Sep 24

Four staff members from across the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) have been named as finalists at the 2018 Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards.

WNSWLHD Acting Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Clint Grose said, “We are so proud of the work our staff does. Our nurses and midwives are some of the best in the world and it's great to have them recognised".

Trish Casey is a finalist for the Excellence in Innovation – Education Award. Trish is a Manager of Clinical Education and Training within the Organisational Development Unit in WNSWLHD.

Trish was nominated for her exceptional management and communication skills and dedication to improving the quality of health care delivery.

Adrian Fahy, Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery for the WNSWLHD, is a finalist for the Excellence in Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander Healthcare Award.

Adrian was nominated for his dedication to rural people in NSW and his love and respect for Aboriginal people, their culture and improving healthcare outcomes.  

Alanna Tobey, from the Bourke Community Health Centre, is a finalist in the Excellence in Nursing/Midwifery Graduate Award.

When Alanna joined the Bourke Health Service as a second year postgraduate nurse, her potential was quickly recognised by management. Alanna has successfully completed her midwifery training requirements, balancing study, work and family.

Emily Pritchard is a finalist in the Excellence in Nursing – Enrolled Nurse award. Emily has been recognised as an integral part of the Turon House women's mental health rehabilitation program in Bloomfield Hospital in Orange. She is the leader of the Productive Mental Health Ward Program which has won two State awards.

By implementing improved processes, Emily is able to spend more time with patients and she has played a pivotal role in reducing aggression and boosting morale amongst clients and staff at Turon House.

Between mid 2012 and mid 2018 WNSWLHD has increased its workforce by an additional 278 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 5.8 per cent including 65 more doctors and 72 more nurses.​

The winners will be announced on 27 September. ​

Sep 21
Aboriginal Women’s Health Forum to be held in Dubbo
​As tens of thousands of people from across the State converge in Dubbo for the 48th Annual Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is teaming up with the Western NSW Primary​​ Health Network (PHN) to host a Women’s Forum on Friday 28 September. 

Keeping in line with this year’s NAIDOC theme “Because of her, we can” the forum will focus on inspirational women in the local area and women’s health. 

Acting Manager Aboriginal Health – Southern Sector, Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Directorate, Megan Smith said “This is a great opportunity to engage with Aboriginal women from across the State”. 

“This is much more than your average forum. The focus for the day is to promote inspirational women for our local area by facilitating a series of presentations with an opportunity for attendees to ask questions and interact.

“There will also be entertainment and fun activities relating to women’s health issues”. 

“We want to empower and recognise Aboriginal women and the role that they play in our communities as leaders”. 

Attendees will receive a small gift. However, those ladies who want to attend with have to secure a ticket to the free event. Tickets can be purchased through ticket123 online. 

Numbers for the event are capped at 120. 

“WNSWLHD is proud to be a part of this annual event and be able to provide a free, relaxed and informative service for both local and visiting women to the region”. Megan said. 

Event details 

Date: Friday 28 September 
Time: 1pm – 5 pm 
Location: Dubbo RSL Club 
Cost: Free 

Sep 19
It’s time to ‘Get Health’ with Nyngan Health Service
Staff at Nyngan Health Service are encouraging everyone to jump on board and ‘Get Healthy’, through the Get Healthy Information and Coaching Service. 

Nyngan Health Service Manager, Jenny Griffiths said, “It’s a free and confidential phone based service that helps people reach their health goals through small manageable steps”.

These might be as simple as getting active more often, or healthy eating. The service offers a minimum of 10 free calls with a friendly university qualified personal health coach over six months to help people achieve their goals. 

“If you are visiting your local health worker or doctor you can ask them to refer you. Simply getting some support might be all you need, and the first step toward achieving success!  Any change can be difficult to make and maintain”.

Health Promotion Officer Matilda Low said, “By joining the Get Healthy Service you are more likely to succeed in reaching and maintaining your goals and creating new healthy habits that you can sustain over a life time”.   

“Good health is key to enjoying a full and active life that we all deserve. The ‘Get Healthy’ service is able to help you do that”.

“Small changes can make a big difference to your health. Taking simple steps like drinking more water, and finding enjoyment in eating more fruit and vegetables can help you reduce the likelihood of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. It can help slow down the progress of existing ailments”, Jenny said.  

Don’t miss your opportunity to take the first step toward a healthier lifestyle. 

Drop into Nyngan Health Service and ask for Bernadette Holmes or Stacey Casey who can refer you to the Get Healthy Service. Alternatively simply call the Get Healthy Service on 1300 806 258. 

For more information visit the website the Get Healthy website​

Sep 18
Putting the spotlight on our Community Nurses
This week across the Western NSW Local Health District, we are celebrating our dedicated and hardworking community nurses, during Community & Primary Health Care Nursing Week 17 – 23 September. 

This week is about raising awareness of the current and potential contribution of community and primary health care nursing to the health care system. 

Acting Director of Nursing and Midwifery Clinton Grose said, “Community and Primary health Carers week is important to Western NSW LHD, as it’s a celebration of the incredibly important role that these fabulous clinicians do for our community, and is especially significant as our health district, due to the vast rural and remote areas we service. The week highlights the positive impact on the wellbeing of individuals and those in our local communities who rely on community nurses and primary health carers”.

“We are extremely fortunate across the WNSWLHD to have some of the very best working in and caring for those in our communities”. 

Across the LHD we have more than 160 Primary and Community Health nurses providing patient centred care from 44 health facilities to over 50,000 clients. 

“Community nurses are a creative, innovative, and responsive group of professionals, meeting the health needs of many patients within their own community. They empower people to change lifestyles and also provide holistic care to people in their homes. By working in partnership with, and recognising the strengths of families and communities, community nurses seek to foster a sense of self-determination and empowerment of patients.”

Community nursing is becoming its own specialty – providing more complex care and being more responsive to patients’ needs. 

This valuable group of nurses are adapting to an ever changing work space, embracing more contemporary models of care and broadening the types of services available.   

To hear from local patients about their community nurses, watch here.

Sep 17
Perfect Presentation at the Rural Health and Research Congress
​Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) staff have showcased outstanding local achievements at the 7th Rural Health and Research Congress in Tamworth. 

In line with the Congress’ 2018 theme ‘Beyond distance and diagnosis’, the WNSWLHD Maternity Service presented  the innovative concept of “Grown our Own”, a sustainable Midwifery Workforce Solution. 

Presenter and Clinical Midwifery Consultant Tammy O’Connor said ““Our Local Health District covers such vast distances including regional rural and remote areas which poses significant challenges to our health services, women who access our service and in particular the rural and remote midwifery workforce.  

Women seeking maternity care can sometimes be disadvantaged when living in rural and remote locations, Western NSW LHD is committed to increasing access to quality community based antenatal and postnatal services.  

To increase the number of skilled midwives working and living in rural and remote areas, something had to change Tammy said.  “It made sense to provide local training opportunities for staff wishing to become a midwife”.  
Alison Loudon, Co-Presenter and District Manager, Maternity Strategies commented“ For this to occur, we  had to step away from the traditional hospital-based model and were the first in NSW to trial a student midwife within a community based rural non-birthing location.  Through partnerships with birthing facilities within and external to our LHD, we were able to ensure the student completed all of the clinical and university requirements associated with registration as a midwife.

“We have had great success with this trial, seeing the student graduating and now working rural and remote as a permanently employed Registered Midwife. In addition to our workforce solution, the women within the rural and remotes areas have identified experiencing a positive pregnancy journey, stating they felt emotionally and socially supported.

The results also recognised women were more engaged with the maternity service as increased numbers of women were receiving comprehensive assessments before 14 weeks gestation, more women are quitting smoking during their pregnancies and increasing numbers of women are breastfeeding their babies upon discharge from hospital.

Not only has this program been successful for our LHD, but it also won the Agency for Clinical Innovation, Rural Health Innovation Award for Concurrent Presentation at the Congress. 

The winning didn’t finish there, the WNSWLHD Aboriginal Maternal Infant Health Service and Health Promotion Team won the Judges Choice Poster award for their Quit for New Life poster. 

“We know the fabulous things our staff are doing across the Local Health District, but to be recognised at the Congress is a fantastic boost. We are so proud of our staff for their dedication and commitment to improving health in rural and regional NSW.” Julie said. 

Sep 12
Local Health District celebrates successful quarter in latest report
​The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) again experienced a busy April – June 2018 quarter in emergency departments and for elective surgery. 
In total, 44,959 emergency patients presented to WNSWLHD Emergency Departments, including 182 cases requiring resuscitation and 4,570 in the Emergency category. Increases in both of these categories suggest the continued improvement of local hospitals to handle complex emergency cases, rather than being transferred to metropolitan facilities.

Chief Executive of the WNSWLHD, Scott McLachlan, said the LHD was continuing to perform well in key areas. 

“It’s a priority for the WNSWLHD that we get patients to the facility which is best placed to address their health needs as quickly as possible, and that we provide that care as close to where they live as possible. 

“We can see that more complex emergency work is being done in the LHD, which is a strong indicator of the maturing of the services we provide locally.

“At the same time, our hospitals are responding well to the increasing demand for elective surgery.

“These are results our staff should be justifiably proud of,” said Mr McLachlan. 

The median time taken to transfer care from ambulance to hospital staff improved slightly to 10 minutes, and 92.5 per cent of patients had their care transferred within the 30 minute benchmark. This was a 3 percentage point improvement on the same quarter last year, and above the state average.

There were 2,868 elective surgery procedures performed in the LHD’s hospitals, an increase of 176, or 6.5 per cent compared to the same period last year. The District had an outstanding result of delivering 99.3 per cent of those procedures within clinically recommended times.

The 2018-19 budget for WNSWLHD is over $941 million, an increase of over $40 million on the 2017-18 annualised budget.

Between mid-2012 and mid-2018 WNSWLHD has increased its workforce by an additional 278 full time equivalent staff – an increase of 5.8 per cent including 65 more doctors and 72 more nurses.

In 2018-19 the NSW Government is investing a record $22.9 billion in health, representing a $1.1 billion increase over the 2017-18 Budget. This includes $19.2 billion towards improving services in hospitals in NSW this year. 

Bathurst Hospital

Staff responded well to substantial increases in the highest urgency classifications of emergency department presentations. Compared to the same quarter last year, there were 178 more patients in the Resuscitation and Emergency categories treated in the Bathurst ED, up 47.6 per cent and 30.6 per cent respectively.

Despite this growing demand, the proportion of patients whose treatment started on time improved by 1.1 percentage point, and the median time taken to transfer patients from an ambulance to the hospital was less than 10 minutes.  

General Manager at Bathurst, Cathy Marshall, said a number of strategies have been put in place to maintain a strong performance in the emergency department, including utilising nurse practitioners and focusing on transferring patients safely and efficiently through ED and wards.

Bathurst Hospital also had an increase of more than six per cent in the number of elective surgical procedures in the quarter, up to 499 with 98.9 per cent performed on time. 

Cowra Hospital 

Cowra Hospital experienced a decrease in emergency presentations. 90 per cent of patients commenced their treatment within clinically recommended times.  

The hospital performed 151 elective surgeries overall compared to last year, an increase of 20.8 per cent. 100 per cent of elective surgeries were performed on time.

Dubbo Hospital

Dubbo Hospital experienced a slight reduction of one per cent in the number of emergency presentations, and there was a significant increase of 4.6 percentage points of patients who started their ED treatment on time.

Dubbo Health Service General Manager, Debra Bickerton said permanent increases in emergency department staffing had helped achieve reductions in the time taken to commence treatment across all emergency department categories during the quarter. 

Dubbo Hospital performed 1,018 elective surgeries in the period, up 15.8 per cent from the same quarter last year, with 98.7 per cent of all elective surgeries performed on time. There were substantial reductions in the median waiting time for patients needing cataract surgery or total hip or total knee replacements, demonstrating the impact of the Government’s additional funding for surgery. 

Forbes Hospital

Forbes Hospital experienced an overall reduction of more than six per cent in emergency department presentations, however there were substantial increases in the urgent and semi-urgent categories, up by 13 people to 16.7 per cent and 91 people to 14.3 per cent respectively. The proportion of patients starting their treatment on time was 87.2 per cent. 

There were improvements in the time taken for patients to leave the ED, including 93 per cent of patients leaving the ED within four hours of presentation, a result of both reduced presentations and admissions to hospital and the utilisation of a Clinical Nurse Specialist to review patients who are re-presenting to the emergency department. 

Forbes performed 87 elective surgeries, similar to the same period last year with 100 per cent of elective surgery performed on time.

Mudgee Hospital

Emergency presentations remained relatively stable at Mudgee Hospital. The hospital performed 140 elective surgeries, with 100 per cent performed on time.

Orange Health Service

Emergency presentations at Orange increased by 2.1 per cent in the quarter, with the number of resuscitation cases treated at Orange increasing by nearly 40 per cent compared to the same period last year.
The hospital performed 876 elective surgeries, with 99.9 per cent performed on time.

Sep 10
M.A.S.T.E.R Program in Walgett
​For the first time the Male.Assessment.Screening.Talking.Education.Referral (MASTER) Program is being held in Walgett specifically for Aboriginal men. 

The program is aimed at improving the health of Aboriginal men by increasing their access to medical professionals, services and programs across the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD). 

It will be run over three days, 11 - 13 September and will provide a number of opportunities for working men to participate. 

Aboriginal Primary Health Worker Andrew Carroll said, “We will be providing a number of different health services to the men over the three days.”

“We will be offering diabetes, renal, sexual/reproductive health, hearing and vision screening, social and emotional wellbeing, alcohol and drugs, and help to quit smoking services”.

Male health workers from across the WNSWLHD will be offering the services, from the screening, providing education and where necessary providing referrals to participants in a friendly and relaxed way. 

There will be around 10 stations for the men to visit and if they attend at least five, they will receive a voucher for a meat pack from a local butcher for their participation.

Aboriginal men from across the Walgett region are being urged to attend the relaxed and laid back program. 

The MASTERs program was also held in Coonabarabran in June this year. 

Event Information 

Tuesday 11 September 
​4 pm – 7 pm
​Walgett RSL Club, Fox St
Wednesday 12 September 
​9 am 3 pm
5 pm – 7 pm 
​Walgett RSL Club, Fox St
Thursday 13 September 
​9 am – 3 pm 
Walgett RSL Club, Fox St

Sep 10
Management of Adults with Eating Disorders
​More than 100 doctors, nurse and health workers, will be taking part in a specialised training day looking at the management of adults with eating disorders. 

Four clinicians from the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Peter Beumont Unit Specialist Unit will provide the training for local staff from across the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD). 

WNSWLHD Eating Disorder Coordinator Meg Vickery said, “There has been a 62% increase in the number of eating disorder admissions in WNSWLHD hospitals in the 2016/17 financial year”. 

The WNSWLHD Service Plan for People with Eating Disorders 2016-2020 provides advice on the hospital admission of people for medical stabilisation and nutritional rehabilitation. 

“Training clinicians across the district from both hospitals and mental health inpatient facilities is essential in order to meet this strategic initiative”. 

The inpatient management of adults with eating disorders training includes;

Starvation, malnutrition and the brain
Skills in managing complex eating disorder behaviour
Team cohesion and providing effective treatment
Trauma and eating disorders
Managing psychiatric risk
Meal support/ 1:1 nursing
Therapeutic alliance and managing distress
Involuntary treatment (MH Act)
Refeeding and weight restoration.
“Eating disorders are potentially fatal illnesses, with one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness. Eating disorders can affect anyone, at any time in their lives.

“We know people with eating disorders can make a full recovery with the right treatment and sustained support. 
“Training days like these for our LHD are vital so we can provide the best level of care to our patients regardless of their location.”

Sep 06
Hanging up the Health Councillor Cap after 26 years
​After 26 years on the Trundle Health Council, Rene Capell is calling it a day. 

Rene has been a vocal advocate for the community she loves and has been involved with hospital committees since 1992. Including being a on the consultation committee when the old Trundle hospital was being considered to be redeveloped as into a Multipurpose Service (MPS). 

It was one of the first MPS’s to be established in the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD). In 1999, Rene was the Chair of the newly formed Trundle Health Council for 15 years, after stepping down from the Chair role, she still remained a very active member for the Health Council. 

Acting Health Service Manager for Trundle Martin Cushing said, “Rene is a valued member of our health and wider Trundle community. Her passion and enthusiasm is going to be missed by the Health Council Members”. 

There are 37 Health Councils across the LHD and each Health Council is affiliated with their local Health Service. 

Their role includes bringing local health needs to the attention of the health service. Participating in the planning and evaluation of the health services. Promoting and improving the health of the local community in partnership with others and developing and strengthening their networks across the community. 

If you are interested in joining Trundle Health Council or would like more information please contact Illona Dunn, Manager Community Engagement, Western NSW Local Health District on 6378 6274 or email 

Sep 04
Messaging system now used in perioperative services at Bathurst Hospital
​Bathurst Hospital perioperative service is going digital using a message media system to contact its patients about their upcoming surgery.

Bathurst Perioperative Service Nurse Manager, Kylie Peers said that with the majority of patients having a mobile service, using text messaging was an effective way of keeping patients informed, and helping the hospital to plan its surgical lists.

“Text messages will be received by patients who have provided a mobile number and have agreed to participate in the test messaging service”. 

The messaging system will be used to: 

Confirm surgery dates or arrange postponements 
Check if colonoscopy patients understand how to prepare for their procedure
Check that patients are well and don’t have any injuries that could complicate joint surgery 
Make arrangements to give patients information about fasting instructions or other action they need to take before surgery
Communicate with patients about whether they still need to have surgery. 

“General messages may also be sent to specific individual patients when required. 

“It’s hoped the system will reduce the amount of time patients spend trying to contact the perioperative services and improve our service delivery”.  Kylie said. 

The perioperative messaging system is being used across the Western NSW Local Health District to improve surgical services. 

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