2018 Achievement Awards Finalists

The Achievement Awards celebrate our top performing staff, volunteers and teams from across Hunter New England Health and reflect the organisation’s commitment to Excellence for every patient, every time.


Collaborative Leader of the Year

This award recognises a successful leader/manager/mentor who has shown true leadership qualities by managing their services effectively.

Paul McCombie – Service Manager, Newcastle Community Mental Health Team

Paul is a professional, respectful inspirational leader and a role model for all employees of Hunter New England Local Health District. Paul’s ethical standards are admirable and his professionalism, compassion and unwavering dedication has made a significant impact on care provision, service delivery and support provided to people with the lived experience of mental illness. Paul is dedicated to quality improvement and actively reviews data to identify goals, set targets, develop strategies to improve service delivery and performance to ensure positive outcomes for consumers.

Dr David Healey – Director Orthopaedics, Tamworth Hospital

David has over 20 years of orthopaedic experience and has been Director of Orthopaedics at Tamworth Hospital since March 2015. David is a natural communicator and his openness, warmth and enthusiasm promote collaboration and cooperation among others that leads to cohesive professional and personal relationships. This makes his patient-centred focus and the process of improving patient care a journey that many are willing to take. As a clinical leader he has contributed enormously to the recruitment and retention of staff within the orthopaedic team, developing a quality focussed team of orthopaedic specialists with a strong commitment to the highest standards of teaching and research.

Kirsten Berry – Medication Safety and Quality Manager, Allied Health – District Pharmacy Services

Kirstin demonstrates exceptional collaboration in her role as Medication Safety and Quality Manager where she works with clinical and non-clinical teams throughout the district and state-wide. From her work with small, rural multi-purpose centres to reduce medication errors for rural patients through to state-wide collaboration with the Clinical Excellence Commission, Kirstin displays a drive and commitment to create a safe medication journey for patients. Through her collaboration with various departments and agencies, she has produced a number of programs and applications which have assisted in improving patient safety and empowered local clinicians to manage medicines safety at all levels.

Clinical Team of the Year

The award is designed to recognise clinical teams that have made outstanding achievements or improvements in line with Hunter New England Health’s strategic priorities.

John Hunter Children's Hospital (JHCH) Paediatric Palliative Care Service - John Hunter Children's Hospital

The JHCH Paediatric Palliative Care Service is committed to sharing knowledge across the district and developing confidence in caring for paediatric patients at the end of life. The Palliative Care Team work collaboratively across the district by supporting children and the local teams in rural areas. Providing home-based telehealth to all families, formal education sessions, pop-up models of care and one-on-one advice for generalist clinicians are all ways the service is supporting the community.

Tablelands Sector Virtual Rehabilitation Team - Tablelands Sector

The Tablelands Sector Virtual Rehabilitation Team has given health professionals from Armidale, Inverell and Glen Innes the ability to communicate via telehealth and videoconferencing to discuss the ongoing care of Rehabilitation patients from the Tablelands Sector. The team has achieved better patient outcomes due to open communication and a clear discharge plan, with a high quality multidisciplinary handover creating a streamlined discharge and transfer of care. This approach has also demonstrated a commitment to sharing knowledge through discussion, while providing support to sole clinicians at smaller sites.

Delirium Clinical Care Standards Super-trainer Group - Aged Care and Rehabilitation Services Clinical Network

The Delirium Clinical Care Super-trainer Group was established to take the lead in providing 'train-the-trainer' education to nurse educators and clinical nurse educators across the District. The group are committed to improving the care of older people with a cognitive impairment by standardising processes for screening and assessment and implementing a clinical pathway and management plan. They have shown great commitment, expertise and passion, making a difference for older people with a cognitive impairment and their carers/families.

Hunter Brain Injury Service (HBIS) - Community and Aged Care Services, Greater Newcastle Sector

HBIS is a stand-alone facility with both admitted and non-admitted services. Its goal is to help patients achieve their goals and return to community living. HBIS clinicians are referred approximately 150 patients each year and consistently deliver high quality, evidenced-based care to complex brain injury patients. HBIS has successfully redesigned their model of care to expand their service scope to meet the changing needs of the local health district including providing rehabilitation to young stroke and brain tumour patients.

Emerging Leader of the Year

The Emerging Leader of the Year award recognises someone early in their career who is displaying a commitment to quality and safety, outstanding interpersonal skills with fellow colleagues, delivering patient centred care and demonstrating their value as a team member.

Dr Steven Grimson – Junior Doctor, Clinical Governance

Steven Grimson is a PGY2 who has been working in the district for the last two years as a junior doctor. Steven is well recognised as a kind and caring clinician and as a confident and very engaging young leader. While working in Clinical Governance on the Hospital Health Pathways (HHP) Program, Steven demonstrated a high level ability to: look at ways to streamline and improve patient safety processes; use critical thinking and carefully consider diverse opinions and respectfully summarise or mediate a response whilst keeping focused on the primary target group for the HHP, the Junior Medical Officers. Steven was recognised by various teams as being exceptionally professional with everyone who worked with him during this time.

Ritchie Hair – Social Worker, Moree Health Service

Ritchie has worked in Moree as a mental health clinician for just under three years. In this time he has not only developed his own skills but has supported other staff and fostered relationships with other service providers that assist with the care of people who present with mental health issues. He has demonstrated CORE values in everyday practice, keeps families at the centre of everything he does and is a top team player. Mental Health Services are very fortunate to have a clinician with the qualities Ritchie possesses.

Daniel Luther – Physiotherapist, John Hunter Hospital

Daniel is an exceptional emerging leader and physiotherapist who has demonstrated strong achievements both clinically and as a young leader. He has initiated and collaborated on quality service development and redesign projects across his profession to achieve better outcomes for patient care. As Daniel comes from a rural background, he is committed to providing better health services to rural communities and has completed many rotations to support rural physiotherapy services. His leadership extends to working with community organisations to improve health outcomes.

Jessica Taggart – NICU Nurse, John Hunter Children’s Hospital

Jessica has been working as a registered nurse for two years and was one of Hunter New England Health’s Aboriginal cadets. Jessica is a leader in all aspects of neonatal care and is currently contributing to a new project to improve end-of-life care for babies and their families in the neonatal intensive care environment. She is also a member of John Hunter Children Hospital’s two clinical practice improvement groups and the parent education group. Jessica is also an active member of the Children, Young People and Families (CYPF) closing the gap committee and looks after Aboriginal families when they are in NICU.

Staff Member of the Year

The Staff Member of the Year award gives recognition for contributing to a positive culture for our patients and fellow staff, regardless of their position in the organisation.

Bron Rose – Manager, Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce

As an Aboriginal woman and role model for her Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community, Bron occupies a pivotal point of cultural reference for all staff and managers within Mental Health Services. She envisioned and successfully advocated for the establishment of an Aboriginal Workforce Service within the district. This has meant she has worked tirelessly to: manage a growing number of Aboriginal Mental Health clinicians in Rural and Metropolitan areas; evolve the Aboriginal MH Traineeship program and increase the capacity of Allied Health Cadetship program for the whole of Hunter New England Health.

Julie Davies – Nurse Manager, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Service, Morisset Hospital

As Nurse Manager at Morisset Hospital, Julie leads by example in the way she interacts and deals with staff and patients. She has high expectations of staff when it comes to patient care and is quick to identify when these standards are not being met. She has been instrumental in changing the culture at Morisset which is enabling excellence to flourish due to her excellent leadership skills and her ability to mobilise support for various projects and collaborate with broad groups of people to implement change. Her colleagues describe that the atmosphere of their workplace has become one of safety, warmth and real joy as a direct result of Julie's leadership.

Rachel Peake – Stroke Care Coordinator, Tamworth Hospital

As the Stroke Care Coordinator for both Peel and Mehi sectors, Rachel’s job is to support the patient’s family unit from arrival at Emergency until the patient is home or receiving ongoing care. Rachel approaches patients at a level that is as “if it was her own family”. Rachel goes above and beyond for every patient, every time. She is an advocate for student education and builds and maintains relationships with everyone, which is why she is so trusted within indigenous communities. Her research now paves the way for health care professionals to build trusting relationships and shows a new way of providing culturally supportive care.

Support Team of the Year

This award is designed to reward teams that do not provide direct, front-line patient care but have made an outstanding contribution that supports outcomes for patients and/or staff of Hunter New England Health.

Moree Administration Team - Administration Moree District Health Service

The Moree Administration Team is regularly commended for their high performance in all aspects. There is consistent feedback from visitors, other health services and the community about the professionalism, friendliness and helpfulness of this team. They operate at an extremely high level in data collection, task completion, assisting others within their team and engaging with the other multidisciplinary members of the team to ensure smooth service provision. With 70% of the admin team being Aboriginal, they regularly participate in the Moree Aboriginal Collaborative meetings and the on-site Aboriginal peer group meetings to advocate and give advice on changes required within the service.

Yarn Up Feel Deadly Aboriginal MHS & Workforce - District Aboriginal Mental Health Service & Workforce

The Yarn Up initiative was developed to close gaps in service delivery and ensure our service is providing excellence in care to Aboriginal people and their communities. They strive to provide culturally appropriate clinical support and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health consumers, as well as provide support for our Aboriginal Workforce to work in a culturally safe environment. This team have successfully created opportunities for Indigenous men and women to participate equally, while providing a culturally safe experience for patients.

District Pharmacy Services – Allied Health

District Pharmacy Services have made an ongoing commitment to support HNE Pharmacy in core duties of medication supply and clinical consultations. They have supported the expansion and currency of HNE knowledge via inclusion on internal, state and national inter-professional teams. They strive for the efficiency and growth of practices to support medication safety, while increasing patient access to clinical pharmacy services in rural areas through expanded capacity of junior pharmacists in Tamworth. They were also awarded the ACI Excellence and Innovation in Rural Health Award for the Medication Safety System for rural and remote facilities without onsite pharmacy services.

Volunteer of the Year (Individual)

This award formally recognises and publicly acknowledges the invaluable work done by the many volunteers working with Hunter New England Health.

Cameron Smith – HNE Mental Health Volunteer Service

Cameron has been a volunteer with the district’s Mental Health Volunteer Service since December 2016 and his commitment and passion towards the Volunteer Service and Mental Health is evident in his every interaction. He has even provided an inspiration statement as to why he volunteers for inclusion in the revised Orientation Guide for Volunteers in Mental Health. His astounding contribution has flowed on to the wider Volunteer Service which has been able to benefit from his vast knowledge, skills and experience.

David Walsh – The Maitland Hospital Volunteer

Dave is a tireless worker for the Maitland Hospital Emergency Department who is constantly providing support to the team in numerous ways. Despite no history in health, Dave started his role in the ED in November 2014 and soon gained a love for helping the staff. Dave constantly supports distressed patients and their families by providing an ear in a critical situation. He will make coffee and tea, come up with a bad joke or two and help anyone who needs a wheelchair or warm blanket in the waiting room. He is constantly stocking, cleaning and maintaining areas of the ED to allow nursing staff the time to care for their patients. He is innovative and constantly thinking of new ideas to make things better. He is a wonderful trainer, mentor and friend.

Colin Williamson – Tamworth Hydrotherapy Pool

Colin is like an extended member of the Hydrotherapy Family, always ready to lend a hand whenever is needed. With his ever present smile, he has been a constant presence at the hydrotherapy pool for 20 years and has come to know many patrons and their families. He is a great ambassador of the benefits of the Hydrotherapy Pool whether it be for fitness, rehabilitation or relaxation. On completing his orientation with Tamworth Hospital, he undertook the specialty training that is required in an aquatic environment. His generosity of his time and his calm, practical approach in an emergency are just some of the reasons why he is a valued member of the team.

Volunteer of the Year (Team)

This award formally recognises and publicly acknowledges the invaluable work done by the many volunteers working with Hunter New England Health.

HNE Mental Health Volunteer Service - Mental Health

The HNE Mental Health Volunteer Service is a diverse group of 30 - 40 active volunteers who have donated over 4,500 hours across a diverse range of assistance strategies in 2017. In addition to fundraising and project development, volunteers embedded in clinical teams have provided excellent support to vulnerable patients, carers and families by delivering a service that is courteous, friendly and supportive. This has ultimately improved the patient experience and the recovery journey. The Volunteer Service believes in building a strong and resilient community – healthy people, now and into the future.

NICU Baby Buddies – NICU

The purpose of the Baby Buddy program is to provide support, both practically and emotionally to families in the NICU and to nursing staff. The Baby Buddies share in the journey with parents of NICU infants and also assist with minding of any other children. The group has become an integral part of the NICU team and consists of 21 volunteers who regularly give their time, passion and commitment to the cause. This dedicated group of volunteers provide such valuable support that has only enhanced the wonderful work that is performed every day in NICU.

Belmont Hospital Volunteer Service - Belmont Hospital Patient Care - Friendly Faces Volunteers

The Friendly Face program at Belmont Hospital was established to provide a warm environment of support and friendship to long term residents of the BH STRAS unit. These volunteers offer companionship and support to patients and work together with staff to ensure a safe environment to reduce the risk of falls in a clinical healthcare setting. They also offer hand massage to relax patients, promote sense of touch and facilitate conversation which allows them to connect with the patient and share life experiences that have been important in their life.

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