospital. The aim of the conference is to provide an opportunity to bring together nurses and midwives to share research activities and outcomes, practice development initiatives, programs and innovative changes to care systems. The conference covered all disciplines of nursing from primary and community care through to emergency care. PhD students presented their work and clinicians presented projects and research that focused on children through to the elderly. Professor Marg Fry said the conference is a great way to bring a range of staff members from the nursing and midwifery workforce together and provide a reflection of the current state of the workforce. “The conference brought together so many different specialties which allows us all to learn from each other,” she said.

“It is important to reflect on our professions, in particular the nurses and midwives who have assisted in shaping and showing leadership across our health district.” The conference featured three keynote speakers: Professor Julie Considine, Professor Ramon Shaban and Professor Robyn Gallagher. Four awards were presented on the day.

Left: Professor Margaret Fry with keynote speakers Professor Ramon Shaban, Professor Robyn Gallagher and Professor Julie Considine

Margaret Armstrong receives Lifetime Achievement Award Northern Sydney Local Health District Falls Prevention Coordinator Margaret

This award was presented at the annual NSW Falls Prevention and Healthy Aging Network Forum and reflected Margaret’s long term contributions to falls prevention in NSLHD and broader NSW as part of the NSLHD Health Promotion team. This was only the third Lifetime Achievement Award that has been given in the history of the network. Amongst many career highlights, Margaret established April Falls Day and Month in 2005 as part of her work with the NSLHD falls team at the time. This is now an annual falls prevention awareness-raising activity that is celebrated across Australia and internationally. Margaret said the achievement is a huge honour and something she is very proud to have received. “I’m very privileged to have received this award and I’m so glad my work has made an impact across NSLHD,” she said. “I’ve always been supported by great colleagues within NSLHD and this award is so special because of the light it brings to the work we’ve been doing.”

Armstrong was recently awarded the NSW Falls Prevention and Healthy Aging Network Lifetime Achievement Award.

Margaret Armstrong receives her award from Excellence Commission members of the Older Person’s Safety Program, Lorraine Lovitt, Ingrid Hutchinson and Maree Conelly.



ICU researches receive grants for biobanks Northern Sydney Local Health District researchers, Associate Professor Anthony Delaney, Dr Tessa Garside and Dr Christopher Andersen have received two grants for their intensive care unit research projects.

determine ways to guide our treatment options.” Christopher said the team hopes to eventually expand the projects across various hospitals and districts, which will help many patients and their families. “These projects put us at the centre of ICU research, which is a very exciting thing,” he said. “We look forward to deriving some outcomes from the projects generating learnings from ICU patients.”

The team has received grants for two projects: Australian Brain Injury Biobank and Registry (Neurological injury) (ABIBaR) and Critical Illness, Inflammation and Immunology Biobank (CI3 Biobank). Both projects are being carried out through the NSW Health Statewide Biobank, where the grants will be used to collect and store biospecimens from patients who choose to opt into the projects. The ABIBaR project’s objective is to develop a biobank collecting and storing samples, like blood, from patients presenting with acute neurological injuries. Anthony said the findings of the project will hopefully lead to better clarity on prognosis and further refined treatment options. “We are hopeful that we will be able to help provide an earlier and clearer prognosis for patients and their families,” he said. “Collecting the samples will allow us to Innovative research on show An impressive group of emerging leaders addressed the Kolling’s Neuroscience and Pain Showcase, sharing details of their diverse and exciting research projects. With a broad range of expertise in this field, the showcase involved representatives from the pain management and rehabilitation teams, as well as the ageing, mental health, neurogenetics and neuromuscular imaging groups. The early and mid-career researchers discussed their latest progress across the scientific spectrum from their ground-breaking discovery projects through to their potentially life-changing translation and implementation work. Co-chair of the Neuroscience and Pain Priority Research Area and pain specialist Professor Paul Glare said there is a tremendous need for new approaches and models of care with an escalating number of people living with conditions impacting the mind, brain and nervous system. “We have a large number of researchers making important inroads in this field, and it was encouraging to learn more about their innovative work from an award-winning

Associate Professor Anthony Delaney, Dr Tessa Garside and Dr Christopher Andersen

program to help injured workers get back to work faster to new treatments for Parkinson’s disease,” he said. “With the return-to-work initiative, we learnt extra support for injured workers saw them return to the workplace in half the time of those who didn’t receive the extra care. This is a good example of high quality research significantly improving health outcomes for our community. “Our researchers are leading a host of valuable projects, including a pilot intervention to reduce the inappropriate use of multiple medications in older in-patients. This program is optimising medication use, while minimising risks to a patients’ physical and cognitive function.” Researchers at the showcase also shared details of their work broadening our understanding of the debilitating Ehlers- Danlos Syndrome, as well as conditions characterised by irritability like depression and anxiety. We also learnt more about the role of autonomic function in injury recovery, and how it can delay a return to health.



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For more information visit our website at bhi.nsw.gov.au

The original artwork on this poster was created by Marcus Lee, a proud Aboriginal descendant of the Karajarri people.

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