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Innovation and Excellence Awards 2021

Celebrating achievements during the COVID-19 response.

Woman and man on stage; woman receiving an award
SydneyConnect Image: Innovation and Excellence Awards 2021

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

Delivering Integrated Care

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

Highly commended:

National Centre for Veterans' Healthcare – Pilot

Residential Aged Care Facility Outreach Team – Expanding non-COVID Activity to respond to COVID-19

Women's Health, Neonatology and Paediatrics – Leading Better Value Care - Bronchiolitis

Winner: Community Paediatric School Clinic - Ngaramadhi Space

The Paediatric team worked with education, social care, and the Wouwanguul Kanja – an Aboriginal community steering group – to provide integrated care which significantly reduced the behavioural difficulties experienced by 79 children.

Health Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

The District is committed to ensuring 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:

BreastScreen NSW – Aboriginal Shawl Project

Health Promotion and Population Health – Aboriginal Bowel Screening Project

Winner: Aboriginal Health Unit and Executive Support Unit – COVID-19 Aboriginal Cultural Response Team

The Aboriginal Cultural Response Team provided cultural support to COVID-19 positive Aboriginal patients and assisted rpavirtual and Special Health Accommodation with patient engagement reducing the potential for large-scale outbreaks. 

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:

Mental Health Services – Project ECHO

RPA Institute of Academic Surgery – Surgical outcomes for patients with serious mental illness

Winner: Mental Health Services - Providing psychological care for patients in Special Health Accommodation

The team provided psychological support to help people cope with the stressors of quarantine. They’ve supported more than 7,000 people – helping them manage anxiety, claustrophobia, depression, insomnia, substance withdrawal, self-harm and suicidal ideation.

Education and Workforce Development

Support for its people is one of the District’s most important investments in delivering of excellence in healthcare for all.

Highly commended:

RPA Emergency Department – Closing the feedback loop between patients and paramedics

Special Health Accommodation – An innovative model of care to support the community during the response to COVID-19

Winner: Carers Program – Carers as Partners in Care

This year, Carers NSW recognised the importance of the District’s Carers Program, with the District becoming the first Local Health District in Australia to achieve Level Two accreditation as a carer-friendly employer.

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.

Highly commended:

RPA Vaccination Research Unit – Only In Australia: Novel research is breaking ground in the pandemic fight

Winner: RPA Hospital – Cell and Molecular Therapies

The RPA Cell and Molecular Therapy team is leading the way in innovation and translating research into improved health outcomes for patients. They’re involved in clinical trials, treating diseases like haemophilia, cancer and dementia.

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.

Highly commended:

Drug Health Services - Harm Reduction Program

Winner: ICT Services - Turning the other cheek on COVID-19 quarantine testing

A collaboration led by Sydney Local Health District and NSW Health Pathology created a COVID-19 saliva testing system, for daily use by airport, quarantine and border workers. The innovative ICT solution made testing accessible, easy and faster to get results.

There were also two Chief Executive Awards for Excellence in this category.

Winner: Canterbury Hospital – Emergency Department enhanced triage during COVID-19

In response to increased infection risks during the Delta outbreak, Canterbury Hospital overhauled its triage process and location – ensuring people who potentially had COVID-19 were able to wait in areas that did not increase the risk to other vulnerable patients.

Winner: Child Protection Strategy Unit - Innovations in Sydney District Pregnancy Family Conferencing

Pregnancy Family Conferencing is a trauma-informed program offered to women and their families where significant child protection concerns have been identified for their unborn or newborn baby. A partnership between the District and the Department of Communities and Justice, it aims to increase the likelihood that babies are able to remain safely in the care of their parents.

Patient Safety First

Patient safety is one of the most important parts of providing excellent care. This includes engaging patients as partners in their care and delivering care in ways that they find relevant.

Highly commended:

Disability Inclusion and Strategy Service – Keeping Me Safe in my Home: Protecting people living with disability in shared living accommodation safe during COVID-19 outbreak

Winner: NSW Health Pathology – Laboratory testing boosts public safety during COVID-19

NSW Health Pathology was responsible for increasing lab testing for COVID-19 from a few hundred tests a day to 5,000 per day. This kept people safe by getting their results sooner and providing valuable insights to contact tracing teams.

There was also a Chief Executive Award for Excellence in this category.

Winner: Special Health Accommodation – Keeping COVID-19 out of the community

The innovative Special Health Accommodation model fast-tracked conversions of hotels into field hospitals. It kept patients safe by providing a place for them to quarantine in isolation while receiving care.

Transforming Patient Experience

Patient-centred care is at the heart of the District’s strategy. This category recognises the projects which have transformed patient experiences.

Highly commended:

Canterbury Hospital – Canterbury Antenatal Postnatal Service

ICT Services and Nursing – Wound Care Command Centre

RPA Virtual – enhancing patient and staff experience through value-based virtual care

Winner: COVID-19 Operations – Welcome to the NSW Health Mass Vaccination Centre

The NSW Health Vaccination Centre at Sydney Olympic Park is capable of vaccinating up to 10,000 people a day. From its inception, the community was at the heart of decision-making, with the Centre's welcoming environment ensuring a positive experience for everyone being vaccinated. It has delivered more than 1.406 million vaccine doses.

There was also a Chief Executive Awards for Excellence in this category.

Winner: Residential Aged Care Facility Outreach Team – Expanding non-COVID Activity to respond to COVID-19

The team kept patients safe by providing care in aged care facilities, and helping them avoid hospital admissions. They addressed care concerns in their early stages and minimised the risks to vulnerable elderly people.

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:

Concord Hospital – Dr Diane McPhail

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital – Geoffrey Lean

Sydney Dental Hospital and Oral Health Services – Ann-Mason Furmage

Winner: Wafa Zaim – Canterbury Hospital

As a consumer representative at Canterbury Hospital for more than 25 years, Wafa Zaim supports and empowers families of diverse needs and cultural backgrounds. During COVID-19, Wafa shared the District’s Arabic-language resources with the community.

Cleaner of the Year

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

Highly commended:

Balmain Hospital – Eric Lambert

Concord Hospital – Purisima Nunal and The-Ha Tran

Drug Health Services – Ran Budhachhatri

Royal Prince Alfred Hospital – Harvie Cordova and Lena Dimovska

Special Health Accommodation – Dewa Ayu Komang Septu Apriyani and Renato Riccotta Camargo

Sydney Dental Hospital – Jin Hong Mok

Winner: Joshua Antonio – Croydon Health Centre

Joshua has worked as the leading hand across the Health Centre sites for a year and has delivered excellence, enthusiasm, and support for all staff, patients and families demonstrating exceptional standards at all times.

The leaders from the Special Health Accommodation Environmental Services team also received special recognition. They are:

Alina Roka Magar, Ashar Ashar, Bijay Magar, Krishna Neupane, Pabitra Bhandari, Rina Tamang, Rubbendra Maharjan, Shanti Tamang, Subin Gyawali, Sukmawati Sukmawati, Sukriani Masse, Umesh Tamang, Vyna Giri Lawu, Andi Pangerange Datti, Indra Suryadi Raysid and Manpreet Kaur.

Environmental Services played a vital role in setting up and supporting Special Health Accommodation. The team members provided exceptional leadership, helping everyone to understand new processes and maintain excellent levels of care.

Collaborative Staff Member of the Year

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

Highly commended:

Bradley McEntee – Special Health Accommodation

Claire Devonport – Women's Health, Neonatology and Paediatrics

Danielle Morris – Workforce Services

Dr Joseph Lawler – RPA Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Dr Michael Paleologos – RPA Anaesthetics

Elizabeth Ryan – Canterbury Hospital Patient Surgical Flow

Professor Armin Nikpour – Neurosciences Ambulatory Care Unit

Regina Nagy – Drug Health Services

Sinead Sheils – Gastroenterology and Liver Service

Winner: Joseph Jewitt – General Manager, Special Health Accommodation

As General Manager of the District’s Special Health Accommodation (SHA), Joseph has played a pivotal role in the response to COVID-19. He has overseen more than 20 SHAs and police run quarantine hotels, ensuring air travellers and vulnerable community members could safely quarantine.

Recognition of Excellence in COVID-19 response

These awards recognise the outstanding contributions in the District during the response to COVID-19.

Highly commended:

Dr Timothy Gray and Karen Sherwood – Canterbury Hospital

Michael Sullivan and Anne-Louise Allan-Georgas – Capital Assets Property and Engineering

Lainie Anderson and Sue McGrady – COVID-19 Vaccination and Screening Program

Marilyn Richardson – Drug Health Services

Corey Moore – Marrickville Community Health Centre

Jane Massa – Mental Health Services

Shih Chi Kao – Population Health

Arun Parasuraman – Public Health Unit

Jacqui Moustakas – RPA Dialysis Service

Merryn Sheather, Peter Linnegar, Kirrily Stewart and Erin McSweeney – Special Health Accommodation

Haley Bruce – Strategic Relations and Communications

Winner: Barbara Luisi – Director, Diversity Programs and Strategy Hub

Barbara led to integration of the District’s culturally and linguistically diverse workforce in the COVID-19 response. She has demonstrated outstanding agility and responsiveness to meet rapidly changing health care demands.

There was also a Chief Executive Award for Excellence in this category.

Winner: Richard Taggart – Chief Information Officer

With Richard at the helm, ICT Services is the digital force driving awareness, uptake, compliance and adoption of COVID-19 testing and vaccinations. The team also delivered business as usual projects to ensure patients continued to receive excellent care.

Chair of the Board’s Award for Excellence

This award recognises a team that the Chair of the Board felt has made significant contribution in 2021.

Winner: Sydney Local Health District’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program

This award recognises all those involved in the vaccination program from community pop-ups, to outreach to respond to localised outbreaks, vaccination in the District’s services and facilities, through to vaccination centres at RPA, Sydney Olympic Park and Sydney Airport. 

Chair of the Board’s Award for Lifetime Achievement

This award recognises an individual dedicated to providing care through their chosen profession and who has made significant contributions to their field through their work at Sydney Local Health District.

Winner: Rosemary Burke, Director of Pharmacy and Chief Pharmacy Information Officer

Rosemary began her career in public health in 1985 and has seen the District’s pharmaceutical service through many changes. Prior to COVID-19, Rosemary split her time across Concord, Canterbury and RPA hospitals supporting District pharmaceutical staff. She has played a pivotal role in the development of the District’s COVID-19 vaccination program. She is an inspiring leader to the pharmaceutical workforce in the District and other Districts.

To view more images of the award winners, please click here.