Category: News

Surgical Grand Rounds, Monday 8th July.

Our invited speaker, Dr Saxon Connor, is an hepatobiliary surgeon from Christchurch, New Zealand.  He is the clinical e-health lead for the Canterbury district health board where he is playing a key role in helping to establish a digital health system. He has also been involved with tech companies bringing electronic workflow solutions for clinicians from concept to production. The title of his talk is “Why surgeons need to be leading the digital transformation to a data driven health system”.  Grand rounds are held in the Norman Nock Lecture Room on level 5  of the Kolling Building and will commence at 5:00 pm. 

Acute Surgical Unit receives NSLHD Quality Improvement Award.


The Acute Surgical Unit (ASU) at Royal North Shore Hospital (RNSH) was the “Local Solutions”  winner in the 2019 Northern Sydney Local Health District Quality and Improvement Awards for the project titled —  ‘Better managing gastrointestinal surgery”. Congratulations to Olivia Kirkland and team.

Prior to the establishment of the ASU, the large number of emergency gastrointestinal procedures performed at RNSH meant that elective surgery patients had to be rescheduled or procedures performed out of hours.  The Acute Surgical Unit was established to address these challenges through a range of measures which included a dedicated theatre and a data-driven quality improvement process. In addition, an online web application was developed to provide clinicians with ready access to relevant protocols and procedures. This data-driven approach has helped improve the care of acute surgical patients at RNSH. In particular, it has resulted in a 40 per cent reduction in elective surgery cancellations and a 45% reduction in unnecessary after-hours surgeries.

International Clinical Trials Day @RNSH2019

The SERT Institute was a sponsor of the RNSH 2019 Clinical trials day. The Department of Surgery was well represented. Special thanks go to Linda Pallot (RNSH Vascular, Surgery) and Rebeka Tenant (Manager, Research Strategy and Partnerships, NSLHD). 

International Clinical Trials Day

James Lind

International Clinical Trials Day (2019) will be celebrated in the front foyer of the Acute Services Building between 10 am and 2 pm. It will highlight the excellent clinical research conducted on the Royal North Shore Hospital Campus.

International clinical trials day is held each year on the 20th of May to celebrate the day in 1753 that James Lind commenced the first documented clinical trial. This study convincingly demonstrated that scurvy could be treated with citrus fruit [Lind, 1753]. Scurvy is a horrible disease, the mortality associated with this condition on long sea voyages during the “Age of Sail” was approximately 50% [Price 2017]. Lind’s study conclusively demonstrated the striking contrast between the severity of the disease and the simplicity of its cure. Without recognition of the importance of the scientific methodology behind the clinical trial, it took an additional forty years of experiments, analysis, and political lobbying for his result to become institutionalized in the Royal Navy [Cegłowski, 2010]. It was not until 1795 that the Royal Navy routinely administered citrus fruit to sailors  [Hemila, 2006]. Sadly, since antiquity, it has been documented that fresh fruit will prevent scurvy. In the absence of the evidence provided by the “scientific methodology”, these observations were forgotten or ignored by subsequent generations [Cegłowski, 2010]. Continue reading

RNSH SERT Institute Newsletter

Professor Tom Hugh

I welcome you to the 5th Newsletter of the Royal North Shore Hospital SERT Institute.

We have made significant progress in our endeavours to promote academic surgery on the campus. I encourage you to become a part of our vision and am interested to hear your thoughts on how we can continue to improve this service.


Kind Regards

Tom Hugh

Chair of Surgery, Sydney Medical School – Northern, The University of Sydney
Director of the RNSH SERT Institute.
Royal North Shore Hospital, St Leonards NSW, 2065
+61 2 9463 2899 (tel) | +61 2 9438 2278 (fax)

Professor Jason Sicklick will be speaking at Surgical Grand Rounds

Dr Jason Sicklick, general surgeon and surgical oncologist from University of California San Diego will be visiting  Royal North Shore Hospital on the 18th of February and speaking at Surgical Grand Rounds (5-6pm in the Kolling Auditorium).  Jason specialises in the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GIST),  primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma, HCC)  and in the role of genomic medicine in the provision of personalised care for cancer patients. The topic of his talk is `It’s More than Personal: Putting the “I” in Precision Oncology’.

RNSH Hospital Welcomes the New Junior Medical Surgical Staff

Professors Hugh and Samra covering the RMO evening shift during the annual RMO handover party. The “Hello Goodbye Party” is a tradition at the RNS. At the end of each year, senior medical staff volunteer to provide cover on the wards to facilitate as many of the junior medical staff to attend the party.  This year doctors Tom Hugh, Jas Samra, Stephen Ruff and John Vandervord were the senior surgeons.

Medical Education Must Move From the Information Age to the Age of Artificial Intelligence

“Although the dictum “see one, do one, teach one” may have characterized the way physicians learned clinical skills in the past, it is now clear that, for training to be effective, learners at all levels must have the opportunity to compare their performance against a standard and to continue to practice until competence is achieved.” – Wartman et al, 2018.

(1) Wartman, Steven A., and C. Donald Combs. “Medical Education Must Move From the Information Age to the Age of Artificial Intelligence.” Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 93.8 (2018): 1107–1109. Web. <>.

(2) “Artificial Intelligence, Brain.”  Web Image. 4 Dec. 2018. <>.

Ten simple rules for collaboratively writing a multi-authored paper

Twelve researchers provide ten tips for collaboratively writing a multi-authored paper (1). They provide a structured approach to building a successful collaborative team. Their advice ranges from an approach to team selection to the use of appropriate digital tools.

  1. Frassl, Marieke A. et al. “Ten Simple Rules for Collaboratively Writing a Multi-Authored Paper.” PLoS computational biology 14.11 (2018): e1006508. Web.

Surgical Training

The SERT Institute is dedicated to the mentoring and training the next generation of surgeons. An important part of this role is our participation in the University of Sydney postgraduate medical program. The courses lead to the post-graduate degree Masters of Surgery in a number of surgical sub-specialities. Dr Anthony Glover is the co-ordinator of this program at the SERT Institute. He is an endocrine surgeon, with an interest in the molecular biology of endocrine cancers. Anthony is involved in endocrine cancer research. He is a current NHMRC Neil Hamilton Fairley Early Career Fellow and Senior Research Officer with the Cancer Division of the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.