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Celebrating achievements during an extraordinary year

Innovation and Excellence Awards 2020

November 2020

Celebrating achievements during an extraordinary year

Celebrating achievements during an extraordinary year

Sydney Local Health District's Innovation and Excellence Awards recognise, celebrate and encourage healthcare innovation and excellence.

Congratulations to the Award recipients for 2020.

Transforming Patient Experience

This award recognises teams that ensure patients are partners in their healthcare.

Highly Commended:

Research, and the COVID-19 Call Centre - COVID-19 Hotline

Oral Health Services - Improving consumer experience and accessibility using the IVR system

Diabetes Service, Concord Hospital - A patient centred approach to diabetes

Winner: rpavirtual - rpavirtual: a new way of caring

rpavirtual is the first virtual hospital in Australia. Since opening in February it has redefined the way acute care is delivered, combining community care with the latest digital solutions. So far, rpavirtual has cared for more than 5000 patients at home and in Special Health Accommodation.

Delivering Integrated Care

The District is committed to collaborating and purposefully working in partnerships across government and community organisations.

Highly Commended:

RACF Outreach Team- Expanding non-COVID Activity to respond to COVID-19

Mental Health Services - Expanding Mental Health Assessment Services to support ED during COVID-19

Sydney Dental Hospital and Oral Health Services - Improving health and social outcomes for Aboriginal patients

Winner: National Centre for Veteran's Healthcare, Concord Hospital - National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare

NCVH is the first national integrated ambulatory care service to assess, treat and support the health and wellbeing of Australian veterans and their families. It provides multidisciplinary clinical assessment and management across Rehabilitation, Pain Management, Psychiatry, Drug Health, Psychology and Allied Health.

Keeping People Healthy

Keeping the community healthy is one of the District's key priorities. This includes raising awareness of healthy choices and improving the overall health and wellbeing of the community.

Highly Commended:

Sydney Dental Hospital- Smile Stronger, Smile Longer

Flying Squad - COVID-19 Border Control: our response to the Public Health Order

Joint Winners: Special Health Accommodation- Keeping COVID-19 out of the community

And rpavirtual, Public Health Unit, and Special Health Accommodation- Resilience in the face of the pandemic: keeping our community safe

The combined services of rpavirtual, the Public Health Unit, Allied Health Services and the introduction of Special Health Accommodation enabled the quarantine of returned travellers and community members to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The District is committed to ensuring that the services it provides are inclusive of all people in the community regardless of race, gender, sexuality and ability - and that everyone is accepted, welcomed and valued.

Highly Commended:

Integrated Care- Waterloo Healthy Living Program: Health Navigation in partnership with the community

Strategic Relations and Communication and AudioVisual Services - Designing a visual solution for COVID-19

Winner: Integrated Care, Planning, Flying Squad, Mental Health, Aboriginal Health- Keeping them safe - a rapid response for vulnerable people during COVID-19

In partnership with community organisations, 11 Community Wellbeing Clinics were set-up across Sydney this year. 1200 vulnerable people were screened for COVID-19 - and offered flu vaccinations, health and hygiene packs and free emergency meals.

Supporting our people

In Sydney Local Health District, staff and their experiences in the workplace matter. This award recognises innovative programs and initiatives that support our 14,000 staff.

Highly Commended:

Centre for Education and Workforce Development, Workforce Services - Collaborative Leadership Program

MDOK, Sydney Local Health District - MDOK - Medical Doctors Wellbeing Program

Winner: Centre for Education and Workforce Development- We need a Tiger Team: a pandemic innovation to care for our staff

Tiger Teams were established to support and educate staff in the District's hospitals, Community Health Centres, COVID-19 Testing Clinics, Special Health Accommodation and residential aged care facilities to ensure they had the skills, knowledge and information to undertake their enhanced roles during the pandemic.

Education and Workforce Development

Education is one of the biggest investments the District makes in its people to ensure the delivery of excellence in healthcare for all.

Highly Commended:

Cardiology, Concord Hospital- The role of simulation in preparing the healthcare workforce for Advanced Cardiac Life Support for COVID-19 patients

Renal Department, RPA Hospital - Haemo Helpers - Urgent Collaborative Contingency Planning

Winner: Special Health Accommodation, Workforce Services- Rapid recruitment, orientation and professional

evelopment of staff during CVOID-19 for Special Health Accommodation

Since March - more than 300 nursing staff and 70 ex-QANTAS staff have been trained to form the skilled, multi-disciplinary workforce required to efficiently, safely and effectively operate Special Health Accommodation. On-going education and professional development is vital to ensure infection control is maintained in this high-risk environment.

Health Research and Innovation

Collaboration between clinicians, researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and consumers in healthcare is critical and can lead to service improvements and research findings that improve outcomes for patients.

Health Research Highly Commended:

Cardiology, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital- Adult Congenital Heart Disease

Winner: Pharmacy, Sydney Local Health District- VTE Stewardship: improving care through innovation

Venous thromboembolism (VTE) is a leading cause of preventable death in hospital. The VTE Stewardship program is the first in the Australian hospital system. It successfully increased VTE risk assessment and improved appropriate prescribing - enhancing patient safety and reducing the incidence of avoidable hospital-acquired VTE complications.

Health Innovation Highly Commended:

Population Health- Supporting mothers and children during COVID-19: research adaptation and innovation
Winner: ICT Services - Record for life, a NSW Digital Healthcare first

In October 2019 ICT Services rolled out PowerChart Maternity at RPA and Canterbury Hospitals. And at Canterbury - baby Charlene Ngyuen became the first baby born in NSW with an integrated digital record for life. One year on - 4,500 babies have joined her.

Excellence in the provision of Mental Health Services

This award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care.

Highly Commended:
Psychology, Mental Health Services- Gold Card Clinics - streamlined brief interventions for people in crisis

Winner: Psychology, Mental Health Services- rpavirtual Psychology team: providing virtual psychological care during a pandemic

The team was set up to deliver psychological care to COVID-19 positive patients in self-isolation at home - as well as those in quarantine at Special Health Accommodation. The team provides assessments, crisis counselling, targeted psychological strategies and interventions as well as appropriate referrals to ED and other services.

COVID-19 Collaborative Leader of the Year

This award recognises a staff member who has had an integral role in daily operations and decision making for COVID-19.

Winner: Professor Paul Torzillo, Head of Department, Respiratory Medicine, RPA

An outstanding leader, Professor Torzillo has ensured high-quality, safe and effective service planning and care for RPA patients, staff and the District during the COVID-19 pandemic. He's respected by his colleagues, and the Executive, for his collaborative approach, commitment to patient care and strong corporate and clinical governance.

Chair of the Board's Award for Excellence

This award is for a team that the Chair of the Board recognises has made a significant contribution in 2020.

Winner: rpavirtual

Launched in February as a pilot program - rpavirtual was rapidly expanded to meet the needs of COVID-19. By mid-March - the team had introduced the first virtual model of care for COVID-19 patients in NSW.

Cleaner of the Year

This award recognises a hospital assistant who demonstrates excellence in their role.


Natalie An, Balmain Hospital

Rosa Angelkoska, Canterbury Hospital

Eldo John, Giovann Ceniza and David Shen, Concord Hospital

Mylene Dealagdon, RPA Hospital

Fernanada Da Silva Santos, Special Health Accommodation

Bhawana Bista, Special Health Accommodation

Staff Member of the Year

This award recognises employees who have made an exceptional contribution to the services provided by the District.
Highly Commended:

Jessica Crause, Deputy Director, Strategic Relations and Engagement, Sydney Local Health District

Rose Meiruntu, Manager, Operations, Centre for Education and Workforce Services

Brad McEntee, CNC, Infection Prevention and Control, Special Health Accommodation

Winner: Sven Nilsson, Disaster Manager, Sydney Local Health District

Sven has been instrumental in the success of the District's COVID-19 response. As the District's Disaster Manager, he's coordinated response planning and operational activities overseeing the set-up and management of testing clinics, drive-throughs, Flying Squad operations and COVID-19 operations at Sydney's domestic and international airports.

Collaborative Leader of the Year

This award recognises a staff member who demonstrates exceptional collaboration and supports teams to work collaboratively to improve patient care.

Highly Commended:

Dr Owen Hutchings, Medical Director, rpavirtual

Joint winners: Dr Natasha Spalding and Jodi McLeod, Residential Aged Care Facilities Outreach team leaders

As leaders of the District's Residential Aged Care Facilities Outreach team, Dr Natasha Spalding and Jodi McLeod's innovative work is driven by the shared goal of improving care for vulnerable residents. It requires strong clinical governance and extensive collaboration with stakeholders from across the District, NSW Health and local Aged Care Facilities.

Volunteer of the Year

This award recognises the contribution of an individual who provides excellent support for patients, carers and families and acts as a role model for volunteering in the District.

Highly Commended:

Kasi Capritsis, Canterbury Hospital

Alan Swan, Concord Hospital

Winner: Dr Alan McPhail, Concord Hospital

Dr McPhail is an integral member of Concord Hospital's Consumer Network, advocating for community participation, and he also sits on a number of peak committees across the District. His knowledge and expertise, plus his positive attitude, dedication and commitment to his volunteer roles, is an invaluable asset for our District.

Special Award of the Board

This award recognises the significant contribution of several of the District's teams during the COVID-19 response.


Engineering and Audio-Visual Services

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Capital Works, Property and Engineering team rapidly designed and constructed a new ICU at RPA, transformed existing wards to become specialist COVID-19 wards, and contributed to Special Health Accommodation, plus drive-through, static and pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics.

They were supported by the AudioVisual Services and Strategic Relations and Communications team whose designers created, produced and installed informational and way-finding signage and collateral across the District to help keep patients, their families, staff and our community safe.

ICT Services

The ICT team has provided digital solutions to enhance patient care and built tools for clinicians to streamline new work processes during COVID-19.

They have also implemented technology to help corporate, operations, and support teams, plus deployed equipment to support the shift to remote working.

Workforce Services

The recruitment unit - lead by Helen Legakis - implemented new procedures and processes to support the Executive team and District's 12,000-member workforce during COVID-19.

They also facilitated the rapid recruitment of an additional skilled multidisciplinary workforce, at Special Health Accommodation sites, hospitals, services and departments across the District, at the height of pandemic.

The Chief Executive's Award

These awards also recognise the outstanding contributions of teams in the District during this challenging year.


Public Health Unit and Environmental Health Officers

The PHU and its team of Environmental Health Officers are playing a key role in protecting the community from the spread of COVID-19. About 40 PHU staff, and 75 redeployed staff are identifying cases of COVID-19 in the District to reduce community transmission and successfully "flatten the curve".

RPA - COVID 19 Response

RPA has played a pivotal role in the effective management of the COVID-19 outbreak in NSW. The Executive and staff rapidly implemented multiple new models of care - from Special Health Accommodation, rpavirtual, to pop-up testing clinics - while continuing to deliver accessible, high-quality and safe patient care.

Concord Hospital - Outbreak Management

When a number of staff at Concord Hospital tested positive to COVID-19, an effective management plan was immediately implemented to successfully stop the spread of the virus.

Summer Hill Drive-Through

The Summer Hill drive-through was the first of the District's drive-through COVID-19 clinics set up in March.

At the peak of the pandemic they set a District record for the number of swabs done in one day.

COVID-19 Response Awards

These peer-nominated awards recognise staff who have made a significant contribution during the District's response to COVID-19.

Michelle O'Hearne, Mental Health Services

Paula Williams, RPA COVID-19 clinic

Kirsty Chapman, National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare and the Flying Squad

Deepak Himalayan, AudioVisual Services

Bobby McLachlan, AudioVisual Services

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