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About the Burn Injury Network

The Burn Injury Network works to ensure the highest quality of care is provided to burn injured patients from admission through to hospital discharge, rehabilitation and ongoing support. The Network delivers education across the state to NSW clinicians, develops models of care, clinical practice guidelines and monitors quality of care and clinical variation. The network has a focus on prevention of burn injuries through community education programs and collaboration with key groups inside and outside of health.

Burn Injury

Burns are common injuries in the community. While the majority of burn injuries heal with no or minimal medical intervention, a small proportion of burn survivors sustain devastating and life-threatening injuries, requiring intensive and long-term treatment.

The nature and complexity of severe burn injury requires a collaborative approach to patient care. This is provided by a multi-disciplinary team with expertise in the management of severe burns in a Burn Unit with supporting services such as critical care, surgery, reconstruction and rehabilitation.

Our People

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John Harvey, Co-Chair
Clinical Director Burn Unit
The Children's Hospital at Westmead
Sydney Children's Hospital Network

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Diane Elfleet, Co-Chair
Nurse Unit Manager
Severe Burn Unit
Royal North Shore Hospital
Northern Sydney Local Health District

The ACI Burn Injury Network (Statewide Burn Injury Service) is led by an Executive Committee which includes doctors, nurses, allied health staff, consumers and executive representatives from the three burn units: Sydney Local Health District, Northern Sydney Local Health District and Sydney Children's Hospital Network.

The ACI Burn Injury Network incorporates the Statewide Burn Injury Service made up of the three specialised burn units at Royal North Shore Hospital, Concord Repatriation General Hospital and the Children's Hospital at Westmead.These are the tertiary referral units for all burns in NSW that meet the referral criteria found in the Transfer Guidelines.

The network has members and links with more than 180 clinicians, consumers and representatives from local health districts, Fire and Rescue NSW, Kidsafe, Health Education and Training Institute, NSW Office of Fair Trading, Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, Ambulance Service of NSW, Australian and New Zealand Burn Association, International Society for Burn Injuries, and NGOs involved in support for burn survivors.

Priorities

  • To prevent burn injuries and increase public knowledge of appropriate first aid.
  • To support clinicians, managers and other health professionals both within the Burn Service and other areas to provide best practice care.
  • To collect and use data on all patients treated as in and out patients for acute burn injuries in the three burn units. Contribute clinical and quality data to the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association Bi-National Burn Registry.
  • To support the implementation of the burns peer support program enlisting burn survivors to support and give hope to current acute and rehabilitation admitted burn patients.
  • To analyse current use of telehealth in burn care delivery, identify gaps and potential improvements implement sustainable solutions in the area of telehealth to improve access, efficiency and efficacy of burn care delivery.

Achievements

  • Introduction across the three NSW burns units of a standardised model of care for people with severe burn injuries developed in consultation with other disciplines and consumers.
  • Development and implementation of emergency management and transfer guidelines for burn injuries.
  • Establishment of a tissue culture laboratory at Concord Burns Unit. The lab can culture skin for use in grafting procedures at the three NSW burns units and is also a site for tissue culture research.
  • Clinical practice review committee established to review deaths, adverse outcomes and trends from data and patient transfer issues.
  • Introduction of clinical practice guidelines for allied health and nursing staff caring for burns patients.
  • Integral involvement in writing the National Burn Disaster Plan, AUSBURNPLAN.
  • Prevention committee set up with representation from burn clinicians and other relevant organisations.
  • Domestic treadmill friction burns to children: successful in lobbying the NSW Office of Fair Trading to introduce legislation requiring treadmills to have warning labels and a public safety education campaign.
  • 'LEARN TO STOP BURNS' Primary School Education resource. Computer based program to teach children and their families strategies for burn prevention and first aid treatment. 
  • BURN DANGERS III - A burn prevention program to highlight the risk of burn injuries and reduce the numbers occurring. This program includes a DVD titled: Burns Dangers III: The Hidden Menace and a teachers’ resource manual CD. The project’s primary aim is to raise students’ awareness of burn risk identification and management, strategies to prevent burns and first aid advice in cases where burns occur. This program has been distributed to more than 1000 NSW high schools.
  • Data collection on all patients treated as in and out patients for acute burn injuries in the three burn units. The network also contributes clinical data to the Australian and New Zealand Burn Association Bi-National Burn Registry.

Background

The ACI Burn Injury Network is a leader in education, training and research in burn management. The current network is building on the work of the Statewide Burn Injury Service (SBIS), with previous recurrent funding of $1.5 million provided through the Greater Metropolitan Transition Taskforce – a predecessor of the ACI.

In recognition of the need to address the provision of burn-care in NSW and to ensure that there is a coordinated state-wide approach to the management of patients with a severe burn injury, the Statewide Services Development Branch, under the auspices of the Selected Specialty Steering Committee, developed the NSW Severe Burn Services Plan in 1999.

The Plan outlined a model of service delivery and proposed the configuration of the Burn Units to meet the needs of the community to 2010/11. The Plan recommended that there be an integrated management structure established for the three Burn Units, located at Concord Repatriation General Hospital, Royal North Shore Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Westmead. Through this process, it was envisaged that quality of care would be promoted through the development of standardised treatment protocols, common data collection, cross appointment of clinical staff and collaboration in teaching and research.

In 2000, the Greater Metropolitan Health Services Implementation Group endorsed the NSW Severe Burn Services Plan and its recommendations, including the establishment of the NSW Severe Burn Injury Service (NSW SBIS) to coordinate service provision for the three Burn Units.  

The SBIS Directorate was established in 2003, with the steering group consisting of specialist clinicians from the three designated Severe Burn Units (SBUs), burn injury survivors (consumers), members from the Statewide Services Development Branch and area executives from the three health services hosting the SBUs. In 2009 the Service changed its name from Severe to Statewide to reflect the activities of the SBIS in supporting the management of burn injury throughout NSW through clinical advice and education activities.