2020 HNE Health Excellence Awards Winners and Finalists

The HNE Health Excellence Awards are our way of recognising the wonderful talent, commitment and innovation that exists within the HNE Health workforce. 

Congratulations to the following winners and finalists for 2020: 

Achievement Awards

Collaborative Leader of the Year

The Collaborative Leader of the Year award acknowledges a HNE Health employee who demonstrates exceptional collaboration within their role. This award aims to recognise someone who is innovative, has achieved sustainable results through successful inter-personal collaboration and has shown true leadership qualities by managing their services effectively. 

Winner: John Ferguson
Finalist: Adrian Dunlop
Finalist: Phil Way

Staff Member of the Year

The Staff Member of the Year award recognises a HNE Health employee who has made an exceptional contribution to improvements in the health system. This award acknowledges an individual who provides demonstrable excellence in service to support staff, patients, carers or families; is a role model for promoting positive cultural change and inspiring other staff; and has improved service delivery and patient outcomes through new and innovative ways of engaging staff, patients, carers or families. 

​Finalist: Jade Perry
Finalist: Jeremy Pallas
​Winner: Angela Morrish

Jade Perry, Aboriginal Health Worker, Aboriginal Health Unit, Singleton Health Service

As a proud Wanaruah woman, Jade is passionate about improving health outcomes for Aboriginal people. She advocates for the consideration of Aboriginal people during service planning, to ensure health services are culturally appropriate. She has facilitated many ‘Shake a Leg’ programs, since commencing at HNE Health and has been instrumental in delivering sessions to over 12 primary schools within the Hunter Valley Sector.


Jeremy Pallas, Nurse Educator, Emergency Department, John Hunter Hospital 

Jeremy is always seeking opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of care provided to patients who present to John Hunter Hospital Emergency Department. Through a multifaceted approach with staff and consumer engagement, he promotes a positive work environment, highlighted by the Acute Incident Response (AIR) project, ED Waiting Room re-design, and Cardiac Arrest Nurse Leadership (CANLEAD) research project.


Angela Morrish, Clinical Nurse Specialist, Boggabilla Community Health Centre

Angela works in Boggabilla, a small rural community with a high Aboriginal population. She has been instrumental in improving service delivery and outcomes, by instigating the introduction of podiatry and pharmacy services and increasing GP medical services. She is motivated to improve the health and wellbeing of the community, is highly knowledgeable and goes above and beyond for patients every day.

Volunteer Leader of the Year

The Volunteer of the Year award recognises the significant contribution of a team or individual to volunteering within HNE Health. This award acknowledges a team or individual who provides excellent support for patients, carers and families; acts as a role model for volunteering; promotes volunteer services and inspires other volunteers and uses new and innovative ways to engage patients, carers and families. 

​Finalist: John Hunter Children's Hospital Volunteers
​Finalist: Fred Krausert
​Winner: John Hunter Site Carers

John Hunter Children’s Hospital Volunteers

The John Hunter Children’s Hospital volunteer group provides unique volunteering services and work directly with and alongside clinical staff. They receive specialised training which allows them to work alongside families who have children with serious illnesses. A volunteer is often one of the first people a family will see and they provide assistance in caring for children when tired parents need a break.


Mr Fred Krausert, Chair, Cessnock and Kurri Kurri Local Health Committee

Fred is the Chair of the Local Health Committee for the Cessnock Local Government Area. He is a passionate supporter of pensioner rights and is often called upon to talk to community groups about health issues and projects. He always speaks from the heart and with great results. Fred was instrumental in the development of a discharge tool, which has helped make discharge paperwork more ‘patient friendly’.


John Hunter Site Carers 

The John Hunter Site Carers provide excellent support for patients, carers, families and staff at the hospital. They do this through the engagement of approximately 30 volunteer programs, which involve assisting patients and staff to achieve the best possible outcomes. They are excellent fundraisers whose efforts last financial year were higher than any other regional hospital in NSW. 

High Value Health Care Awards

Patients as Partners

Recognising that patients are partners in their health care, this award aims to acknowledge projects or programs which promote collaboration between the patient and the health care team to improve health.

​Finalist: Changing our Health Stories
Finalist: Nephrology Consumer Forum
Winner: Drop-in Speech Pathology Clinics

Changing our Health Stories: “I’m going to get checked. Wanna come?" Aboriginal Health Unit

Aiming to improve prevention and early detection of chronic disease and screenable cancers in Aboriginal communities of HNE Heath, this program was developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with the Aboriginal community, health workers and content experts. The program promotes integration with other health service providers and the building of relationships between the Aboriginal community and service providers. 


Nephrology Consumer Forum, John Hunter Hospital

A patient and carer forum was formed with the aim to actively engage consumers in decisions on safety and quality and designing care and research priorities. Approximately 100 patients and/or carers attended the forum, resulting in services and care being designed and delivered with the needs of consumers in mind.


Drop-in Speech Pathology Clinics, Tamworth Speech Pathology Child and Family Health Clinic

The drop-in clinic commenced in Tamworth in 2019, following feedback from stakeholders about lengthy wait times, which had led to some families to disengaging with the service. The evaluation was very positive and highlighted the clinic’s flexibility, improving easy access for families, and enabling targeted and follow-up early intervention.

Delivering Integrated Care

Integrated care involves the provision of seamless, person-centred care across different health settings, focused on preventing illness and deterioration of health and delivering flexible, continuous and appropriate care in the right place at the right time. This award recognises integrated systems that deliver truly connected care. 

Finalist: Improving access to timely and effective care for shoulder disease​
​Finalist: Improving Refugee Access to Child Health Nursing
Winner: Improving access to ENT outpatient services

Improving access to timely and effective care for shoulder disease, John Hunter Hospital/Belmont Hospital Physiotherapy Department

This integrated, multi-disciplinary approach between orthopaedics, physiotherapists and GPs, effectively manages shouldercomplaints with evidence-based, conservative care. The large number of patients referred without previously undergoing conservative care supported the need for this integrated care approach.


Improving Refugee Access to Child Health Nursing, Wallsend Child and Family Health Nursing

Upon settlement in Newcastle, it was found that 50 per cent of refugee families with children < 5 years of age were not attending their initial Child Health visit for Primary Health Screening. The Child Health Nursing team trialled solutions from June 2019 to January 2020, which saw the attendance rate increase to 92 per cent. 


Improving access to ENT Outpatient Services, John Hunter Hospital

The John Hunter Hospital and Armidale Hospital Paediatric Telehealth clinic was established to ensure better access to ENT specialty care for patients within the New England region. With support from John Hunter hospital specialists, the clinic reduced travel time and upskilled GPs to diagnose and manage patients with ENT-related conditions.

Patient Safety First

Providing world-class clinical care where patient safety comes first is a key priority for HNE Health and patient safety is everybody’s business. This award acknowledges a commitment to putting Patient Safety First every day.

Finalist: ​District systems for correct ECG identification
​Finalist: Internal Coach for Falls, Clinical Practice and Leadership Team, Nursing and Midwifery Services
Winner: Maternity Assessment Bay - Keeping Women Safe, Maternity and Gynaecology Services

District systems for correct ECG identification, Cardiology, John Hunter Hospital

A multipronged approach was adopted to ensure accurate ECG identification and improve patient safety. For this project, barcode scanners were provided to all EDs to scan patient labels, and ECG machines connected to WiFi to automatically download to HNE central storage (Carestream). The integration of patient management system data (iPM) and Carestream allowed staff to easily verify each ECG with the appropriate patient.


Excellence In Action: Internal Coach for Falls, Clinical Practice and Leadership Team, Nursing and Midwifery Services

An internal coach model was implemented across the District in 2017-2019, to help to reduce inpatient falls. Inpatient falls across the District since 2016 have declined steadily and this can be credited to the strong leadership, governance and accountability of this model.


Maternity Assessment Bay: Keeping Women Safe, Maternity and Gynaecology Services, John Hunter Hospital

The Maternity Assessment Bay was established to improve the safety of women in preparation for birth by induction of labour, by redesigning the cervical ripening process. A follow up audit showed a reduction in adverse events and complaints, a decrease in the caesarean section rate and increased satisfaction amongst care providers and clients.

Keeping People Healthy

This awards acknowledges HNE Health’s commitment to promoting good health through raising awareness of healthy choices, preventing ill health and improving the overall health and wellbeing of the community.

​Finalist: SWAP-IT! A technology based solution to healthy lunchboxes
Finalist: ​A Moment of Malnutrition, Community Acute Post-Acute Care Service
Winner: COVID clinics - A massive drive-through response

SWAP-IT! A technology based solution to healthy lunchboxes, HNE Population Health

SWAP-IT is an innovative healthy lunchbox program, delivered via an existing school-parent communication app, to support families of primary school children to ‘SWAP in healthy foods and SWAP out discretionary foods’. SWAP-IT has been piloted, optimised and scaled-up across three LHDs and more than 150 schools have implemented the program.


A Moment of Malnutrition, Community Acute Post-Acute Care Service, Greater Newcastle Community and Aged Care Service

The CAPAC service supports the acute hospital network through programs that reduce the need for inpatient care. In collaboration with program managers, a new screening and referral tool was developed, resulting in a 50 per cent increase in referrals to dietitians in the 12 months following implementation.


COVID clinics: A massive drive-through response, Belmont Hospital

With the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic and the need for community access to COVID-19 testing, Belmont Hospital developed an innovative swabbing model to protect staff and patients, by eliminating the risk of exposure from positive cases in the hospital. Over 13,000 patients were swabbed in the drive-through clinic and 98.8 per cent of people reported that the clinic was well organised.

Supporting Our People

Developing and supporting our people and culture is a priority for HNE Health, an employer of over 140,000 staff. By supporting the people working for HNE Health, this award acknowledges positive interactions in the workplace and the improvement of health outcomes.

Finalist: ​Procurement – The Protectors of the LHD
Finalist: The Acute Incident Response (AIR) Program
Winner: Defining the Gap - Planning and Reporting Framework

Procurement – The Protectors of the LHD, District Procurement Services

The District’s Procurement Team was at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring staff had access to appropriate levels of personal protective equipment (PPE) at a time when there were major disruptions to the global supply chain. From mid-February, the procurement team created and maintained a centralised ordering process of PPE items for the entire District to help our services respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Acute Incident Response (AIR) Program, John Hunter Hospital

The AIR program involved the development and evaluation of a two-stage framework, guiding a peer-driven, inter-professional response to support staff following ‘acute incidents’ in the ED setting. After implementation, perceived support within the team improved by 14 per cent, perceived leadership support improved by 18 per cent, and access to debriefing doubled.


Defining the Gap: Planning and Reporting Framework, Aboriginal Health Performance Improvement Program, Aboriginal Health

The Aboriginal Health Unit led an extensive body of work to determine, define and interpret the health needs of the District’s Aboriginal community. The framework provides structure, visibility and accountability to address health priorities and improve Aboriginal outcomes. It is a multi-faceted approach to the planning and reporting of HNE Health’s Closing the Gap Strategy.

A Safe and Healthy Workplace

HNE Health is committed to ensuring a safe and healthy environment for patients and staff. This award aims to acknowledge the strong safety and healthy culture that underpins HNE Health’s commitment to providing a safe working environment for all staff.

Finalist: ​Improved Safety in Cessnock Imaging Department
​Finalist: Improving Safety in Times of Personal Duress
Winner: ​Keeping Staff Safe - Reducing Needlestick Injuries

Improved Safety in the Cessnock Imaging Department, Cessnock Hospital

The Cessnock Hospital Imaging Department has seen an increase of non-emergency presentations from the corrective centre by 58 per cent, since 2018. As such, it was determined that security arrangements needed to be improved. This project has improved systems and efficiencies, to support better workplace safety and health outcomes.


Improving Safety in Times of Personal Duress, Peel Integration and Risk

The aim of this project was to improve staff compliance in wearing personal duress tags in high risk areas. The project was designed to determine why staff were failing to wear them, to resolve the issues identified and to develop better, simpler local procedures that would assist both users and managers to oversee improved systems.


Keeping Staff Safe - Reducing Needlestick Injuries, Staff Health and Wellbeing

The Keeping Staff Safe team aimed to reduce needle stick injuries through the mandated use of standardised Safety Engineered Sharps Devices (SESDs) across the District. A comprehensive strategy was developed involving education, awareness and the development of mandated procedures and systems. There has been a rapid reduction in exposure reports following the completion of the project.

Health Research and Innovation

Collaboration between researchers, policy makers, service users, health managers and clinicians in research is critical and can lead to findings that are more likely to be innovative and positively inform health decisions. This includes innovative future focused infrastructure and digital health initiatives.

Finalist: ​Ain't no new mum got time for that! Infection Prevention Service
Finalist: ​Increasing ease and quality of mental health triaging using an online application
Winner: Implementation of Telestroke across HNE and MNC Local Health Districts

Ain't no new mum got time for that! Infection Prevention Service, Infection Control Tamworth Hospital

C-section infection prevention is a unique and vitally important approach to reduce the costly burden of surgical site infection for women and for HNE Health. This rural project reduced the Surgical Site Infection (SSI) post c-section by 70 per cent through the development, implementation and evaluation of an infections prevention intervention bundle.


Increasing the ease and quality of mental health triaging using an online application, Hunter New England Mental Health Service

Through the collective effort of key stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, Agency for Clinical Innovation, consumer representatives and Aboriginal Health, this team developed an online mental health triaging system. Pilot data indicates improved efficiency, improved consumer satisfaction, and feasibility.


Implementation of Telestroke across Hunter New England and Mid North Coast Local Health Districts, Neurology, John Hunter Hospital

A Telestroke network was implemented by measuring three months of clinical outcomes of thrombolysis-treated patients in rural hospitals. Clinical outcomes and safety compared very favourably to outcomes achieved in the pivotal clinical trials, indicating that with appropriate support mechanisms, rural patients can receive highly effective therapies safely and effectively.

Excellence in the Provision of Mental Health Services

Mental Health is a priority area for both HNE Health and the NSW Government. This award recognises and showcases innovation in improving the quality and safety of mental health patient care within new programs.

​​Finalist: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Assessment Team/Clinic
Winner: Maruung maruung (Good good Deadly) Yarn Up Feel Deadly App


Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Assessment Team/Clinic

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) Assessment Team and Clinic was established in March 2020, in response to John Hunter Hospital’s preparation for the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of the team was to allow the consultation and liaison service to provide mental health assessments outside the ED at all times, and to decrease the risk of exposure to COVID-19 for the young people presenting.


Maruung maruung (Good good Deadly) Yarn Up Feel Deadly App, Aboriginal Mental Health Service and Workforce

The Yarn Up Feel Deadly app was developed to enhance consumer and carer engagement and reduce crises and readmission rates to mental health services. The app provides a culturally considerate resource with a particular focus on Aboriginal communities and connecting Aboriginal and Non Aboriginal people to mental health services as well to each other by learning from their lived experiences.


Implementation of Telestroke across Hunter New England and Mid North Coast Local Health Districts, Neurology, John Hunter Hospital

A Telestroke network was implemented by measuring three months of clinical outcomes of thrombolysis-treated patients in rural hospitals. Clinical outcomes and safety compared very favourably to outcomes achieved in the pivotal clinical trials, indicating that with appropriate support mechanisms, rural patients can receive highly effective therapies safely and effectively.

Sustainability and Environmental Health

Recognising that climate change and unsustainable resource use are contributing to ill-health the world over, this award aims to acknowledge environmental sustainability projects, practices and programs which promote healthcare without harm.

​Finalist: PVC Recycling, Calvary Mater Newcastle
Finalist: Maintenance Team, Morisset Hospital
Winner: Ongoing Drought Inspires Innovation From Desperation

PVC Recycling, Calvary Mater Newcastle

More than 4000 kilograms of recyclable plastics including IV bags, face masks and oxygen tubing have been collected since a PVC Recycling Program was introduced at Calvary Mater Newcastle in 2018. The recycled, high-grade PVC material is 100 per cent reusable and is reprocessed into products including children’s play matting and surgical masks, which are donated to developing countries.


Maintenance Team, Morisset Hospital

Hunter New England Mental Health Services at Morisset Hospital, joined the Hunter Water 2018-19 Large Customer Water Efficiency program. This was due to a significant increase in water usage since 2017. Rectifying and controlling significant water usage has assisted financial sustainability and also means the site is doing their bit to support drought relief efforts.


Ongoing Drought Inspires Innovation From Desperation, Tamworth Hospital

In recognising that climate change and unsustainable resource use are contributing to ill-health the world over, staff and volunteers alike are continuously looking for ways to reduce the hospital’s environmental footprint. With the local water supply, Chaffey Dam, hitting 12.5 per cent and dropping, a potential source of internal re-use water was identified by the Tamworth Hospital renal dialysis team. Tapping into this resource reduces the strain on the local domestic water supply as well as water costs to the hospital.