Showcasing the incredible work across our regional, rural and remote local health districts.

20 September 2023

Secretary's message

Thank you to everyone who responded to the 2023 People Matter Employment Survey (PMES), which closed last Friday. I would like to thank each of you who took the time to have your say. 


Your feedback will help identify areas of strength within our organisation, along with things we could improve to make NSW Health an even better place to work. I look forward to sharing the results with you later this year.


My thanks too to everyone who took a moment to check in on their colleagues and mark R U OK? Day (14 September). It’s a simple but powerful question that plays a big role in looking out for each other.

In this edition, we showcase the incredible work happening every day across our regional, rural and remote health services to make sure safe, quality care is provided to people every corner of our state.


You’ll hear from regional staff about why they choose to work in regional, rural and remote areas, and learn about the positive impacts they make in their communities day in and day out. There’re also some photos from across the regions that capture the beauty of these areas.


I was in Dubbo recently, on one of my regular visits to our staff in regional areas, exploring some of the sites and services within Western NSW Local Health District, including the vCare virtual health service, Dubbo Health Service, Lourdes Hospital and the Ambulance NSW Western Control Centre.


It’s always great to spend some time with our staff and hear about the work they do to serve our regional communities, including the challenges they face, local initiatives to support patient care and what we can do to continue to support them in their work. Their dedication to the communities in which they live and work is outstanding.

World Pharmacist Day is coming up on 25 September. Thank you to all the incredible pharmacists across our health system for helping keep our communities safe and healthy.


Finally, I’d like to acknowledge Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) which was celebrated recently, and wish our staff who will observe Yom Kippur this coming Sunday well over the fast.


Kind regards,

Susan Pearce AM
Secretary, NSW Health

R U OK? Day with Chief Psychiatrist, Dr Murray Wright

From farm to family

“When I am not in the sheep yards or helping out at harvest, I am out in the community helping our families.”


That’s how Jacinta Dore sums up her career and family life in Murrumbidgee Local Health District.


Managing a farm full-time with her husband and raising a family has taught Jacinta many skills and life lessons that she applies in her role as a child and family nurse in Urana.


“I know a lot of my clients; many are friends and family. Having our farm, raising our family, going to community events, we all talk, share and build really special relationships with each other,” said Jacinta.


“It is a privilege to be accepted into the lives of a family and to be given that trust as a health professional.” 


Jacinta finds inspiration in the everyday parts of her role.


“There is a certain type of job satisfaction when you know you've helped someone by giving guidance or good advice. Seeing the difference you can make to someone’s life is what really keeps me going,” said Jacinta.


“It's very special to live and work in this town. I have known some of these families for such a long time, across generations, and they know who I am and that is very special and unique.


“There is a real community spirit here and that is priceless.”

 Jacinta Dore on her farm

Staying connected through the journey of healthcare

When you receive care at any hospital in Hunter New England Local Health District, you become part of the family.

Hunter New England Kids Graduation ceremony

Paediatric teams across the district were showered with love and appreciation at this year’s Hunter New England Kids Graduation ceremony. It celebrates young people who've received care at the hospital moving onto the next stage of life. 


Young people, along with their families, travelled to Newcastle to say thank you and farewell to their healthcare heroes.


Dr Paul Craven, Executive Director Children, Young People and Families said the ceremony celebrates young people moving to their next stage in life and is a chance to reflect on their healthcare journey.


“It’s so heart-warming to see our patients and hear how they brightened our lives and hospitals during appointments,” said Paul.


“We heard some great stories, re-telling of favourite jokes, special moments from years of care, and some of our patients’ amazing achievements. There was one patient who entered our care allergic to cats and is now working as a veterinary nurse!”


“The relationships formed in the years of care stay with our healthcare teams, patients and their loved ones, and we hope they come back to visit, check in and say hi,” said Paul.

Rural pharmacist to the core

From being born in Goulburn Base Hospital, to now working at the same hospital in the role of Southern NSW Local Health District’s Director of Pharmacy, Alice McKellar is a “rural pharmacist to the core”.

Watch Alice's video for this year's World Pharmacist Day (25 September) on her “rewarding, challenging and fabulous career”. Find out what she loves about working in Southern NSW.


 Alice McKellar

60 seconds with... 

Name: Tracey Maisey


Role: Chief Executive, Northern NSW Local Health District


Now, let’s get to know you a little better…


What are three words your family and friends would use to describe you? 
Personable, loyal and energetic.


Last great TV show or movie you watched?

Matrix Resurrections.


Favourite book or podcast?

Too many to name one… generally like crime novels.


Tracey Maisey

If you could learn a new skill, what would it be?

How to play the piano.


If you’re cooking dinner, what will everyone be eating?

Probably something Italian.


Any hidden talents?

I used to be a pretty good pool player but haven’t played for a while.


What have you enjoyed most during your first month as Chief Executive of Northern NSW Local Health District?

Getting out and about in the district and meeting lots of amazingly dedicated staff.


What are some of the unique challenges facing rural and regional healthcare?

I prefer to think of opportunities – close connection with community, creative solutions to delivering health care services – do more with generally less.


What excites you about the future of Northern NSW Local Health District?

There are many good things happening here but also lots of opportunity to move from good to great; working with our staff and communities to create this future is what truly excites me.

'At the CORE' of regional, rural and remote NSW

Our CORE values are at the heart of everything we do at NSW Health. At the CORE showcases the teams, initiatives, and achievements from around the system that display our values in action.


Collaboration, openness, respect and empowerment can be found throughout every regional, rural and remote local health district in NSW.


From Northern to Southern NSW, and from the Central Coast to the Far West – the strength and resourcefulness of these communities helps to deliver the best possible care to our community.


Staff from across the regions have shared some of their favourite places to be and what they love about working regionally.

What's on

Health Education in Practice webinar


The next HETI Evaluation and Research Webcast Series webinar on Wednesday 27 September from 6:00pm to 7:00pm will showcase three of the most popular research papers published in the Health Education in Practice: Journal of Research for Professional Learning. Presentations include:

  • An evaluation of Aboriginal content in an undergraduate paramedicine degree
  • GP education on chronic pain management
  • Medical students' knowledge, exposure and attitude to telehealth.

Visit the HETI website for more information and to register.

Save the Date: Gathering of Kindness: 13-17 November


The Gathering of Kindness continues a conversation about kindness and compassion in healthcare. This year, we focus on MY KIND of healthcare – reframing quality and safety, which aims to explore those actions and moments that matter to us all in transforming experiences in healthcare.


Next month, we will release the hybrid program of events that will inspire creativity, change, collaboration, courage and contemplation.


Register today to receive more details.

Your Health Link National Photographic Competition


Entries for Your Health Link National Photographic Competition are now open.


Now in its sixth year, the competition’s theme is Healthy Life, Healthy You, encouraging people to capture an image that creatively illustrates the theme while demonstrating an understanding of how health and healthcare apply to their lives.


Entries close on 8 October and winners will be announced at an exhibition in Port Macquarie on 23 November.

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur 

Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are two important occasions within the Jewish community that many individuals will observe this month.


Rosh Hashanah is the Jewish New Year that takes place from 15-17 September this year. It is a time when the creation of the world is commemorated through prayer, festive gatherings, and traditional rituals.


Following that, Yom Kippur, which will begin at sundown on 24 September and end at nightfall on 25 September, is a day of fasting, reflection, prayer, and seeking forgiveness.


Wishing a joyful Rosh Hashanah and a meaningful Yom Kippur to all who observe these days!

A stroke of care

Everyone in the Shoalhaven Hospital Stroke Unit shares a common mission – to improve the lives of stroke patients in Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District.

The team’s Clinical Nurse Consultant, Donna Jay said seeing the positive outcomes of rapid stroke care is the most rewarding part of the job.


“The patients who make your day are the ones where you can see the changes you’ve made in their lives,” said Donna.


Their shared passion is what helps the team continue to provide the best possible care for patients.


“Our team is extremely tight-knit and we all care deeply about our patients and innovation in stroke care,” said Donna.

Donna Jay with the WSO Angels Awards

“Working to save lives and reduce lifelong disability is what keeps us doing what we do and we love it!”


The dedication of the stoke team has earned them well-deserved recognition. Most recently they won three awards at the Stroke Society of Australasia conference for helping regional stroke patients access the same outcomes as those in metropolitan areas.


“I am always so proud watching the team in action and it’s inspiring to see how much they love their work,” said Donna.

Acting for dementia

The Dementia Awareness and Support Team (DAST) in Western NSW Local Health District is helping people living with dementia to access clinical support and stay connected with their community.


Mary-Anne Spence, Aged Care Services Division Manager is incredibly proud to be leading DAST.


“The team is highly motivated to work together to support patients, while also coming up with innovative ways to meet the needs of people living with dementia,” said Mary-Anne.

Jessica Hennessy, Aged Care Clinical Nurse Manager, believes DAST is up for any challenge.


“It takes a special kind of person to help manage the level of complexity that comes with dementia, and having empathy, compassion and understanding is key. The team is working proactively to create a dementia-friendly community within the district,” said Jessica.


DAST is also ramping up for Dementia Action Week (18-24 September) and changing views about dementia in the community.

Mary-Anne Spence, Jessica Hennessy, Carole Neil

“Community can help to drive care for people living with dementia. We’re encouraging people to learn more about dementia and build connections so if one day, someone with dementia needs help, they have a community of support to rely on,” said Mary-Anne.

Community is where the heart is

Originally from Sydney, Physiotherapist Alex Kennedy was interested in more of a community-based role, which prompted him to join the team at Central Coast Local Health District.

“Working in a community-based setting in a regional district offers great opportunities for me to connect with the local community,” said Alex.


“I work with patients who have recently been discharged from hospital, and it is just so rewarding to see patients able to access their community again and regain their independence.”


Alex also enjoys working as part of a wider, multidisciplinary community allied health team.


“We are a close-knit team and I think our collaboration is one of our strengths. It allows us to provide a cohesive service for our patients,” said Alex.  


“People here love to identify as a ‘Coastie’ and have a strong sense of community – and I can understand why. The Central Coast has a lot to offer but is still close enough to Sydney to make it easy for me to visit my family and friends. It is a great place to work!”

Alex Kennedy

Bringing the city to the country

Mid North Coast Local Health District is bringing a slice of the city to the country by launching the new Movement Disorder Specialist Service at Coffs Harbour.


In collaboration with Western Sydney Local Health District and Parkinson’s NSW, the new service will make a big difference for people living with movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease in the regional, rural and remote areas of NSW.

Vince Carroll (left) and key partners of Movement Disorder Service

Parkinson’s Clinical Nurse Consultant Vince Carroll said this is great news for patients, their families and carers.


“Patients on the Mid North Coast have been travelling to Sydney for treatment as 93% of specialists reside in the city. Now the service is right on their doorstep,” said Vince.


“They can see a movement disorder specialist face-to-face or via telehealth, and if anything happened in between appointments, they are supported by a nurse.”

Under the program, patients will receive personalised medicine and care. They will also be linked with allied health professionals as part of their treatment, such as physical, exercise, occupational, dance and speech therapists to make their day-to-day life more manageable.


“We’re bringing the gold standard service that people usually get in the city to the country, whereas before we just didn’t have anything like this,” said Vince.

Brilliance of the Far West

The community spirit among the hills and wide landscape of Far West Local Health District can only be described as brilliant. This brilliance is celebrated in the Staff Brilliance Awards.


Kahlia Liston, Clinical Nurse Consultant and Brooke Napier, Clinical Governance Support Officer have both won the Staff Brilliance of the Year award and are arguably two of the biggest advocates for staff recognition.


“There is nothing quite like receiving recognition from your peers. We are always helping each other out in small ways. Small acts of kindness actually make a big impact and I think that kind of respect should be celebrated,” said Kahlia.


Never in a million years did Brooke think she would be nominated for her generosity and willingness to go above and beyond to help others – let alone win the award! 

Kahlia Liston

Brooke Napier

“The feeling is indescribable, and I am extremely grateful that my team genuinely believes in me,” said Brooke.


“Receiving this kind of recognition and appreciation from your peers motivates you to be better and strive for excellence.”


For Kahlia and Brooke, the Staff Brilliance Awards captures the essence of being part of Far West Local Health District.


“It shows that we're a team – we value each other, we follow our CORE values and we have a strong culture of respect,” said Kahlia.

“It’s a celebration of the hard work of our staff and also provides an environment that fosters growth and innovation,” said Brooke.

Quick news

KINDLAB: Cultivating innovation in kindness and compassion


KINDLAB is a unique adaptation of the popular TV show Shark Tank, focusing on promoting and nurturing those acts of kindness and innovative solutions in our hospitals and community.


You can pitch your ideas that harness the power of kindness to improve the wellbeing of patients, families, carers, volunteers and staff.


Find out more and apply before 5:00pm Sunday 1 October.

Michelle Beets Award nominations now open


The Michelle Beets Awards for Inspirational Paediatric Care recognises healthcare professionals who go above and beyond for children’s health, and celebrates those who inspire their colleagues through care and compassion.


To find out more about the awards and conditions of entry, visit the Humpty Dumpty Foundation website.


Nominations are open now until 11:59pm Friday 29 September.

From the Critical Intelligence Unit


The Critical Intelligence Unit (CIU) Evidence Digest focuses on clinical innovations that have the potential to change clinical practice and delivery or organisation of care.


In the past weeks, the Critical Intelligence Unit (CIU) Evidence Digest featured:

  • Lifetime gains with cancer screening tests, dementia prevention, and building community health and care capacity
  • CAR T-cell therapy for relapsed childhood T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, Bacillus spore probiotics for symptomatic treatment of influenza in children, and removing tonsils for frequent tonsillitis.

To receive the digest in your inbox on Wednesday mornings, please subscribe.

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