Covid Messages from Russell

COVID – Messages from Russell 6 April

April 6, 2020

I wanted to share some further information with you about the great work that Western Health is doing in these unprecedented times. I am incredibly proud of how the organisation is lifting and pulling together to get things done for each other, our patients our community and also for Victoria.

There is a phenomenal amount of work going on right across the organisation as teams of staff work long hours to put us in the best possible position to manage a significant surge of COVID patients, should this occur. This is translating through to very high volumes of work in a myriad of areas right throughout our campuses and workforce.

Our IT teams have been working hard to support the readiness of wards that we may need to open. People and Culture processed almost 300 contracts last week – as much as they usually process in a month.

Our Engineering and Logistics teams are going above and beyond to get everything into place and test all of the systems we need to provide care.

Clinical teams have established clear patient management protocols and pathways, and have also started to come up with innovative and very agile ideas for products to support care.

I would also like to issue a big thank you to our educators and trainers right around the organisation, who are conducting an extremely high volume of workshops to help prepare staff for what could lie ahead and to best equip them for new clinical areas they could be working in.

Our wellness hubs are also supporting large numbers of staf every day and it’s important that we fully utilise these to ensure we connect and support each other.

3D Face visors

A number of our staff are working with community and University teams to obtain 3D printed face visors to add to our stocks of PPE. Below is a prototype from this work.

Intensivist Dr Forbes McGain & Infection Control staff are overseeing modifications to designs so that they will be of the highest quality.

Scrubs for staff

We are keen to maximise the scrubs available for staff, while also asking for your cooperation in not using scrubs unnecessarily.     I am pleased to say that the Foundation have had 1,000 metres of quality cotton donated from Spotlight and are working to distribute it to a few local clothing manufacturers who have offered to assist with production. Liaison has occurred with the COVID team to check correct patterns. Will keep these on hand to distribute as needed.

Spotlight has recently launched an initiative asking people to sew scrubs for health care workers. You are also welcome to tap into this resource. Their page says “If you’re a healthcare hero: register your need at

Community campaign

Over the weekend, Western Health  launched a community hub for Melbourne’s West, as a place where our community can come together, support our staff and show their support for all you are doing.  Go to Facebook to follow the campaign or send the link to family and friends.

Vietnamese community donation

It was a lovely moment last week when our local Vietnamese community once again showed their phenomenal support for us here at Western Health, by donating more than 10,000 items they had made for us. We may never need to use these supplies but the gesture is a welcome morale boost during these difficult times.

Foundation leading appeal for Western Health Emergency Response Fund

One of the components of the newly launched community site is a focus on the community appeal currently being run by the Western Health Foundation. Please share this appeal information with others.