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Team award winners

Secretary's Award

Welcome Baby to Bourke Ceremony

Western NSW Local Health District

Welcome Baby Back to Bourke is a cultural ceremony with families and the Bourke community. Introducing babies to community is a traditional practice that dates back to thousands of years through generations.

When maternity services closed in Bourke, residents were concerned about the cultural disconnect from not being able to birth on country. To address this issue, a culturally appropriate, innovative solution was sought. During its creation, the importance of it being 'owned and led' by the Bourke community was recognised. From that, a community-based co-design was initiated and implemented.

The ceremony reduces the cultural disconnection and gives the babies a sense of identity and belonging right from the beginning.  Babies will go into life knowing who they are and the country that they belong to. They can take pride in their culture, their traditions, and their identity. It is a significant way to connect new babies to their community, country and Aboriginal Elders.

The ceremony is facilitated by Aboriginal Elders and Health staff. It includes a traditional welcome, a formal welcome and a presentation of the children to the community. The whole family is involved and supported by other community members and importantly acknowledged by the Aboriginal Elders.

In 2021, 32 babies were welcomed in the ceremony, this number increased to 35 babies in 2022. Additionally, a special ceremony where 137 older children (3 - 21 years) were welcomed to Bourke was held. The 2023 ceremony was held 26 September with 30 babies being welcomed to Bourke.

Environmental Sustainability Award

Sustainable Healthcare Together Towards Zero 2030

Hunter New England Local Health District

The 'Sustainable Healthcare Together Towards Zero 2023' project is sector transforming. It outlines the strategy to achieve carbon and waste neutrality by 2030. This is a first for any Health Service in Australia. Healthcare is responsible for 7% of Australia's Co2 emissions. Hunter New England Local Health District saw an opportunity to make a significant impact and lead by example.

The strategy was launched in February 2021 and focuses on six areas; Energy, Waste, Water, Transport, Procurement, and Infrastructure. Annual targets have been set for each of the six areas.

In the first two years, they have delivered:

  • a reduction in Co2 emissions by 24%
  • the capture and recycling of 29% of all rainwater that lands on a Hunter New England roof
  • the reduction of water usage by 23%
  • the diversion of 14% of general waste from landfill
  • recurrent savings of $2.2 million
  • 30 staff led Sustainability Action Groups delivering local initiatives
  • the world's largest health solar installation at the John Hunter Hospital
  • securing $49.8M of non-HNE funding, being invested into sustainability initiatives
  • a myriad of public and private strategic partnerships, and innovative pilot projects
  • 2021 NSW Banksia Award "Net Zero" Winners
  • 2022 NSW Treasury Sustainability Advantage Bronze Award winner.

Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare Award Finalists

Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare

Aboriginal Health Housing Pathway

South Western Sydney Local Health District

Approximately 18% of Aboriginal people residing in South Western Local Health District (SWSLHD) live in social housing. Many of these tenants have complex health needs which are impacted by their living conditions.

The SWSLHD Aboriginal Health Service and Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) Housing Team established the Aboriginal Health Escalated Housing Pathway. This pathway is a coordinated approach to support clients whose social housing issues were making their health, safety or social and emotional wellbeing worse.

The pathway identifies people whose housing issues are impacting their health. They then work collaboratively with the DCJ Housing Team, to get these clients expedited interventions to resolve their housing concern. The pathway has mechanisms to prioritised referrals. Regular meeting between the Aboriginal Health Service and DCJ reviews complex clients. They determine coordinated responses that address both health and housing concerns. Executive sponsorship of the pathway by the District Director for Housing and SWSLHD Director Aboriginal Health ensures timely interventions.

The pathway has enabled more than 100 clients with complex needs to have their housing issue resolved. This in turn enables improved health, social and emotional wellbeing outcomes.

The range of issues addressed through the pathway include:

  • homelessness
  • domestic violence
  • child protection
  • essential home modifications that ensure properties are liveable for clients with chronic conditions or disability.

Excellence in Aboriginal Healthcare Award Finalists

Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services

Naamuru: NSW's first public Parent and Baby Mental Health Unit

Sydney Local Health District

Naamuru is a purpose-built mental health unit at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Sydney. It is the first public mental health unit in NSW that offers parent-baby admissions for parents experiencing acute mental health illness during the perinatal period (before, during, and after birth). It is also the first in the world to offer non-gender specific care and treatment.

Previously, parents experiencing moderate and severe mental illness were separated from their baby to receive treatment in public acute mental health units. However, at Naamuru, the parent and their baby are admitted together. This provides more opportunity for healthy attachment and minimises the trauma of separation. Partners or other support people are encouraged to stay overnight to support the care-giving and parent-baby relationship.

Naamuru was established in June 2022 after an extensive period of co-design with consumers with lived experience, local Aboriginal community, and the complex network of health professionals delivering perinatal care.

In the first 12 months of operation, parents admitted to the unit have reported:

  • significant decreases in distress (Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale),
  • increases in attachment quality (Maternal Postnatal Attachment Scale),
  • increases in parenting confidence and feelings of affection towards infants (Karitane Parenting Confidence Scale),
  • overwhelmingly positive feedback in relation to the unit environment, interactions with staff, treatment received and baby care.

Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services Award Finalists

Health Innovation

 DeliverEASE: Innovative St​ock Management​

HealthShare​​ NSW​

Procurement and Supply Change transformation inspired HealthShare NSW and eHealth NSW to create DeliverEASE. The custom-built digital tools and dashboards provide greater visibility and simplifies processes in NSW hospitals.

DeliverEASE was created with operational staff in mind. They worked with Local Health Districts, hospitals and staff to understand their needs and pain points. By developing solutions to address these issues, tasks are more efficient, giving back time for staff to focus on patient care.

HealthShare customised DeliverEASE for every wards storeroom to fit their specific workflow and storage requirements. They worked closely with staff, and provided training both in person and online.

eHealth created custom AI-supported dashboards that track information about the stock. It can calculate how much stock is in any storeroom across the entire system on a ward, hospital, district, or state level. Cost-effective information and communications technology tools was used to meet specific health staff requirements.

DeliverEASE has rolled out in more than 700 clinical areas across 28 hospitals. The project provides NSW hospitals with the knowledge and tools to control their medical consumables effectively. As a result, clinical staff can dedicate more time and support to providing high-quality patient care to people in NSW.

"Staff have visibility over the whole district which is especially great for smaller rural sites - if they run out of stock and they can't get a delivery truck out there, they can look on the dashboard if it's urgent, they can get stock from another local facility".

Health Innovation Award Finalists

Health Research

Achieving the Unrealised Potential of Transplantation

Sydney Local Health District

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital (RPA) Transplant Institute is improving the success of liver transplantation for patients with end-stage liver disease and liver tumours.

The success of established liver transplantation treatments is limited by the availability of safe and usable liver grafts. Currently, about 50% of liver graft offers are not used in NSW due to concerns of poor quality.

To address this issue, the RPA Centre for Organ Assessment Repair and Optimisation developed an innovative liver perfusion system. This system can preserve human livers for up to 2 weeks under normothermic conditions. The Extended Organ Perfusion System (EOPS) detoxifies and sustains the liver through autoregulation of multiple physiological functions.

This system provides a unique model for facilitating recovery of critically injured donor livers unsuitable for transplantation, but also enables the introduction of new therapeutic agents such as gene therapy, stem-cell therapy, pharmacotherapy, and organ/tissue engineering.

Recently our team has demonstrated for the first time the feasibility of splitting whole livers into left and right lobes during normothermic ex-vivo perfusion and the two partial livers perfused concurrently. In this concept, a liver can be divided into two lobes, and, after reaching a sufficient size, it can be transplanted into two recipients.

It is estimated that EOPS can enable resuscitation of initially declined high-risk donor livers. Therefore, increasing the number of liver transplant recipients of more than 35%.

With these developments, the possibility of success and better health outcomes for adults and children with end-stage liver disease and liver tumours is increasing.

Research Based Care through the Neonatal Admission and Beyond

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network

Promoting neurodevelopment and optimising outcomes for babies and their families was the catalyst for this project. To improve these outcomes, the team worked on a collaborative multidisciplinary program of research that involved true partnerships with families.

They implemented a collaborative, multidisciplinary program of research to support families. Factors related to a stressful neonatal admission were targeted in this program. These include:

  • understanding and managing neonatal pain
  • involving fathers in the NICU
  • researching the best assessment tools for early detection of disability
  • measuring long-term infant outcomes
  • targeting infant language outcomes and bonding via reading
  • capturing data on physiological and behavioural stress
  • providing education on developmentally supportive care.

The project has resulted in improved outcomes for critically ill babies. Survival rates have increased from 80% to just under 99%, and improved long term developmental outcomes have been achieved. Research has resulted in sustained changes to clinical practice within the NICU and beyond, focussing on early detection and neuro-promotion.

The team has gained international expertise and published widely on a range of topics. They are actively involved in supporting other NICUs to implement evidenced based programs.

The program of research optimises outcomes for babies and their families throughout the neonatal admission and beyond.

Health Research Award Finalists

Keeping People Healthy

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
  • 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.

Keeping People Healthy Award Finalists

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Patient Safety First

Towards Zero Suicides in Custody

Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network

Towards Zero Suicides in Custody (TZSC) supports the state-wide suicide prevention health initiative. The program is tailored to be effective and accessible for people in adult corrective settings.

The adult prison population face high rates of self-harm and attempted suicide. One in four deaths in custody are unnatural (suicide or self-inflicted causes). In addition, patients generally have little contact with health services in the community.

Towards Zero Suicides in Custody was created to address this need. The program includes layered interventions to create a suicide prevention safety net.

Implementation began in mid-2022 and the program is underpinned by five key themes. These themes are then broken down into 14 separate interventions that targets patients, staff, and stakeholders.

One intervention, the Suicide Prevention Outreach Team, has received over 100 referrals since February 2023. This supports safety planning with at-risk patients. In collaboration with Healing Works, they have created a video series, 'Supporting Mob in Custody'. This series appropriately targets families and carers with an incarcerated loved one and supporting their mental health.

This sophisticated approach to suicide prevention, increases the accessibility of health services and effectively targets at risk-patients.

Multidisciplinary Concussion Service

Northern Sydney Local Health District

Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) is providing Australia-first multidisciplinary concussion service. This service works with the community to provide vital education about concussion. They also run a specialised multidisciplinary clinic to help patients with post-concussion symptoms return safely to school, study, work and sport.

Concussion, a brain injury, is underdiagnosed and can result in missed schooling, worsening symptoms, anxiety, depression, and readmission, if not managed appropriately.

The hospital staff, worked closely with local schools, GPs and sports clubs. They identified a vital need for more education and support around concussion. As a result, the team created an educational video. This video has been adopted for use by the NSW Education Department and New Zealand schools.

They drew on international evidence and established the Concussion Clinic in early 2022. The clinic is made up of a neurologist (paediatric/adult), neuropsychologist and clinical nurse consultant. The multidisciplinary team take a holistic approach to review and manage patients' post-concussive symptoms over 2-4 visits.

In its first year, the weekly clinic treated 51 patients, attracting positive feedback and improving health outcomes. The clinic has been fully booked for the past three months. They have also launched a new telephone service to provide concussion advice to people across Australia.

Patient Safety First Award Finalists

People and Culture

The Murrumbidgee Model

Murrumbidgee Local Health District

In regional areas of NSW, General Practitioners (GPs) play a crucial role in providing both primary and hospital health care. The number of GPs in rural areas has been declining. This has led to patients waiting longer for appointments or not being able to find a GP for their care needs.

The Murrumbidgee Model was designed to address these challenges. The program aims to attract, train, retain, and support rural generalist doctors who work in the local health district.

The Murrumbidgee Single Employer Model is a 4-year pilot project with the Australian Government that began in 2021. This pathway provides trainees with certainty. Trainees know where they'll work, how much they'll earn, and their working conditions.

The pathway focuses on supporting rural GPs to develop the advanced skills needed for rural hospitals and is expanding the rural medical workforce by offering a personalised and coordinated pathway for GP trainees.

The Murrumbidgee Model pathway offers a proactive, practical, and ongoing recruitment and training approach. This ensures that communities have the right doctors with the right skills in the right places. Trainees are guaranteed employment during their training program, which eliminates the differences between GP trainees and specialist trainees working in public hospitals.

People and Culture Award Finalists

Transforming Patient Experience

Mobile BreastScreen Assessment Services

Murrumbidgee Local Health District

BreastScreen NSW Greater Southern introduced Remote Mobile Assessment Services on the mobile screening van in August 2022. This project is a first in NSW and uses virtual care to complete follow-up tests for women closer to home.

Each year, approximately 10,000 women over 170,000 square kilometres use mobile screening mammography services on mobile vans in rural, regional, and remote areas. Up to 10% of these women are recalled to an assessment clinic for further tests.

The Remote Mobile Assessment Services used existing infrastructure of the mobile screening van, with the addition of 3D imaging equipment. This program enables access for women to undergo further tests while the van is in their local community. Before its establishment, women had to travel up to 7 hours return to access these facilities.

This program has resulted in:

  • a savings benefits in travel time and out of pocket costs for patients
  • improved client satisfaction
  • timeliness of services
  • staff fulfillment.

Following the success of this pilot, BreastScreen NSW funded ultrasound equipment on the current mobile assessment van. This further improves the consumer experience and expands remote mobile assessment functionality to the other mobile vans in NSW.

Transforming Patient Experience Award Finalists

Individual award winners

Staff Member of the Year

Professor Josephine Chow

South Western Sydney Local Health District

Professor Chow has been crucial to the global impact of the renal program's knowledge generation in nursing leadership and practices. She is a Winston Churchill Fellow and the Chair of a number of local and international professional and influential Committees. Her leadership sets a positive example, promotes positive cultural change and inspires others. She is the founder and foundational Chair of The HOME Network, since 2009, an Australasian initiative that brings healthcare professionals and consumers together to promote home dialysis as a choice. She has considerable success in securing funding for significant international projects including TEACH-PD, PEACH, COVID-19.

In recognition of her innovative response and leadership to the COVID-19 pandemic, she was the Finalist of the 2022 Federal Health Minister's Award for Nursing Trailblazers. Professor Chow has received over 30 awards in research, leadership and innovation, such as NSW Health Innovation Award.

Professor Chow advocates and is also a member of consumer working groups. She has affiliations with universities in Australia and Stanford University in the United States.

She holds several foundational positions within NSW Health including:

  • Director of Strategy/Partnerships
  • Co-Director for the Renal Clinical Trial Centre
  • Chair of the South Western Sydney Nursing & Midwifery Alliance
  • Deputy Director of Research
  • Lead of the Operational Team of the Emergency Operation Centre.

Staff Member of the Year Award Finalists

Volunteer of the Year Award

Syd Dudley

Murrumbidgee Local Health District

Syd Dudley is a prominent and highly regarded member of the Finley community. Over many decades, Syd has been a tireless champion across many voluntary and health advocacy roles.

As Chair of Finley Local Health Advisory Committee (LHAC), Syd has led and contributed to creating a unique integrated healthcare model for his region. The place based model incorporates primary care, three levels of aged care and Finley hospital and health services. These are all connected through pathways of care.

Syd is dynamic character committed to the welfare of his community, and invites and values contribution of all people. He played a vital role in facilitating community consultation and providing feedback on the Clinical Services Planning and Hospital Redevelopment.

Syd contributes in all sectors of the community. He has held positions with the Finley Regional Care Board, Finley Chamber of Commerce and the Berrigan Shire Council Australia Day Awards.

Syd led a team that attracted Medical Officers to their town and helped them transition into the local community. As a result, the team of doctors have been settled for over a decade and contribute to the medical leadership of the District and Primary Health Network.

Syd is at the hospital on day one for new employees. He is the first to meet and greet new staff and make them feel welcomed, at home and part of the community. He goes out of his way to provide a safe, nurturing and inclusive environment for all.

Volunteer of the Year Award Finalists

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Current as at: Wednesday 25 October 2023
Contact page owner: NSW Health