Far West LHD Health Innovation and Staff Excellence Awards winners for 2020

The Far West LHD Health Innovations and Staff Excellence Awards was held recently with the winning project a program dedicated to improving the experiences of patients and carers who are isolated and disadvantaged.

The 2020 FWLHD Health Innovation Award recipient was ‘Connections in the Far West’, a collaborative project between FWLHD and Mission Australia. The program was also awarded the Agency for Clinical Innovation Award for 2020, and was a finalist in the NSW Health Awards.

‘Connections’, as it is known, is a peer-led, peer-designed program aimed at reducing social isolation and loneliness, improving social connectedness, sense of belonging and connectedness to community for people with mental illness. The program sought to address the problem of access to out-of-hours health services, which can be a challenge in Broken Hill, causing many people to reach out to crisis care and emergency services. In its first year, the project resulted in savings of 354 bed days ($760,207), as reported by NSW Health. Not only has the service reduced numbers of people presenting to hospital, but feedback from other service providers and participants continues to be extremely positive.

The Award was presented to Chelsea Edwards, Manager Consumer and Carer Engagement FWLHD and Jenna Bottrell, Area Manager of the Connections Program, Mission Australia.

The 2020 FWLHD Health Innovation Award runner up was ‘Zero Falls Redesign”, presented to Project Lead Linda Sutherland. This project sought to implement evidence-based best practice to prevent inpatient falls and reduce the incidence of falls. Overall inpatient falls has reduced by 51% with a 38% reduction in falls rates since implementation.

The FWLHD Health Innovation and Staff Excellence Awards were presented on Wednesday, 18 November 2020 in a different format in response to limitations imposed by COVID-19. This included virtual presentations and videoconferencing the ceremony to staff across the LHD.

Chief Executive, Mr Umit Agis, said whilst the ceremony was celebrated in a different way this year, it was important to acknowledge the great achievements across the health service through the Health Innovation Awards and Staff Excellence Awards, and also to acknowledge some of the long standing staff in the District.

Staff Recognition Awards were presented to staff who had excelled in customer service and had contributed the care and wellbeing of patients and clients to an exception level. Award winners were chosen from peer nominations, including consumer nominations for staff and teams for excellence service.

Award recipients for 2020 were:

Administration and Support Staff

  • Customer Service Excellence – Carol Foulis.
  • Leadership Excellence – Juanite White.
  • Customer Service Excellence – Chelsea Edwards.
  • Aboriginal Staff Excellence – Cory Paulson.

Allied Health Staff

  • Early Career Excellence – Ashley Flannery.
  • Team Excellence – Occupational Therapy Team.
  • Leadership Excellence – Laura Serwa.

Nursing Staff

  • Clinical/Customer Service Excellence – Bella Mannix.
  • Team Excellence – Primary Health Care Team, Balranald MPS.
  • Leadership Excellence – Nicholas Minns.
  • Aboriginal Health Practitioners Emergency Department – Marilyn Williams and Lukkas Dunlop.

Peer Recognition for Staff Excellence (Staff Rounding) – Hannah Everuss.

Peer Recognition for Team Excellence (Staff Rounding) – Dialysis Unit.

Brilliance Recognition – Staff – Jamie Thomas.

Brilliance Recognition – Team – Staff Quarters Team

Consumer Recognition for Staff Excellence – Rodney Lynott.

Employee Recognition Awards for years of dedicated service were also presented to a number of employees from across the District. Long Service awards were also presented in the following groups:

Long Service Awards for 10 years of service: Paige Bacot, Jodie Gervasi, Elise Pascoe, Terrie Beven, Margaret Murphy, Kristy Kemp, Emma Kemp, Karen Gleeson, Shae McCunnie, Heidi Drenkhahn, Stuart McIntosh, Danielle Minnis, Donna Ellis, Samantha Lloyd, Brendan Pettitt, Catherine Kruger, Brady Wauchope, Emma Williams, Ryan Davis, Leusanne Hirschausen, Glenys Dayman, Virginia McDonald, Jane Davies and Elizabeth Stevens.

Long Service Awards for 20 years of service: Cheryl Robertson, William Graham, Brendan Hedger, Timothy O’Neill, Gregory Pascoe, Samantha Evans, Nicole Hall, Alison Bromson, Lee-Ann Hill, Evelyn Kelly and Rebecca Stevens.

Long Service Awards for 30 years of service: Peter Forde, Jenny Coffey, Sally McDonald, Suzanne Liddell, Lisa Testa, Sheryl Smith and Alicia Camin.

Long Service Award for 40 years of service: Alison Garrick.

The Far West LHD Employee Recognition Awards are presented for years of dedicated service to the organisation. The recipients were recognised with certificates of acknowledgement and a gift.


Administration and Support Staff

Customer Service Excellence – Carol Foulis: Carol has worked for Broken Hill Hospital for a significant number of years within the Specialist Outpatient Administration. Carol provides an excellent level of care and empathy to patients and works well within her team to promote and improve her work environment. Carol demonstrates excellence in customer service at the counter for general clinics and back of house services. Carol is able to assist patients to navigate the health system and knows who to contact to assist patients when they need help.

Leadership Excellence – Juanite White: Juanita is a Project Manager in the Integrated Care team. At the commencement of COVID-19, Juanita volunteered to assist with supporting the executive ECOT, re-developing the COVID-19 drive-thru documentation as well as assisting in data collection with PPE audits. She presents with a high level of integrity and professionalism and has a passion for supporting the organisations strategic focus.

Customer Service Excellence – Chelsea Edwards: Chelsea is the Manager of Consumer and Carer Engagement in the MHDA services. Chelsea’s work is focused on collaboration with carers. In the past year this was expanded to include consumers as well. Chelsea is people centred and takes the initiative to bring the focus back on person centred care in clinical settings. Chelsea has showcased collaborative work and partnership with Mission Australia leading the LHD in the development of a partnership video that has been showcased at State and National events. Chelsea is currently focused on the structured process of embedding a lived-experience framework of mental health, drug & alcohol consumers in all aspects of our services. Chelsea is committed to excellence and is always looking for ways to improve what we do.

Aboriginal Staff Excellence – Cory Paulson: Cory is a 2nd year trainee under the Aboriginal Mental Health Traineeship program and shows depth of skills, passion, compassion and cultural knowledge and sensitivity making him a pivotal part of our service delivery. Cory is a team player, open to working with our partners, strives for service improvement and ensures staff and other stakeholders have an understanding and respect for Aboriginal Culture and people and the impacts of delivering culturally appropriate services in the Far West.

Allied Health Staff

Early Career Excellence – Ashley Flannery: Ashley came to the service in the role of the Older Persons Mental Health Clinician as a new graduate after completing her final Social Work student placement in the Broken Hill Mental health Unit. Ashley demonstrates an excellent knowledge of social work practice, a dedication to empowering her customers by providing recovery focused interventions, an excellent work ethic and a passion for ongoing learning. She always goes the extra mile in supporting her consumers whilst maintaining appropriate professional boundaries. As a team player she has been outstanding, willing to help out. Ashley engages with her colleagues in a polite and respectful manner and her contribution to the team is frequently acknowledged through staff rounding.

Team Excellence – Occupational Therapy Team: The OT Team has worked tirelessly during COVID-19 period to provide seamless care and service to both the community and inpatient settings. The Occupational Therapy Team lead the implementation of the transition for Telehealth Allied Health Services. This work meant that outpatients could still be assessed and monitored during the COVID-19 outbreak and service continuation. The have also developed infection and control processes for home visiting to ensure that priority community based patients could continue to be seen during the pandemic. The team have also assisted with the transition of inpatient rehabilitation services from the Sub-Acute Rehabilitation Unit (SARU) into the general inpatient workload whilst the COVID-19 clinic has been located in the SARU space. The OT team have ensured that patients were provided with a high level rehabilitation service during the pandemic.

Leadership Excellence – Laura Serwa: Laura us a newly emerging leader as a Senior Physiotherapist at the Broken Hill Hospital and health Service. Laura’s caseload is predominately rehabilitation, however she supports across the team to develop new graduate staff, allied health assistants and students. Laura has ensured that rehabilitation patients receive optimal daily classes and individual programs in the time of COVID-19 and with the temporary transition of SARU to the Medical Ward. Laura has also taken on additional responsibility with supporting the Allied Health SBAT program and ensure mentoring is consistent and pastoral care is a team collaborative effort.

Nursing Staff

Clinical/Customer Service Excellence – Bella Mannix: Bella is a Community Health Nurse at Balranald MPS. Bella has an extensive scope of practice, she treats and coordinates care for patients with wounds, palliative care needs, chronic disease, aged care, child & family health, aboriginal health, health promotion, aqua aerobics instructor, tai chi coordinator and more. Bella performs all her duties with professionalism and respect for patients and focuses on empowering her patients to achieve their best health. Bella demonstrates clinical nursing excellence in every aspect of her nursing care. Bella never complains, always offers her support to others and never seeks praise.

Team Excellence – Primary Health Care Team, Balranald MPS: The Balranald Community Health team and Nurse Immunisers successfully organised and delivered the first drive through flu vaccination clinic for FWLHD in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The team work very hard to promptly set up a drive through flu vaccination clinic ensuring it was safe and followed all clinical guidelines. Over 15 days staff worked together to administer more than 500 influenza vaccinations through the drive through clinic. The clinic was a great success with more than double the number of flu vaccinations administered compared to previous years. The clinic was a coordinated team effort, with administration staff taking bookings, community health nursing staff worked to prepare the resources to set up the clinic. Aboriginal health workers and dental assistant also helped to keep the clinic running smoothly. The team coordinated well to provide processing, screening, traffic control, vaccination, post vaccination observation and documentation. Superimposed on this was the commencement of the COVID-19 drive through screening clinics which effectively doubled the workload.

Leadership Excellence – Nicholas Minns: Nick’s substantive position is the NUM of ICU, he is currently Acting Deputy Director of Nursing. Nick has previously been awarded this same award in leadership excellence in 2018. Nick continues to lead by example – he is out on the floor providing clinical support when needed, he is strategic in his vision for the ICU which is evidenced in all the work that he has facilitated on the ACI project to upgrade Broken Hill ICU to a Level 4. The latest project around this is a co-joint project with Western and Sydney LHD called e-ICU. Nick focuses on team building by working with all members of the team at Broken Hill to drive changes to deliver the best patient care. Nick embodies the CORE values into his leadership. He is collaborative and open with his staff. Staff describe Nick as a true leader, leading from beside you, guiding your steps and assisting your understanding.

Aboriginal Health Practitioners Emergency Department – Marilyn Williams and Lukkas Dunlop: Marilyn Williams and Lukkas Dunlop were both recruited to the newly formed Aboriginal Health Practitioner ED positions as trainees in August 2019. As part of this new initiative to improve cultural safety in the Emergency Dept. with particular focus on after hours ED admissions and Mental Health support for patients. They have both demonstrated a wonderful passion and skill for their clinical work but have also repeatedly stepped up for the Health Service and Aboriginal Community during COVID-19 response. They have shown the benefit of working collaboratively within the hospital and community environment to support Aboriginal people’s journey throughout the health service and the empowerment that can come from these roles to aid in health and service access. Feedback from community has been that it was hearting to have such support available within the health service. They have shown an openness and enthusiasm to build on their skills as health professionals while nurturing and supporting clinicians to understand the needs of Aboriginal people within the Broken Hill Health Service in collaboration with the already established Aboriginal Liaison Services.

Peer Recognition for Staff Excellence (Staff Rounding)Hannah Everuss: Hannah is a Clerical Support Officer in the Dialysis and SARU Unit. Hannah also received this award in 2018. She is recognized this year by her peers for amazing work ethic and ability; continued help and support to the dialysis patients and staff; for all the management work she does to help keep the dialysis unit functioning; for amazing organisation and assistance with everything; for great handover and orientation for relief staff; and for her attention to detail and always completing work ahead of schedule.

Peer Recognition for Team Excellence (Staff Rounding)Dialysis Unit: The Dialysis Unit team was the most frequently recognized team by peers. They have been recognized for great team work; great support; early recognition of deteriorating patients and facilitation of patient transfer to specialist care at RAH; for working well as a team and supporting each other; and for being flexible and adaptive to ever changing work conditions.

Brilliance Recognition – Staff – Jamie Thomas: Jamie is a Housekeeper in the Service Team and can mostly be found at the CHC. Jamie has been nominated for always being friendly; greeting staff with a smile and kind words; he incorporates the CORE values; he is always happy and never complains; he bends over backwards to accommodate others; always happy and cheerful; and he gives 100% in his work.

Brilliance Recognition – Team – Staff Quarters Team: The Staff Quarters Team, also known as the District Properties Team was the most frequently nominated team for Brilliance recognition by peers. They have been nominated for responding to this current corona crisis by increasing their already high standard to an even greater level of care; for keeping everything spotless and friendly smiles in the morning; the attention to detail in nooks and crannies is appreciated; taking the initiative with the temperature screening clinic in Elleoura Lodge when staff are being busy or absent; and for all the hard work they put in everyday to make Elleoura Lodge a pleasure to come to work. Our work environment is so clean and tidy.

Consumer Recognition for Staff Excellence – Rodney Lynott: Rodney is the Manager for the Biomedical Service. He has been recognized for always being friendly and ready to help as a partner organisation; for being professional, competent, reliable and following up on questions. Nothing is too much trouble for Rod and the team.



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