Year in Review 2021

NSW Health WSLHD Year in Review 2021


We Acknowledge Western Sydney Local Health District acknowledges the first people of the land. The overarching Aboriginal nation in Western Sydney is the Darug nation. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge the significance of land, water, spirit, kinship and culture, and the importance that these elements have to the health, well-being and future of the Aboriginal community.




Our Board


Our Executive


Bright future at Westmead Health Precinct

Moving into Westmead’s 14-storey health tower 9


Building our staff culture


Our Staff


Vaccinating Western Sydney

01 02 03




Our Patients and Community


Staff Numbers 2020/21




Our Health


Doing the numbers


District Achievements




Westmead Hospital


Westmead Hospital Key Activities



Auburn Hospital

Auburn Hospital Key Activities 2020/21



Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals


Blacktown Hospital Key Activities



Mount Druitt Hospital Key Activities






Mental Health (Cumberland Hospital)


Drug Health


Oral Health


Allied Health


Aboriginal Health


Integrated and Community Health


Population Health Key Activities 2020/21





Digital Health and Patient Safety


Research and Education Network


Glossary and References

Artwork by Leanne Tobin. Leanne’s artwork reflects the vibrancy and transitional motions of the dragon-flies as they move through their journey of life.

Opposite Local Mount Druitt Aboriginal Dancer group “Garabara” performing at NAIDOC week flag raising event. Held at Mount Druitt Hospital Aborginial Health Unit.

A word from the Chief Executive

Above WSLHD Board Chair Richard Alcock AO and Chief Executive Graeme Loy at the official opening of the Central Acute Services Building.

When 2020 came to a close, we thought it was a year never to be repeated. 2021 may have proved those predictions wrong but our health heroes stepped up again, this time to an even greater challenge.

Frontline workers from across Western Sydney worked exceptionally hard to vaccinate Sydneysiders against a virus that has claimed so many lives around the world. Our incredible vaccination clinics at Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals were only the beginning, before Qudos Bank Arena Vaccination Centre , the biggest vaccination centre in the State, delivered over 360,000 doses. On its busiest day, it administered an astonishing 26 doses per minute, helping contribute to our vaccination milestones – both in Western Sydney and across NSW. Our vaccination outreach program helped vaccinate vulnerable and priority populations at churches, temples, homeless shelters and even meat processing facilities. We partnered with Kimberwalli, the Aboriginal Centre for Excellence in Whalan, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to get vaccinated in a culturally safe, welcoming place.

The unknowns of a global pandemic rivalled with the dedication and sacrifice of our District; proof of what we were capable of in the most difficult of circumstances. Western Sydney was the epicentre of the Delta outbreak – a more devastating and virulent strain of the virus, which put subsequent pressure on our health system like we have never seen before. Our incredible staff tackled COVID-19 – through testing, treating and vaccination. Public squares became testing clinics, our hospitals transformed both wards and their models of care, and places – from community halls to concert arenas – became vaccination centres. In the face of the most difficult circumstances, the Western Sydney community proved the doubters wrong – they stepped up, rolled up their sleeves and were vaccinated in astonishing numbers to protect themselves, their loved ones, and our entire community.

Thank you to every single frontline worker who continually showed up to work in our hospitals, testing clinics and vaccination centres during the height of the pandemic. These efforts, and the willingness of the Western Sydney community, helped keep our community safe, control the spread of COVID-19, and helped re-open our State. At the same time, our resilience and versatility came to the fore as we improved services, increased our commitment to research, looked after our staff, and planned for the future of healthcare. We opened the Central Acute Services Building as the development of the $1.1 billion Westmead Health Precinct continued. As part of the new building, Westmead Hospital opened its elite trauma service – a dedicated ward to care for patients with multiple life- threatening injuries. The new Cultural Gathering Place was unveiled to local



“Thank you to every single frontline worker who continually showed up to work in our hospitals, testing clinics and vaccination centres during the height of the pandemic.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders and the community alike. It’s a space designed in consultation with local Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal Liaison officers to serve as a safe space for reflection and education for all hospital visitors. We unveiled a leisure and recreation hub for mental health consumers at Cumberland Hospital along with the refurbished Merrylands HealthOne community health centre. Work has commenced on significant upgrades to our mental health facilities at Blacktown Hospital while construction is set to begin a purpose- built Mother and Baby Unit at Westmead Hospital – the second of its kind in the State for pregnant women and new mothers experiencing mental illness. At the heart of our District’s work is care. From assisting local residential aged care facilities with their COVID-19 response, to a ‘Share the Dignity’ vending machine in Auburn Hospital’s ED for women experiencing period poverty, we are always there for the community when they need us most. Our commitment to research is stronger than ever with the appointment of our first District Director of Research, and successful grants covering every area of health from heart regeneration and liver cancer to parental health literacy and phage therapy. Seeing our researchers look to the future of medicine, locally and globally, is a testament to their brilliant minds and their desire to bring about breakthroughs which would otherwise be unimaginable. While our work may not stop, we can take the time to stop and reflect on those who have made our District as successful as we are. It’s one of the reasons I am proud we launched our culture program, ‘Our Place Our People’ , along with the introduction of the ‘Years of Service’ awards. As we become a more inclusive and welcoming place to work, we will continue with change-making programs such as our Disability and Inclusion Action Plan and ‘Respect the Difference’ training. None of these achievements would be possible without the incredible work of the people who have made them happen. I could not be prouder of our staff and want to thank them for everything they do each day for the people of Western Sydney. 2021 has truly been a year like no other and while we can’t predict what 2022 will be like, I know Western Sydney Local Health District and its health heroes can manage, confront, and overcome any challenge we might be faced with.

Above, from top Chief Executive Graeme Loy, Operations Manager COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Bernadette Wykes, Physiotherapist Nerissa Grebert, Client Relations Management Officer Saskia Hartog, COVID-19 Vaccination Program Admin Manager Louise Weston. Chief Executive Graeme Loy, Director Aboriginal Health Strategy Braiden Abala and Aboriginal Elder Uncle Wesley Marne at the Westmead Central Acute Services Building smoke ceremony.

Graeme Loy Chief Executive Western Sydney Local Health District


WSLHD Board *

The members of the WSLHD Board are appointed by the NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research for a term of up to four years.

Mr Richard Alcock AO (Chair)

Ms Loretta Di Mento (Deputy Chair)

Mr Andrew Bernard

Ms Narelle Bell

Professor Michael Edye

Professor Donald Nutbeam

Professor Diana O’Halloran AO

Dr Keith Hartman AM MB, BS, (Syd), FRCOG, FRANZCOG

EX OFFICIO The following ex-officio Board

members participate in agenda items relating to their areas of expertise:

Mr Graeme Loy Mr Barry Mitrevski Dr Mark Priestley Dr Emma McCahon Ms Caroline Farmer Ms Alison Derrett

Adjunct Professor Debra Thoms

Adjunct Professor Michael (Mick) Reid AM

RESPONSIBILITIES OF OUR BOARD AND CHIEF EXECUTIVE INCLUDE: • Improving local patient and population health outcomes and responding to issues; • Ensuring services are provided efficiently and responsibly; • Production of annual reports that are subject to state financial

• Delivering services and monitoring the performance of WSLHD against measures in the local health district service agreement including an agreed budget based on annual strategic and operating plans;

accountability and audit frameworks; • Maintaining effective communication with local and state public health stakeholders.


*As at November 16 2021


Executive Leadership Team

The members of the Executive Leadership Team support the Chief Executive to lead, direct and coordinate the operations and performance of WSLHD.

Director People and Culture Luci Caswell DipAppSc (Nursing), GradCert (Emergency Nursing), MHA A/General Manager Auburn Hospital Amanda Green BNg, EMPA, DipHlthServMgt, DipHlthSysMgt General Manager Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals Ned Katrib BBus (Hons), MPA Executive Director Medical Services Dr Emma McCahon MBBS, FRACP (Paed), MBA Director Finance Barry Mitrevski BComm (Econ), DipAcc, MBA, CPA Executive Director Mental Health Services Professor Vlasios (Bill) Brakoulias MB BS (Hons), MPsychiatry, FRANZCP, Cert Psychotherapies, PhD Addiction Staff Specialist and Service

Executive Director Operations Alison Derrett BSocWk MBA (HlthServMgt) Chief Digital Health Officer Dr Christina Igasto MSc, PhLic, PhD CompSc (Healthcare) General Manager Oral Health Brad Ceely BNg, MNg Chief Executive Graeme Loy MBA (Hlth) Director Aboriginal Health Strategy Braiden Abala B/BehSc, MHealth, IntDevel Director Redevelopment and Infrastructure Matt Sydenham MBA (SGSM), DipBA (WSU), DipASc (USyd) Director Nursing & Midwifery, and Clinical Governance Caroline Farmer RN, Cert Coronary Care, BHlthSc, MHlthServMgt, EMPA, GAICD

General Manager Integrated & Community Health Jasmin Ellis BSc, BHlthSc (Paramedicine)

Director Allied Health Jacqueline Dominish

BAppSC (Occupational Therapy), Cert IV (Education and Training), MHM Director Office of the Chief Executive Tiffany Sly BAppPsych, MAppAnth Director Corporate Communications Sia Anthopoulos BComn (Public Relations) A/General Manager Westmead Hospital Jenelle Matic BNg (Hons), Grad Cert (Critical Care Nursing) MBA

Director Robert Graham MB BS (USyd) FAChAM



Key Stats

With a current workforce of 20,000 , the Westmead Health Precinct is destined to be one of the largest health precincts in the world, employing 50,000 health professionals and researchers by 2036 , making it an economic powerhouse and a key provider of jobs for the Western Sydney region. Western Sydney is one of the State’s fastest growing areas with more than 1.3 million residents estimated by 2031 . Westmead Health Precinct comprises over 400,000m² of high end health related developments, including four major hospitals, five world leading medical research institutes, two university campuses and the largest research intensive pathology service in New South Wales. Westmead has the second highest percentage of residents with a postgraduate degree in Sydney, at 26.3% .

Above The new Westmead Hospital Central Acute Services Building.

Bright Future at Westmead Health Precinct Our vision for the Westmead Health Precinct is to bring together global innovators united in a common purpose to harness world leading services, research and innovation and achieve life changing health outcomes. The Westmead Health Precinct is one of the largest health, education, research and training precincts in Australia and a key provider of jobs for the greater Parramatta and Western Sydney region. Our mission is to transform health outcomes for everyone through cutting edge innovation, progressive research and collaborative partnerships with real impact. Westmead is a flagship for highly specialised and integrated health, research, education and innovation and a major lever for economic stimulus. This year a governance committee was established across the Precinct partners Western Sydney Local Health District, Sydney Children’s Hospital Network, Children’s Medical Research Institute and the Westmead Institute for Medical Research) with Office of Health and Medical Research and Health Infrastructure as key partners. This group provides the strategy and alignment for the precinct and how it aligns with the broader government agenda.

2000+ research projects each year 1500+ research personnel (researchers, staff & students) across the precinct $155M+ in grant funding 2019/2020 FY up to 1000 clinical trials taking place at one time.

3000+ active clinical trials over 30 patents in therapeutics, medical devices and diagnostics contract clinical trials active for 100+ industry partners $28M+ in shared research equipment.

Westmead Health Precinct delivers over $1.9 billion in public healthcare to 946,000 people across more than 120 suburbs spanning 780 square kilometres.

85,531 annual admissions 3000 daily non admitted patient occasions of service 32,767 annual surgeries 128,307 annual emergency department presentations.



Honouring Our Ancestors at Westmead Local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders caught their first glimpse of Westmead Health Precinct’s new Cultural Gathering Place. Welcomed to inspect the forecourt gardens of the Central Acute Services Building (CASB) by Western Sydney Local WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy Director Braiden Abala, the Elders felt an instant sense of belonging and connection to culture in the hospital environment. Designed to ensure a safe and welcoming place for all people, Country and kinship, the space features four art projects – Tools of Knowledge, All That Remains, Mudinga and Sound of Water. The art infuses the garden with sight and sound direct from Parramatta River to help celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and its connection to land and water. An adjacent room also offers a quiet space for family and friends of patients. WSLHD Aboriginal Health Strategy Director Braiden Abala said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients were five times more likely to discharge themselves against medical advice than other patients and hopes the Cultural Gathering Place will help reduce this statistic.

Right, from top Aboriginal Elder Aunty Stella Cunningham. Aboriginal Liaison Officer Narelle Holden, Red Cross Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Social Support Worker Vicki Lonsdale- Micallef and Aboriginal Elder Pauline Stockham visiting the Cultural Gathering Place.

Above, from left NSW Health Secretary Elizabeth Koff and WSLHD Chief Executive Graeme Loy at the opening of the new Westmead Hospital Central Acute Services Building. The official opening included a tour of the new 14-storey building.

Moving into Westmead’s 14-storey Health Tower

More operating theatres, patient rooms and world-class services, including two new emergency departments, are all part of the clinical tower that officially opened in March this year. It is the highest health building in Australia and is the stunning centrepiece of the more than $1 billion Westmead Health Precinct redevelopment. The building at the centre of the Precinct was awarded the 2020 Health Project of The Year at the annual Boomtown! Property & Infrastructure Summit at the International Convention Centre, Darling Harbour in December 2020. Key features of the new Central Acute Services Building include: Two new emergency departments — one for adults and one for children; 25 digital operating theatres; more than 300 patient overnight beds; and 1.5 floors for the University of Sydney to further integrate education, research, and health services.

Staff and services began relocating to the new Central Acute Services Building in February with both the adult and children’s emergency departments now open and combined as the largest emergency services hub in NSW. Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Chief Executive Graeme Loy said the opening of the building was a proud day for Western Sydney, saying it was an exciting step in the evolution of Westmead Health Precinct. The official opening included the unveiling of an official building plaque and a tour of the new 14-storey building for members of the NSW Government. NSW Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard said the collaboration between Westmead Hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney meant patients would receive cutting-edge treatment and care.


Above WSLHD Multicultural Health Community Educator Officer Ngatho Mugo.

Building Our Staff Culture Amidst all the pandemic activity, our Culture team has enjoyed a positive year with many positive changes. A Flexible Working Policy has been released to support our employees. WSLHD promotes flexible working, acknowledging the different needs and preferences employees may have with respect to how they work.

We successfully launched the WSLHD Culture Statement ‘Our Place Our People’ this year, with immediate priorities in the areas of Leadership, Behaviours and Communication, which was supported by a communication pack and associated branding. We started to develop a district wide reward and recognition framework as well, commencing with the launch of our ‘Years of Service’ recognition award, and the subsequent recognition of over 10,000 staff. We continued our work in the areas of cultural capability, with the Disability and Inclusion Action Plan developed ready for launch. We implemented new processes for self-reporting, and commenced a new program called ‘Ask the Question’ to help staff engage with the Aboriginal Community on their personal preferences on service needs. We also continued our ‘Respect the Difference’ training across the district.

Our People and Culture team supported significant resourcing changes in the COVID-19 response including establishing and resourcing testing clinics, entry screening stations, managing temporary service closures and the effective redeployment of staff, surge planning, red and amber wards, new COVID-in-the-community services, vulnerable healthcare worker risk assessments, working from home arrangements and COVID-19 workforce advice. The WSLHD Organisational Restructure was also completed in early 2021. Successful consultation with staff and unions led to the implementation of a district wide Clinical Network structure supporting the development of clinical specialties, while allowing each facility or service to remain focussed on the operational aspects of healthcare delivery.



Above, from left Deputy Director of Emergency Medicine Dr Kavita Varshney. Reg Nurse Eric Vuong. Patient Services Assistant Ravi Kulathilaka. Colorectal Surgeon Dr Toufic El-Khoury. Paediatric Fellow Dr Neela Sitaram. Hospital Assistant Eloisa Catingub. Hospital Assistant Megha Patel. Nurse Unit Manager Vinka Vargas. Medical Officer Rashmi Weeraratne. Security Officer Jason Noonan. Medical Officer Dr Roberto Gennari. Acting Nurse Unit Manager Christine Hutabarat.


Our Staff

WSLHD Staff were provided with a rostered 2-hour leave window to allow them to get their vaccinations during work hours to meet COVID-19 Vaccination Compliance. A Wellness Hub Portal was also launched to support staff. The Hub includes a curated list of resources around key topics like resilience, guided mindfulness meditation, practical team wellness sessions, staying connected, keeping active, stress and anxiety, and positive relationships. We have 30 trained staff in Mental Health First Aid who formed a network to support staff across the District and RUOK Day activities were also promoted across the hospitals.

Above Surgeon Dr Amy Hort, Senior Transplant and Hepatobiliary Surgeon Professor Henry Pleass, Surgeon Dr Peter Yoon and Surgeon Dr Taina Lee.

Below, from top Director People and Culture Luci Caswell at the Westmead Vaccination Hub. General Services Staff Cleaner Codie Fuller, Porter Darrin Smith and Cleaner Jade Hookey.

2020/2021 KEY STATS





Professor Jacob George. Image: Cancer Council NSW.

Renowned Liver Physician Professor Jacob George was named as the third recipient of the illustrious Sally Crossing AM Award in April from the Cancer Council NSW for his work studying liver disease and liver cancer. The Sally Crossing AM Award recognises outstanding achievement in cancer research, particularly research that includes consumer involvement. Prof George is a world leader in hepatology and continues to run significant research projects into fatty liver disease and liver cancer. He is also a leading mind in Westmead Health Precinct as Head of the Westmead Hospital Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Chair of Hepatic Medicine at Sydney Medical School, and Director of the Storr Liver Centre at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research. Liver cancer is one of the top 10 causes of cancer death in Australia, with a low survival rate and high rate of recurrence. Prof George’s work aims to understand what drives liver disease and liver cancer to develop preventative strategies or treatments that cure the disease. What began at Westmead Hospital now involves 40 academic institutions in 15 countries around the world. Australia is on track to eliminate Hepatitis C by 2030, and Hepatitis B is now treatable. Thanks to the achievements of Prof. George and his team, 1,325 patients receive annual check-ups, which has led to the earlier detection of 106 cancers so far. 487 patients with Hepatitis B are part of the nurse- led GP program, delivering optimal and convenient treatment while reducing the burden on the hospital system.

Above Nurse Sharon Hausler working at C3C COVID-19 ward Westmead Hospital.

With the emergence of global infectious diseases such as COVID-19, there is a need for health workers to be able to work safely and be well protected against the exposure of airborne infectious agents. We have implemented a robust Respiratory Protection Program across the District’s hospitals and speciality services as part of the larger statewide Respiratory Protection Program lead by the Clinical Excellence Commission. Our facilities have established ongoing respirator fit testing provisions for our health workers. The fit testing method determines the brand, size and type of respirator that achieves an adequate seal on an individual’s face, protecting our health workers who perform their roles in high-risk patient care areas or where suspected or confirmed COVID-19 or airborne precautions are required. This has contributed greatly to the ongoing improvements in the safe use of respirator masks and their management, resulting in health workers that are well protected and feel protected as they provide safe and quality care to our patients.


50,000+ doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were administered across the Westmead and Blacktown Hospital Clinics in May

49,000 vaccinations made avaliable to eligible authorised workers fromWestern and South Western Sydney in mid-to-late August

We responded rapidly to the 2021 COVID-19 outbreak, opening vaccination clinics at Westmead and Blacktown Hospital and shortly afterwards, at Qudos Bank Arena. A streamlined recruitment process took place thanks to tireless commitment from staff and partnerships with Randstad Source Right recruitment agency, The Health Education and Training Institute (HETI) and Qantas, screening and onboarding over 2200 staff to the Qudos facility. January 24 marked the 1st Anniversary since the first patient was treated for COVID-19 at Westmead Hospital. Since then, some monumental milestones have been achieved. Westmead Hospital was one of the first vaccination clinics to open in NSW when the vaccine rollout for frontline workers began in February 2021. We then opened a second vaccination clinic at Blacktown Hospital as the district continued to vaccinate tens of thousands of eligible people. With the addition of the Qudos Arena Vaccination Hub, an additional 120,000 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine were administered later in the year. Prior to the Delta wave, Residential Aged Care Facilities and Disability Group Homes in Western Sydney had not had a COVID-19 outbreak. Our support to Residential Aged Care Facilities and Disability Group Homes during COVID-19 outbreaks included daily governance meetings with the facilities, NSW Health, Commonwealth Aged Care, and Australian Quality and Safety Commission; on-site infection prevention control assessments; rapid delivery of personal protective equipment (PPE); coordination of on-site COVID-19 testing of residents and staff; the deployment of nursing staff to fill roster vacancies; contact tracing and case interviews; and on site vaccinations in conjunction with support from the Commonwealth. Medical specialists from our District who supported COVID-19 outbreaks at Residential Aged Care Facilities and Disability Group Homes included geriatric, palliative care, renal medicine and infectious disease experts. Residential Aged Care Facilities were further supported to reduce COVID-19 impacts by the running of weekly Public Health webinars, including “Lessons Learnt” webinars, which included Vaccinating Western Sydney

15,390 year 12 students given first dose

400,000+ COVID-19 tests performed in community clinics across Western Sydney 31+ COVID-19 testing clinics open in Western Sydney during the 2020-21 financial year 41 Aged Care and Disability Home outbreaks managed in Western Sydney from 29 June to 28 October 2021

500,000+ COVID-19 vaccinations delivered by WSLHD



Westmead welcomed local celebrity Kyle Sandilands to receive his vaccinations and launch #GetVaxxedBaby #1 FM breakfast radio host Kyle Sandilands received his first COVID-19 vaccination at the Westmead Hospital Vaccination Clinic in June this year as eligible people across Western Sydney and NSW received their vaccination doses. He also rolled up his sleeve again for his 2nd vaccination, with the hope that the publicity would encourage eligible adults to #GetVaxxedBaby.

Above, from left WSLHD Outreach COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Gallipoli Mosque Auburn. Patient Athar Gohar and Medical Officer Dr Zarza Rashidi at WSLHD Outreach COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Gallipoli Mosque Auburn. Reg Nurse Shirin Al Rabii and Patient Hacer Korkut at WSLHD Outreach COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic Gallipoli Mosque Auburn.

Western Sydney Local Health District COVID-19 Outreach Vaccination Team provided COVID-19 vaccinations to vulnerable and priority populations across Western Sydney. Amongst many community events, our Outreach teams visited the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque in June 2021, and the Kimberwalli Vaccination Centre opened its doors to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in September 2021. The WSLHD COVID-19 Outreach Vaccination Team returned to the Auburn Gallipoli Mosque in July for recipients in the Turkish-Australian community to get their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which included refugee groups, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, people with a disability and people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness. The Kimberwalli Vaccination Centre ensured priority groups had access to COVID-19 vaccination in culturally appropriate settings and was open to eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fromWestern Sydney and their families and household members, aged 12 and up. A Yarning space was available to guide people through the consent process and staff who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander provided information about vaccination.

presentations from staff of Residential Aged Care Facilities who had just experienced an outbreak. Aged Care and Hospital In The Home COVID-19 Programs were rolled out to care for our most vulnerable members of the community. In August 2020, we formed a Residential Aged Care Facility COVID-19 Outbreak Preparedness Taskforce to review and assess the Outbreak Management Plans of all facilities within Western Sydney. This included site visits to 62 Residential Aged Care Facilities across the district to review current outbreak management processes and plans. Formal feedback was given to the facilities to support their outbreak management processes. Integrated & Community Health developed a comprehensive model of care for COVID-19 positive patients in the community in December 2020. Four GP sites were commissioned through the Primary Health Network to support patients in the model. The model allowed for Hospital in the Home care of patients, supported by the Clinical Referral Service who called patients to check in daily. The model allowed for the safe transfer of care of low risk COVID-19 patients into a GP model, alleviating inpatient bed demands on the district.



Our People


COVID-19 patient David urges Sydney to get vaccinated after marathon 399-day stay at Westmead David’s long journey began when he was admitted to Westmead Hospital suffering from COVID-19 on July 29, 2020. He spent seven weeks in intensive care before eventually being well enough to be transferred to the respiratory observation unit in September last year. With the help of the medical, nursing, physiotherapy and speech pathology teams, David slowly regained his strength as part of his long recovery. The hardest part was removing his tracheostomy tube, which was finally successfully taken out on August 10, 2021 – after more than a year of being unable to breathe independently or talk. Finally, after a 399-day admission, David’s journey is continuing with ongoing rehabilitation beyond Westmead Hospital. Respiratory Observation Unit Manager Trudy Darling said the staff were extremely proud to see David overcome the odds. As he left hospital, David also made an impassioned plea for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19 and prevent them from ending up in hospital. Our Patients & Community

As he left hospital, David also made an impassioned plea for people to get vaccinated for COVID-19

Our selfless, tireless Volunteers National Volunteers Week was celebrated in May 2021 and Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) recognised the hundreds of volunteers who have dedicated time, service and care to our hospitals and patients. WSLHD Executive Director of Operations, Alison Derrett said the volunteers had been greatly missed since their absence from the hospitals last year due to COVID-19. This year’s theme for National Volunteer Week was Recognise. Reconnect. Reimagine. Kimberwalli Outreach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people fromWestern Sydney aged 12 years and over were urged to book their Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination at the Kimberwalli Outreach Centre. Staff who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander provided information about vaccination and helped administer the vaccinations. A yarning space was available to guide people through the consent process and farewell packs were provided. The vaccination centre was opened to ensure people have access to COVID-19 vaccination in culturally appropriate settings.

Above Westmead Long Term COVID-19 Patient David Avila Mellado was admitted for 399 days at Westmead Hospital.

We have released the Community and Consumer Partnership Framework 2021-2025 Developed in partnership with consumer representatives, the framework aims to help us deliver better services and quality of care in the community.

Visit https://www. Partnership/All- about-consumer- engagement for more information.

Opposite Intensive Care Service Nurse Rachel Stuart. Above, from left David Avila Mellado was clapped out by scores of hospital staff in September 2021. Mount Druitt Palliative Care Volunteers Mary Vincent and Maria Greenwood. Aunty Jenny Ebsworth receives her COVID-19 vaccination as part of WSLHD’s Vaccination Outreach Program.



Staff Numbers 2020/2021 WSLHD YEAR IN REVIEW



719 PROF. & PARA










13,491 TOTAL



18 1 Senior Resident Medical Officer Dr Shruti Sarkar. 2 Left to right: Reg Midwife Nursing Clare Digirolamo, Orderly Robert Digirolamo. 3 Westmead switchboard staff Karen Edwards. 4 Blacktown Hospital COVID-19 health screener Joseph Nacua. Opposite Westmead Renal Physician Dr Richard Phoon and Patient Rezek Nametaalla.


What We Do


Our Health

COVID-19 Community Response In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the WSLHD COVID-19 Protection Unit (CPU) was established to support rapid COVID-19 testing especially for vulnerable communities including people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socioeconomically disadvantaged communities. Hospital In The Home facilitated access to support COVID-19 swabbing and serology in the home for people unable to attend a clinic. The Public Health Unit conducted a total of 1034 COVID-19 safety inspections at the end of June 2021. Businesses were assessed across five critical compliance areas: COVID-19 safety plan; wellbeing of staff and customers; physical distancing; hygiene and cleaning; and record keeping. An interagency Microsoft Teams site was established as a central repository for COVID-19 resources, Public Health Orders, and complaint follow-up and inspection outcomes and reporting. The site was accessible to Local Councils, NSW Police, Liquor and Gaming NSW and Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District.

2020/2021 KEY STAT


Right, from top First patient to get the COVID-19 vaccination in Western Sydney Emergency Department Nurse Unit Manager Dante Canete and Reg Nurse Carly Hanington at the Westmead Vaccination Hub. Dekota German having her COVID-19 vaccination at Mount Druitt Aboriginal Health Hub family vaccination day. Deputy Director Centre for Population Health Western Christine Newman and Reg Nurse Andrew Frageskides at the Blacktown Vaccination Hub.



Western Sydney Diabetes Western Sydney Diabetes (WSD) rapidly adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic with the establishment of ‘WSD Virtual Care’ with telehealth and cloud based digital solutions, replacing face to face consultations. WSD’s educational forums and events were held virtually including a 2020 Masterclass Series that ran over 10 weeks to provide support and education to health care professionals on evidence-based practice for the management of type 2 diabetes. In addition, more than 10 forums were held during this financial year targeting both health professionals and consumers respectively, and covering topics such as diabetes and mental health, childhood obesity, and eating well. WSD’s community engagement continues to thrive with Healthy Living Toongabbie and the support of a new Filipino Leaders Group. Patient Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) and Patient Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) capture patients’ perspectives on how illness or care impact their health and wellbeing. Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) assess the patient’s experience and perception of their healthcare. There were 876 PROM and 827 PREMS collected during 2020/2021. The program aims to enable patients to provide direct, timely feedback about their health-related outcomes and experiences to drive improvement and integration of healthcare across NSW. Residential Aged Care Facilities COVID-19 Response Integrated and Community Health (ICH) leveraged the existing relationships through the Public Health Unit, to engage the 64

Above, from top Westmead Patient Experience Officers - Kerrie Lloyd, Karren Hay, Hind Abdel Halim, Sandra Byrne, Guneet Dhillon, Katherine Mason, Christine Fryer. Blacktown Community Diabetes Nurses Theresa Tang, Sharon McClelland, Sian Bramwell.

Residential Aged Care Facilities (RACF) across western Sydney in COVID-19 readiness. Collaborative engagement allowed the sharing of expertise including infection prevention and control principles, PPE education, and clinical advice from infectious diseases, geriatrics, palliative care, and public health. Continued engagement through an Advisory Council, Steering Committee, and weekly webinars enabled a desktop COVID-19 outbreak scenario to facilitate a safe simulation and testing of interagency responsiveness between the RACF, WSLHD and the PHN and lines of communication.

Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) capture patients’ perspectives on how illness or care impact their health and wellbeing.



Doing the Numbers

Amidst the ongoing impact of the pandemic, we continued the trend from last year of achieving commendable savings through better management of employee-related costs, and improved savings in purchasing supplies and services.

This financial year, we achieved a total of more than $4 million in additional savings in purchasing clinical and medical supplies as well as sourcing of corporate services. This represents a continuing trend from our previous year. The total of WSLHD’s expenditure for 2020/21 was $2.101 billion. Employee Related Expenses made up for 66.8% of that total. Our staff continue to be the backstay of our service provision, although partnering with private health providers was significant during 2020/21 in efforts to manage surgical wait lists.

Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic added additional pressure to staff and services across the District. The impact was managed through good planning and great teamwork. An additional $143.68m was invested by the NSW Government into managing the health and safety of our staff and residents during the pandemic. Own-source revenue contributed $204 million towards funding health services. This is a slight increase to previous year ($203m). The COVID-19 impact on revenue from patient fees, car parking and commercial returns continues to be significant.



65.6% Sales of Goods and Services 34.4% Other Revenue

66.8% Employee Related Expenses 26.6% Other Operating Expenses 3.8% Depreciation and Amortisation 2.3% VMOs 0.5% Grants and Affiliated Health Organisations


$2.101b $204m



Met Expenses Budget Targets


WSLHD COST PER NWAU VS STATE FOR 2021-2022 IN DOLLARS (NSW AVERAGE AND WSLHD AVERAGE) In terms of Activity Based Funding (ABF) efficiency, the District Draft 2021/22 ABF price is assessed at $4,858 per NWAU. The State Draft Efficient Price is $4,931 per NWAU, indicating the WSLHD is operating in an efficient manner. ABF cost per NWAU for 2020/21 financial year is dependent on finalising impact of COVID-19 on activity and expenses.



Annual Finance Highlights

Completion of $1b Westmead Hospital Redevelopment including delivery of a brand new 14 floor Central Acute Services Building (CASB)*. 01

Managing the response to the COVID-19 pandemic (preparation, diagnosis, treatment, and vaccination of COVID-19 patients), the District expended an additional $143.68m during 2020/21. 02


The District achieved it’s 2020/21 Activity Based Funding (ABF) activity target within its budgeted expenses allocation. 03



Close to $4m in additional savings in procurement of clinical and medical supplies. 04

Continued to manage an affordable bed base with improved management of beds and rostering practices. 05


*emergency departments for WSLHD and Sydney Children’s Hospital - Westmead, hybrid and digital operating theatres, day surgery, inpatient beds, and National Infectious Diseases Unit (NIDU). Overall footprint includes University of Sydney and Innovation Centre areas. 1 Central Acute Services Building. 2 Westmead Oncology Car T Cell Transplant Patient Sandra Lee Austen. 3 Settlement Services International Staff member Geena Rekhi having her COVID-19 vacination. 4 Westmead Intensive Care Staff Specialist Dr Hemal Vachharajani.



District Achievements

Western Sydney team investigate airborne COVID-19 spread in world-leading research

Futuristic, lifesaving heart research given $5 million boost in Westmead Health Precinct


The “Quadpill”: Westmead Health Precinct heart research finds more effective treatment for high blood pressure



Westmead Hospital’s new dedicated trauma

New unit provides mother and baby mental health support to Western Sydney

unit for severely injured patients


1 Director of Western Sydney Local Health District’s Public Health Unit Dr Shopna Bag led the contact tracing efforts at the district. 2 Westmead Hospital Cardiologist Professor Clara Chow led a study which found that high blood pressure can be safely and more effectively controlled using a combination of four different existing medications in a ‘quadpill’. 3 Westmead Hospital Interventional Cardiologist Associate Professor James Chong’s team’s futuristic research involves growing new cardiomyocytes – heart muscle cells that are predominantly responsible for the pump function of the heart. 4 Nurse Unit Manager Britney Raj working in the new Westmead Hospital Central Acute Services Building Trauma Ward. Opposite Westmead Breast Cancer Institute Director Associate Professor Nirmala Pathmanathan.



Our Hospitals


Westmead Hospital

Westmead received a $50,000 grant from gaming giant for heart attack simulator

The simulation happens in real-time so every decision must be made quickly. This support could significantly expand the capabilities of the training program, according to Nathan Moore – Digital Innovation Lead at Western Sydney Local Health District’s Research and Education Network. The program was developed by Nathan Moore and Martin Brown from the University of Sydney’s Westmead Initiative. The pair have also worked together on other virtual reality training programs including Code Black, which trains frontline workers in de-escalation techniques with agitated patients and visitors. The team is working on other training applications for the futuristic technology, including areas such as clinical handover and undergraduate education. Westmead Emergency opens new era for Western Sydney healthcare A 42-year service closed its doors this morning then instantly re-opened a new era as Westmead Hospital’s Emergency Department relocated to its new high-tech home. As the clock ticked 8am on the 17th of February, 2021, sliding doors to the emergency department (ED) met for the last time and marked the next chapter for staff and almost two million patients since it first opened in 1979. Three hundred metres away at the centre of Westmead Health Precinct, the new state-of-the-art unit in the Central Acute Services Building (CASB) simultaneously welcomed Western Sydney to healthcare’s future. Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) Chief Executive Graeme Loy

said the relocation to the 14-level CASB was designed to offer an even better service for its communities, offering new treatment spaces and equipment, and providing patients and carers with easier access and drop-off. Centrally located in the precinct, the relocation moves us one step closer to the full opening of the Central Acute Services Building. Westmead Hospital General Manager Rebecca Tyson said the relocation marked an important piece of history in healthcare and was a credit to all staff, because of the years of planning and all the hard work that had been done. And it didn’t take long before months of staff training, simulations and tests to gauge equipment and new spaces turned to reality when the first patient – 96-year-old George Nicholas from Bossley Park – was assisted through the doors by son Marcel. In a series of milestone moments, 8.10am marked the first ambulance to arrive at the new ED and 11.15am signalled the last of the test choppers to land on the 14th- level helipad. The centrepiece of the $1 billion-plus Westmead Redevelopment, the CASB will provide Western Sydney with high-quality healthcare, research and educational facilities for decades to come. The new hospital will feature two new emergency departments – one for adults, one for children – more than 300 patient rooms, 25 digital operating theatres and a suite of other features.

The engine behind action scenes in The Mandalorian and blockbuster video games including Rocket League is throwing its weight behind an innovative health training program at Westmead Hospital. Advanced Life Support (ALS) Sim-VR – a virtual reality program designed to train nurses and doctors in critical decisions – is the recipient of an Epic MegaGrant from Epic Games. ALS is a set of skills needed in any hospital setting to save someone suffering cardiac arrest. The ‘player’ must control a virtual team trying to assist a patient suffering from cardiac arrest. The virtual reality program allows people to pull on a headset in the location of their choice and practice their skills in real time, making quick decisions to

ultimately save a patient’s life. The American company behind

incredibly successful Unreal Engine and video games including Rocket League have fronted up US$50,000 for the team at Westmead.

“The simulation happens in real-time so every decision must be made quickly.”

The grant also provides money-can’t- buy access to Epic Games’ team of programmers, engineers and designers for troubleshooting and development.

For a full list of services, visit Westmead-Hospital/Our-Services

Above, from left WSLHD Lead for Educational Innovation and Technology Nathan Moore with the Westmead REN Simlab Virtual Reality equipment. Westmead emergency department staff specialist team prepare to start work at the new Westmead emergency department.




Key Activities










1 Westmead Radiographer Fazrieh Nabizadeh. 2 Westmead Cardiology Researcher A/Professor Sarah Zaman. 3 Westmead Medical Officer Dr Caroline Tyers at the ED Doctors podcast recording studio. 4 Cardiologist Dr Peter Fahmy has performed the first watchman FLX device procedure at Westmead Hospital.



Above from left Auburn Hospital Quality and Accreditation Manager Sally Henderson in front of the Share the Dignity vending machine holding period pack. Social Worker Jemima Gaunt holding period pack. Auburn Hospital

Auburn Hospital first in NSW to install ‘Share the Dignity’ vending machine for free pads and tampons. Auburn Hospital was the first public hospital in NSW to install a Share the Dignity vending machine , which dispenses a period pack with six tampons and two pads at the press of a button. Free feminine hygiene products are now available for members of the public and staff 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in the emergency department at Auburn Hospital. Founded in 2015, Share the Dignity is an Australian charity dedicated

to ensuring women have access to basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle – particularly women experiencing period poverty. The vending machine was arranged by Auburn Hospital Quality and Accreditation Manager Sally Henderson, who has been volunteering for Share the Dignity for 18 months. The packs are designed to provide 24 hours of access to sanitary products, with no questions asked and no limit per person. It was placed in the emergency department to ensure there is 24-hour public access. This is another way that all women’s dignity in the Auburn community,

regardless of background, language, or any social disadvantage, can be supported. Auburn Hospital Social Worker Jemima Gaunt said by providing the community with access to free period products, they aim to maintain the dignity in every woman’s life. The service would be appreciated by many women who receive support through the hospital. The vending machine is located within the baby change room in the emergency department and is accessed simply by pressing the green button. There is a 10-minute delay between dispensing packs to protect against misuse. Auburn Hospital was also a collection point for the March Dignity Drive , where members of the public were encouraged to donate pads, tampons, period underwear, incontinence pads, menstrual cups and other sanitary items.

Founded in 2015, Share the Dignity is an Australian charity dedicated to ensuring women have access to basic sanitary items during their menstrual cycle – particularly women experiencing period poverty.

For a full list of services, visit Auburn-Hospital/Our-Services


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