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About the award

NSW Health is committed to promoting good health through raising awareness of healthy choices, preventing ill health, and improving the overall health and wellbeing of the community.

This award acknowledges innovative projects and programs which promote:

  • reducing negative health impacts through improvements in environmental health
  • providing people with accessible information to support individuals, families and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices
  • closing the gap in Aboriginal health outcomes by prioritising care and programs for Aboriginal people
  • improving lifestyles by targeting public health priorities such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol use, physical activity and attaining healthy weight, infectious disease, oral health, diabetes prevention, and addressing harmful risk factors
  • identifying and improving health outcomes for at risk groups, e.g. children, youth, older people, workers and disadvantaged groups
  • primary, secondary and population health prevention
  • the integration of the CORE values in promoting healthy living
  • preventing, preparing, and responding and recovering from pandemic and other threats to population health
  • working collaboratively across health disciplines with partner agencies and organisations to address social determinants of health, and improve health outcomes for patients.

Winner – National Safety Surveillance of Novel Vaccines

Hunter New England Local Health District


The Vaxtracker vaccine safety surveillance system was developed by Hunter New England Local Health District, Population Health. Created in 2011, this system has been vital in monitoring vaccine safety. AusVaxSafety (AVS) requested Vaxtracker to scale up to provide national surveillance of COVID-19 vaccines.

To achieve this:

  • New partnerships were established with different states/territories and Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations across Australia, and
  • QR code posters were used to allow self-registration. This data was then rapidly integrated with NSW eHealth. This allowed automatic enrolment of all vaccine recipients in NSW operated clinics. As a result, reach was expanded and patient burden reduced.

To date, 4.9 million COVID-19 vaccine recipients have been enrolled in Vaxtracker. They have also received 3.6 million survey responses through the program. Through recognising the adaptability of Vaxtracker, AVS asked Vaxtracker to respond to another emerging public health threat – mpox. The innovations made during the pandemic enabled Vaxtracker to establish national surveillance in two weeks. This provided world-first short-term safety data for the Jynneos® vaccine.

Follow-up of adverse events following immunisation reported through Vaxtracker can also be conducted within the system.

Vaccine safety surveillance is crucial for building public confidence in vaccines and preventing illness from infectious diseases.

Finalist – First 2000 Days

NSW Ministry of Health


All children deserve the best start to life, regardless of circumstance. The time from conception to age five plays a pivotal role in determining what happens over a lifetime.

The NSW Ministry of Health has championed the importance of the First 2000 Days. They have developed a vision and goals that have been a driving force in shaping a strong and liveable NSW.

Working with other government agencies, the program delivers improved health, educational, safety and wellbeing outcomes for children and families. In 2022, NSW government agencies created a whole of government business case for a suite of accelerator initiatives. These aim to increase the proportion of NSW children developmentally on track at school entry. This is a key marker of future educational, health and economic outcomes.

This plan includes a series of initiatives, which include funding of $376.5 million over four years. The NSW Ministry of Health is leading or co-leading four out of five of these programs.

Finalist – The EPOCH Innovation

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network


Peri-orbital cellulitis (POC) is a common eye condition in children. Prompt management of POC in the emergency department is critical to avoid vision loss and life-threatening complications.

This project aims to provide safe, integrated value-based care to patients with POC in the community after emergency department presentation. A new model of care was created to provide outpatient parenteral antibiotic therapy at home.

Through a collaborative effort, they developed innovative strategies to achieve their aims. This included the utilisation of ambulatory care services and incorporation of technology. Photography for subspecialty consultation with a special focus on risk stratification and management was implemented.

Results from the study show:

  • a reduction in admissions from 56% to 22% pre and post-implementation respectively
  • only 2% (4/246) of children in the POC group needed inpatient parenteral therapy for worsening of symptoms. None of these children needed intensive care or surgery.
  • 132 IV antibiotics over a 2-year period, provided by ambulatory care. This results in saving 132 bed days (estimated savings of $120,000).
  • a significant reduction in the need for CT scans (from 30% to 4%). Reducing patients exposure to radiation.

This new model of care for management of children with POC is safe and effective. The model can also be scaled up to other hospitals and for other conditions in children.

Current as at: Tuesday 24 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health