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NSLHD Quality and Improvement Awards 2024


The Northern Sydney Local Health District Quality and Improvement Awards celebrate the excellence of our nurses, doctors, allied health professionals, support staff and researchers. The awards put a spotlight on the hard work and delivery of programs and services which have made a real difference to the patients and families we care for.

2024 NSLHD quality and improvement award winners​​​

 Planetary health award

​This award recognises initiatives that have identified and implemented a solution or change that contributes to improving the environmental sustainability of our hospitals and services and supports NSLHD meet its net zero target.

Winner: ​RNSH ICU Green Team, Intensive Care Unit, Royal North Shore Hospital

 Transforming the patient experience award

Recognising that patients are partners in their health care, this award acknowledges projects/programs that promote collaboration between consumers and the health care team to improve our patient's experience while in our care. 

Winner: Technical Assistants in Emergency - Emergency Department, Ryde Hospital

 Patient safety first award

This award recognises a project that demonstrates commitment leadership that puts patient safety first to deliver safe, high-quality reliable care for patients/consumers in hospitals and other settings. ​

Winner: BEFAST to Recognise Stroke Symptoms - Stroke care, Ryde Hospital 

 Keeping people healthy award

This award aims to acknowledge projects which support individuals, families and communities to make healthy lifestyle choices to prevent ill health and tackle health inequality in our communities. 

Winner: Small Bites for Big Steps - Early Years Program, Population Health Promotion

 People and culture award

This award aims to acknowledge the strong safety culture that underpins the district's commitment to deliver safe, reliable, person-centred care, underpinned by the CORE values of collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment. This award recognises projects that support our workforce to deliver safe, reliable, person-centred care that drives the best outcomes and experience for patients and staff. 

Winner: ​Parental Leave Understanding and Support (PLUS) programme - Emergency Department, Royal North Shore Hospital 

 Excellence in the provision of mental health services award

This Award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health care within programs and services. 

Winner: Aboriginal Health Trainee Inclusion in Mental Health Drug and Alcohol GradStart Program - Learning and Capability Development, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol

 Excellence in multicultural healthcare award

​This Award recognises exceptional healthcare delivery for people from multicultural backgrounds through strong partnerships within the district. 

Winner: Beyond Language: Breast Screening for Multicultural Women - BreastScreen  NSW Northern Sydney Central Coast (NSCC) in partnership with Multicultural Health Service, NSLHD, PACH and Health Care Interpreter Service, WSLHD. 

 Health innovation award

This award recognises innovative models of care, technology-led innovation and devices within healthcare settings, digital-enablement innovations and investments in infrastructure, systems, security and intelligence. 

Winner: RNSH ICU Staff Portal - Royal North Shore Hospital

 Health research award

Research is critical to improving the experience and outcomes of care for patients. Research creates exciting new opportunities for prevention, diagnosis and treatment and builds our evidence base for best practice health care delivery. Collaboration among researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians can lead to findings that are more likely to be innovative and positively inform health decisions.​

Winner: Standardising ‘Watch and Wait’ surveillance using a multi-institutional consensus approach - Cancer Network, NSLHD, in partnership with IS, SWS, SES, WNSW, MNC, NBM, and Sydney LHDs​

2024 NSLHD Quality and Improvement Award finalists​​

 Planetary health

Finalist: NSLHD’s carbon footprint and pathway to net zero, Planetary Health, Population Health Promotion  

alternate text 47 ​(L-R:   Nicola Groskops, Toby Bankole and Lynley Hurst)

As the district works towards net zero, the Planetary Health team conducted a project from November 2022 to July 2023 to calculate NSLHD’s baseline carbon emissions and map a pathway to net zero, partnering with NSW Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. This first-of-its-kind initiative identified emission hotspots, best-practice interventions, and helped guide the Planetary Health Framework 2024-2027, setting a clear trajectory for net zero. ​

 Transforming the patient experience

​ Finalist: Liver Supportive Care – Hepatology, Royal North Shore Hospital 

alternate text 47 ​(L-R: Top Row: Dr. Cameron Gofton, Ruby Main Bottom row: Ree Sorbello, Hannah Lam,  Asma Baig, Dr. Sara Qayyum, Tina Burchett Absent: Melina Tam, Christopher Sewell)​

The Liver Supportive Care project has integrated early palliative care into advanced liver disease management for patients across the Northern Sydney Local Health District, addressing their holistic needs through telehealth follow-ups and multidisciplinary care. This approach has enabled over 50 per cent of patients to receive early palliative care, reduced hospital readmissions and referral to community teams.

Highly commended: Quilts & Hearts - Palliative Care at Ryde Hospital 
alternate text 47 ​(L-R:   Marlene Weakely , Nicole Muir, Barb Scott, Siobhan Delahunty, Laura Fairjones, Absent: Dr Martin Kennedy )

​The Quilts and Hearts initiative at Ryde Hospital aims to improve the experience for palliative care patients', and their loved ones, at the end of life.  The traditional white hospital linen is replaced with colourful quilted blankets infused with lavender from the hospital gardens.  Handmade, knitted heart shaped keepsakes, filled with dried lavender, are offered to patients and their loved ones as a way to feel connected.  The appreciation received from families at Ryde Hospital has been overwhelmingly positive, and the hearts becoming treasured after the passing of their loved ones.​​

 Patient safety first

Finalist: BRUSH: Steps to improving Oral Care at Hornsby Hospital - BRUSH Oral Care Group, Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital

alternate text 47 (L-R:   Lisa Francis, Mariya Lypska, Thomas Fitzsimmons, Vivian Nguyen, Joy Mei,  Alison Hession, Alison Mayhew)

Oral hygiene can sometimes be overlooked when patients come to the hospital with serious illnesses or injuries. Poor oral care can lead to decreased nutritional intake, difficulty swallowing, as well as respiratory complications.  The BRUSH project aims to improve patients’ oral hygiene practices while they are in hospital. Additional gains include Improved patient satisfaction, reduced respiratory hospital acquired complications and reduced average hospital length of stay.

 Keeping people healthy

Finalist: Breaking down barriers to accessing bowel care in non-specialist spinal injury units and the community - Northern Sydney Home Nursing Service, Primary and Community Health, Sargood on Collaroy – Royal Rehab and the Agency for Clinical Innovation 
alternate text 47 (L-R:   Komal Adarkar, Yvette Mair,  Rita Cusmiani)

The neurogenic bowel care video has streamlined staff training, ensuring prompt access to evidence-based practices, thereby reducing complications, hospital stays, and associated costs. Its accessibility and flexibility empower both healthcare professionals and patients, enhancing care quality and promoting independence in bowel management. 

 People and culture

Finalist:The impact of Clinical Nurse Specialist support and implementation of standardised/structured handover tools on medical and nursing staff in the after-hours space - Hospital and Clinical Coordinators, Northern Beaches Hospital 
alternate text 47 (L-R:   Dr Rees,  Hannah Holt) 

The "no gaps" after-hours Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) support improved Junior Medical Officers' satisfaction, enhanced handover procedures, and reduced phone calls. Surveys, audits, and call logs measured the impact, showing significant staff satisfaction improvements, better workload prioritisation by JMOs, and a 28% reduction in after-hours phone calls.

 Excellence in the provision of mental health services

Finalist:Introduction of an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) Role within the Olanzapine Pamoate LAI Clinic at the Northern Beaches Community Mental Health Service, Northern Beaches and AIN Project Team, Mental Health Drug and Alcohol
alternate text 47 (L-R:   Kirsty Dunbar,  Garnet O’Neil, Daisy Sui Care, Suzy Glover, Felicity Wood AIN, Heidi Henry, Absent: Roni Morton)

The introduction of the Assistant in Nursing (AIN) role in the Olanzapine Pamoate Long Acting Injection (LAI) clinic at Northern Beaches Mental Health Services (NBCMHS) aims to enrich consumer care and expand AINs' roles in mental health settings. Through structured training and assessment, the project ensures safe, high-quality care delivery, fostering recruitment and retention in the mental health sector. Initial evaluations reveal positive staff satisfaction and the AIN's significant contribution to consumer support during post-injection monitoring. This innovative initiative not only enhances service delivery but also provides avenues for staff development, highlighting the potential of community mental health settings for aspiring nursing professionals. 

 Health innovation

Finalist:High Flow Fast Track Model: Driving ED Performance - The SPEED team - Service imProvEment and Emergency Department, Royal North Shore Hospital
alternate text 47 (L-R:  Bryan Mckee-Hata, Margie Webster, Lesley Fitzpatrick, Dr. Elizabeth Swinburn, Dr. James Milligan, Renae McCarthy, Dr. Tom Harwood,  Alison Partyka, Elizabeth Bryan) 

The introduction of a High Flow Fast Track model of care at Royal North Shore Hospital’s Emergency Department, the largest department-initiated change in the past decade, has led to significant improvements in productivity and service efficiency within the ED. The new care model strategically navigates high acuity patients (i.e. category 2 and 3) from the ED waiting room to Fast Track, effectively addresses overcrowding in the ED waiting room and   resulting in a notable reduction of the average waiting time by 16 minutes. This decrease not only enhances patient satisfaction but also reduces the risk to patients by expediting access to emergency care.  Additionally, the new model of care has proven effective in reducing ED length of stay (LOS) for non-admitted patients, enhancing ED capacity and facilitates smoother ambulance offloads and transfers of care.

 Health research

Finalist:PainPATH: Supporting people with chronic pain - Northern Sydney Home Nursing Service, Primary and Community Health in partnership with Pain PATHWAYS Research Group, Pain Management Research Institute (PMRI), Kolling Institute
alternate text 47 (L-R:   A/Prof Paul Wrigley, Ms Meg Bruce, Ms Maria de Sousa, Dr Eindra Aung, Ms Meegan Lenart, Ms Linda Wadsworth, Prof Michael Nicholas)

PainPATH provided chronic and complex care coordinators from the Northern Sydney Home Nursing Service with the first skills training of its kind on how to effectively engage with people with chronic pain, assess their needs and provide care. In collaboration with the Pain Management Research Institute (Kolling), the care coordinators delivered care to people with chronic pain who frequently attend emergency departments.  

Both people with chronic pain and care coordinators, who participated in the PainPATH evaluation, reported better experiences in receiving/providing care and improved outcomes.  

In semi-structured interviews, people with chronic pain reported emotional support as the most beneficial aspect of care coordination. The care coordinators believed the skills training aligned with their role and allowed them to support people with chronic pain more effectively. 

Previous years

Previous award winners can be accessed below: