District reflects on an extraordinary year in healthcare
It's been an extraordinary time for everyone in healthcare.
"This year we faced the most significant global health emergency in 100 years," Ms Victoria Weekes, Deputy Chair of the District's Board, said.
"The focus of our team at Sydney Local Health District over the past year has been on our COVID-19 response and finding ways to continue to care for our patients and their loved ones despite those challenges," she said.
Ms Weekes was joined by the NSW Health Secretary Elizabeth Koff and the District's Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson AM at the District's first virtual annual general meeting.
The Board, the Executive, hospital and service general managers, staff and community members attended virtually too, via Zoom and YouTube.
Ms Weekes officially launched the Year in Review, an annual publication which documents the District's achievements, and the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead over the next year and beyond.
In her keynote address, Ms Koff reflected on the role the District has played in the state's response to the pandemic.
Dr Anderson told the AGM it's been a challenging, even unrelenting, year at times.
"But, it has been extraordinary to have been part of this COVID-19 response. The camaraderie and determination to make the impossible - possible - and so quickly - is one of the things from 2020 that will stay with me for some time," Dr Anderson said.
"I'm most proud of our staff who just keep putting their ideas forward.
"We have Tiger Teams and Flying Squads and mobile health vans. We have Special Health Accommodation. We have strategies to support vulnerable people and older people. And, we have changed our hospitals and our services to do what needed to be done this year.
"We will continue to build on our plans. And, we know that those who follow us may need to lean on them in the future," Dr Anderson said.
The outstanding contribution of staff involved in key teams leading the District's COVID-19 response - rpavirtual and Special Health Accommodation, the Residential Aged Care Facilities Outreach Team, the Public Health Unit and the Flying Squad - was highlighted during the AGM.
The District's Director of Psychology, Dr Lil Vrklevski, also shared her insights about the past 12-months and offered simple mental health and wellbeing self-care strategies.
And, Associate Professor Paul Stalley AM showcased the innovative advances which are set to revolutionise the treatment of sarcoma.
The District announced the winners of its Innovation and Excellence Awards - with a series of new Awards introduced to recognise the significant contribution of staff during the District's COVID-19 response.
The Head of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at RPA, Professor Paul Torzillo, was named COVID-19 Collaborative Leader of the Year in recognition of his integral role in daily operations and decision making.
The winners of the District's Healthy Connections School Project Competition were also announced.
Learning Wonderland Riverwood, Strathfield North Public School and Eileen O'Connor Catholic College in Lewisham each won $5,000 for their projects about ways to stay connected and keep safe during COVID-19.
In a video message, the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard thanked the District's staff for their dedication.
"Everybody has stepped up to the task... I just want to thank you. I am honoured to work with such an amazing group of people. This Local Health District has led the way," Mr Hazzard said.