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Success in the district at NSW Heath Awards

Royal North Shore Hospital’s concussion clinic was a joint winner in the ‘Patient Safety First Award’ in the 2023 NSW Health Awards.

The clinic is Australia’s first multidisciplinary concussion service and has played a vital role in helping patients across the district. 

Concussion Clinic Nurse Consultant Vicki Evans (Roach) AM was excited by the win. 

“We were humbled and honoured just to have been nominated. But to win the category - that was even more amazing considering we’ve only been open 18 months,” she said.

The service began by producing an educational video, which is now used by the NSW Education Department and New Zealand schools.

Vicki said the clinic has had good links with local schools. 

“It was really evident that education around concussion was needed for schools and mums and dads,” she said.  

“While the media concentrated on chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the other end of the spectrum, we wanted to get involved at a grassroots level and do something for the community.”

A weekly clinic was later opened treating adults and children. In its first year, it treated 51 patients, attracting positive feedback and improving health outcomes. 

They have also launched a new telephone service to provide concussion advice to people across Australia.

Vicki said it was good to be making a difference with greater awareness about concussion. 

Mums, dads and officials are getting quite worried about how many head knocks can we afford and to actually recognise a concussion has occurred is the start of how to manage it
Concussion Clinic Nurse Consultant Vicki Evans (Roach) AM

“It is no longer okay to be knocked on the head or knocked on the body and say, ‘Look, you’ll be alright, dust yourself off, go back on the field’. 

“We want to make sure that education is at grassroots level - if you have had a head knock or a body knock, just sit it out for a while. And if you’ve got symptoms do not play.”

The clinic shared the honours with the Justice Health and Forensic Mental Health Network for their work with Towards Zero Suicides in Custody initiative.

The NSW Health Awards – now in their 25th year - recognise personalised, sustainable, and digitally enabled health programs that deliver outcomes that matter most to patients and invest in the wellness of the NSW community.  

The concussion clinic is also a finalist in the ‘Highest Quality Healthcare’ category in the 2023 NSW Premier’s Award. 

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