Oct 11
WESTERN NSW LHD WINS 2019 NSW HEALTH AWARD

Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is celebrating after one of its very own nurse practitioners was awarded a major prize at the 2019 NSW Health Awards in Sydney.

Leonie Parker was recognised as the winner of the Staff Member of the Year award for her work in Women’s Health services for rural and Aboriginal communities in Western NSW.

Acting WNSWLHD Chief Executive Mark Spittal said the district is thrilled Ms Parker was chosen from a field of a record 193 entrants representing NSW Health.

Ms Parker provides clinical gynaecology and Women’s Health services for small rural communities with high Aboriginal populations in Western NSW.

“Ms Parker’s work as a nurse practitioner for the past 13 years has provided Condobolin and surrounding rural and remote communities with a sustainable service in colposcopy that has been recognised internationally,” Mr Spittal said. 

“She has gained the respect and confidence of some of our most marginalised women and provides timely care in the areas of prevention, contraception, cervical screening, pre-cancer and overall women’s health.”

“Ms Parker’s dedication to open communication and transparency, is evident in the successful patient and collegial relationships she has maintained over many years in the interest of improving health outcomes for her patients.” 

Western NSW Local Health District was among six LHDs to be recognised on the night, along with the NSW Ministry of Health.

Minister for Health and Medical Research Brad Hazzard congratulated the winners and finalists in the awards, which are now in their 21st year.

Mr Hazzard joined with staff, clinicians and academics to pay tribute to the wide array of health professionals who work tirelessly to improve the delivery of care to patients across NSW.

“These accomplished award winners demonstrate the depth of talent and creativity that runs through NSW Health,” Mr Hazzard said.

This year, there were 37 finalists competing for 12 award categories.

In 2019–20 the NSW Government is investing a record $26.7 billion, including a $24 billion recurrent budget and $2.7 billion capital budget.

Staff Member of the Year - Leonie Parker.jpeg


Oct 09
Do You See What I See?
​On World Mental Health Day, the Western NSW Local Health District is urging everyone to raise awareness and reduce the stigma. 

“This year’s campaign ‘Do You See What I See?’ encouraged people to make a mental health promise and shed a more positive light on mental health in a bid to reduce stigma for the one in five Australian who are affected by mental illness annually. 

WNSWLHD Acting Director of Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol Helen McFarlane said, “It’s time to look at mental illness in a different light – a positive light”. 

“The vast majority of people affected by mental illness are able to lead independent and contributing lives in the community, with the right treatment and support.

“With one in five Australians affected, they form part of our close circles of family, friends and colleagues, and interact with us in our communities every day”. Helen said. 

Do You See What I See? challenges perceptions about mental illness in Australia and encourages everyone to look at mental health in a more positive light, in an effort to reduce stigma and make way for more people to seek the help and support they deserve. 

Stigma around mental illness due to misunderstanding or prejudice remains an issue in Australia, delaying or preventing people from wanting or feeling able to seek help, and impacting adversely on their lives.

 Ms McFarlane is urging people to connect with others this October, to improve their mental health and build resilience.

“Be brave, be bold, be honest, and share your mental health story with friends, family members and others close to you”.

“Nearly half of all Australians will experience some form of mental illness during their lifetime, and those who don’t will most likely know someone who does.” Helen said. 

The NSW Government has committed in the 2019-20 budget a record investment of $2.2 billion into mental health services and infrastructure for people living with mental illness, their families and carers.

If you or someone you know needs crisis support, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

For mental health services please contact the NSW Mental Health Line on 1800 011 511.

Oct 08
One on One Support

As the drought continues across the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD), the importance of our farmers remaining healthy is vital. For the first time the WNSWLHD has a Drought Support Team, that consists of everyday people with lived experience of life on the land.

Hub Manager Mental Health Drug and Alcohol, Trish Bullen said, “This is a new model of care for our District and provides our communities an alternative option instead of speaking to a clinician".

“Sometimes all someone needs to improve their mental health is a trusted place to have a chat. The Drought Support Team can provide this and more".

The Drought Support Team are nonclinical but have a first-hand understanding of the effects of drought. They also know it's not just our farmers that are being hit hard.

The crippling effects have spread beyond the farm gate and are being felt by towns, cities, workers, families, and businesses. The team provide support to anyone affected by the drought.

​“People think the team are here just to support farmers but this is not the case."

 “They are providing support for a range of people from farmers, local shop keepers, schools and families. The team even have a child and adolescent support specialist"

“The service is able to provide support via phone calls, text, email or one of my favourite things, is they can also come to you." Trish said.

To access the Drought Support Team service call (02) 6881 4002. The service runs Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm, outside of these hours anyone with concerns about their mental health or that of a friend or loved one should call the Mental Health Line on free call 1800 011 511 or contact their GP.


Team picture.JPG

​Photo left to right -  Matt March, Leif Carroll,  Angela Copeland, Peter Gorman, Sue Baxter, Therese Ryan, Heather Jones Members of the Drought Support Team.​

Oct 08
DUST STORM PROMPTS HEALTH WARNING

NSW Health is urging people to be aware of the health risks of dust storms as a large dust storm is forecast to move across NSW, potentially affecting the Central West and North West regions.

Winds are forecast to carry dust from western NSW across the state today, bringing high dust levels. Air quality in the Western NSW Local Health District could be poor for Dubbo, Parkes and surrounding areas.

WNSWLHD Public Health Manager, Priscilla Stanley said, “It was especially important for children, older persons, and people with chronic respiratory and cardiovascular conditions such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema and heart disease to limit their time outside and not engage in vigorous exercise during a dust storm.”

“If possible, stay in air-conditioned premises where filtration systems can help to reduce dust particles in the air,” Priscilla said.

“Dust may aggravate existing heart and lung conditions and cause symptoms like eye irritation and cough.

“Symptoms can occur for several days after dust is inhaled, so people with the chronic conditions need to be vigilant with their treatment programs.

“People with asthma or a lung condition who develop symptoms such as shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, should follow their Asthma or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Action Plan.

“If symptoms do not settle, seek medical advice. 

“Healthy adults may also feel the effects of fine particles that can irritate the lungs, so it’s wise to reschedule or cut back on prolonged or strenuous outdoor activities when dust levels are high.

These particles can cause a variety of health problems, such as itchy or burning eyes, throat irritation, runny nose and illnesses such as bronchitis.

In case of emergency always remember to dial triple zero. For more information, visit the NSW Health air quality web page at: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/environment/factsheets/Pages/dust-storms.aspx​

Oct 08
WNSWLHD finalist in Australian Mental Health Prize

​The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is delighted to announce District Coordinator Integrated Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Services's, Donna Stanley, as a finalist for this year's Australian Mental Health Prize.

Donna is a proud Gunggari Umby (woman) and vastly experienced leader in Aboriginal mental health. With a shared experience and understanding of the negative impact that poor mental health has within Aboriginal communities.

Donna's work includes coordinating the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid Program, working with the NSW Mental Health Commission, and the NSW Auditor-General's Report: Mental Health Service Planning for Aboriginal People in New South Wales

WNSWLHD Acting Executive Director for Mental Health Helen McFarlane said, “We are extremely proud of the work Donna does across the District. Her determination and commitment to Aboriginal Health and Mental Health Drug and Alcohol is inspirational".

The Australian Mental Health Prize was established in 2016 by the University of NSW (UNSW) Medicine.

It recognises Australians who have made outstanding contributions to either the promotion of mental health or the prevention and treatment of mental illness.

Mental illnesses are common and highly disabling. In any year, one in five adult Australian and one in seven children aged four to 17 will experience some form of mental illness. One in three will have a mental illness in their lifetime.

“Donna has worked in Aboriginal Health and Mental Health Drug and Alcohol for over twenty-six years. She is a strong advocate for Aboriginal people and is well-respected across the District."

“She is frequently called upon to interpret issues of grief, loss and trauma, common among Aboriginal people arriving at hospital in acute distress."

“She is a wonderful example of the amazing Aboriginal workforce and staff in Mental Health Drug and Alcohol."

This year's winner will be announced at a mental health forum and award ceremony at UNSW Sydney on 6 November.

“We wish her all the best at the awards, in our eyes she is already a winner." Helen said.

Sep 26
Outstanding results for Orange Health Service
​Orange Health Service has received outstanding results during the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards accreditation. 

Orange Health Service Acting General Manager, Owen Thomas said, “This is a tribute to all the fabulous and hardworking staff, Visiting Medical Officers and volunteers we have here at the Orange Health Service”. 

“We successfully meet all requirements of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. This is even more impressive after an extremely busy period during the winter months. 

“The Executive Team are extremely proud of all of our staff and volunteers. Their dedication, hard work and focus on high quality and patient-centred care is second to none.

“The feedback we received is even better. The Surveyors were impressed with the many services they visited and the many staff, volunteers and patients they spoke with.  This reflects not only your preparedness to engage with the Surveyors, but moreover your commitment to providing high quality care day in and day out”. Owen said. 

The NSQHS Standards provide a nationally consistent statement of the level of care consumers can expect from health service organisations. 

The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health provisions. 

“At the Orange Health Service we are committed to providing the best care to our patients. The NSQHS surveyors were impressed by the work we are doing at the hospital day in day out. 

“Thank you to all the staff including our volunteers at Orange for their dedication and enthusiasm in trying to find ways every day to improve the patient experience”. Owen said. 


Sep 26
Forbes please stand clear
The Forbes Health Service is urging the community to stand clear when the Medical Retrieval helicopters are landing and taking off at the Health Service. 

Lachlan Health Service’s Manager Liz Mitchell said, “The Medical Retrieval helicopters are an essential part of health care in rural & remote areas. 

“It can be exciting to watch the helicopters land or take off, but by-standers can put their safety, and the operation of the helicopters themselves, at risk if they’re standing too close. 

“The Helicopters are a fast and efficient means to transfer critically ill or injured patients to larger health facilities. It’s important we get patients into the helicopter and on their way to care as quickly as possible.

“The helicopters are heavy machinery and pose a safety risk to any people around the helipad during the landing or take-off procedure”.

The helipad is NOT public land. It is protected by the Inclosed Lands Protection Act 1901, Members of the public must not be within 20 metres of the edge of the helipad during landing or take-off and must not approach the helicopter until the rotor blades are at a standstill, and only with the Helicopter pilot’s consent. People can be charged with trespass if they interfere with the helipad and/or helicopter.

All vehicles must be parked at least 25 metres from the edge of the helipad. This restriction is clearly marked on the road.

The exclusion zone is to prevent injury to the helicopter crew and members of the public as the wind created during landing and take-off is very strong. Debris can also be sucked up into the rotor blades and cause damage to the helicopter which is a safety risk to the crew.

“We don’t want to see anyone suffer unnecessary injuries, so please follow the rules and keep yourself and others out of danger”. Liz said. 


Sep 25
Local health project selected to present at statewide showcase

The Western NSW Local Health District’s Nursing Education Team have been selected to present at the NSW Health Nursing and Midwifery Showcase in Sydney at the end of this month. 

The Cultural Package project recognises the important role played by overseas trained professionals in rural health, and helps support them when they start work with local health services. 

Executive Director of Quality, Clinical Safety and Nursing, Adrian Fahy said, “It is a credit to our Nursing Education team to be presenting at the Showcase. The Showcase highlights the projects and research that nurses and midwives are leading across NSW Health”. 

The Cultural Package project was formed after the Nursing Educator Team were consulted on issues regarding communication, team work and cultural awareness for new employees, especially those who were trained overseas. 

After consultation and research the, Cultural Package was developed, to help new employees transition successfully into their work and community environment. 

The Cultural Package is made up of five documents; The Cultural Handbook, Aussie Slang Guide, Phonetic Guide Medical and Nursing Teams, Nursing and Medical Terminology and the Didja Know Cultural Information and Communication Guide, from the WNSWLHD Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Directorate. 

WNSWLHD Virtual Outreach Clinical Nurse Educator, Kathryn Ainsworth said, “The aim of the Cultural Package was to develop a resource to support overseas trained employees joining the WNSWLHD”.

“The Cultural Package has been distributed to 60 overseas trained employees. The feedback has indicated that in particular it has helped them gain a better understanding of Aboriginal culture and the importance of Aboriginal health issues. 

“It has also resulted in improved communication and team work within the facilities as it gives the new employees a better understanding of their requirements within the workplace culture”. Kathryn said.  

“The Cultural Package gives new overseas trained staff a better understanding of our organisation, its CORE Values, beliefs and mission”. Adrian said. 

“The Cultural Package is now given to every overseas trained new employee in the WNSWLHD”.  

“The Cultural Package has valuable information to improve the spread of a positive workplace culture, leading to improved patient outcomes. Improve the awareness of our Aboriginal culture, our language and our communities, and to close the gap of cultural and communication barriers. 

“It is a credit to the team to have developed this package, but to also be sharing it with health professionals across the state at the Showcase”. Adrian concluded. 

Sep 24
WNSWLHD Aboriginal Health Symposium and Workforce Forum

More than 150 Aboriginal health workers will come together in Dubbo this week to focus on how the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) can continue its focus on improving Aboriginal health.

 

The Aboriginal Health Symposium and Workforce Forum will be held over three days in Dubbo the 24 – 26 September.

 

Executive Director Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing, Brendon Cutmore, said, “We have health workers from across the District, which extends from Oberon to Bourke, and from Cowra up to the Queensland border, coming together to spend three days focusing on improving the health and wellbeing of our Aboriginal population".

 

“The event is in line with our Western NSW Local Health District, Improving Aboriginal Health Strategy 2018 - 2023, launched last year.   

 

“We are committed to improving the health and wellbeing outcomes for our Aboriginal population by setting realistic goals that focus on improving the environment in which we deliver our services, the way we deliver these services and by strengthening our Aboriginal workforce".  Brendon said.

 

For the first time the Ngangkari Traditional Healers, will be attending our forum. The WNSWLHD has been hosting the Ngangkari Traditional Healers for the past two years across the Local Health District.

 

“It is very exciting that the healers will be able to attend and also offer their services to our staff.

 

“We will also be showcasing a number of home grown programs that the WNSWLHD has designed and delivered for our communities. Such as the women's BreastScreen clinics, the Marang Dhali Eating Well Program, focusing on nutrition and healthy lifestyles and the growing of our Aboriginal workforce.

 

Our partners from Bila Muuji Aboriginal Corporation Health Service Incorporated will discuss the outcomes from the Career Pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander National Research Project that was conducted across our region and supported by the Lowitja Institute.

 

“We will also have the pleasure of hearing from Australian Olympian, and former Senator, Nova Peris OAM".

 

“This is going to be a fantastic three day event, which will bring us closer to our aim of 'Closing the Aboriginal Health Gap', by influencing our environment and understanding of Aboriginal culture across the WNSWLHD". Brendon said. ​


Sep 24
Outstanding results for Bathurst Health Service
​Bathurst Health Service has received outstanding results during the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards accreditation. 

Bathurst Health Service General Manager, Cathy Marshall said, “This is a tribute to all the fabulous and hardworking staff and volunteers we have here at the Bathurst Health Service”. 

“We successfully meet all requirements of the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. This is even more impressive after an extremely busy period during the winter months. 

“I am extremely proud of all of our staff and volunteers. Their dedication, hard work and focus on high quality and safe patient care is second to none.

“The feedback we received is even better. The surveyors noted how enthusiastic the staff were and it was evident that all staff were proud to work at Bathurst”. Cathy said. 

The NSQHS Standards provide a nationally consistent statement of the level of care consumers can expect from health service organisations. 

The primary aims of the NSQHS Standards are to protect the public from harm and to improve the quality of health provisions. 

“At the Bathurst Health Service we are committed to providing the best care to our patients. The NSQHS surveyors were impressed by the work we are doing at the hospital day in day out. 

“They commented on the multidisciplinary approach to patient care, the positivity of staff members, the presentation of the hospital and the use of home care, where we do everything to keep our patients at home and comfortable rather than having to be in the hospital”. Cathy said. 

Thank you to all the staff including our volunteers at Bathurst for their dedication and enthusiasm in trying to find ways every day to improve the patient experience.

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No, this isn't actually my picture. I just haven't gotten around to updating this section. It's good to know that someone is reading every last word though. Thanks!