(This week’s bulletin is from Natasha while Russell is on leave.)
It’s been a confronting two weeks for many of us and the broader population of Melbourne and I am proud of the continuing efforts by Western Health staff to support the response to the coronavirus outbreak across the region. All staff members, clinical and non-clinical are providing an invaluable contribution to ensure our community continues to receive the care they need, when they need it and in a safe and supportive manner.
Today I want to convey a really important message about protecting yourselves. Western Health has released very clear personal protective equipment (PPE) advice and I am happy to see so many staff following this appropriately. However, I want to remind you that when you are at work, your greatest risk of contracting COVID-19 is from each other when you are not wearing PPE. Just because you are on a lunch break, have finished your shift or are doing a handover with a colleague does not mean there is no risk – so please remember the principles of physical distancing, good hygiene and continue to wear your PPE at all times. This is a statement backed clearly by two of our most senior experts: Clinical Services Director, Emergency, Medicine and Access, Dr Garry Lane, who is also an Infectious Diseases specialist; and Head of Unit for Infectious Diseases, Dr Marion Kainer. Garry and Marion are imploring all of us to protect ourselves and our colleagues at all times.
For these reasons, we are today commencing new procedures for how we will use our tea and break rooms. (You will find the new guidelines and the log sheets that will be required, under B for Break rooms in our Quick Reference Guides.) These areas have proven to be a high risk environment for transmission – both in our health service and others. These new procedures will be rolled out from today and implementation assistance will be provided in coming days by our OHS and Health Support Services colleagues. We are also exploring ways to provide more undercover outdoor areas for breaks.
Webinars by Dr Marion Kainer
Dr Marion Kainer has held a number of targeted webinars over the last few days, to communicate the sheer importance of all measures to reduce the risk of transmission. These are brief and informative and I would encourage you to view them through this link and urge your colleagues to do the same.
The slide packs used by Marion are also available here.
Surge preparation continues
In the last 48 hours we have seen an increase in admissions to our hospitals related to COVID 19. I can assure you that Western Health’s preparation and surge planning for potential increases in COVID presentations is exemplary and we are very well placed to respond. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone that has been involved in the process- staff who have undergone specialist training, teams that have coordinated the additional equipment and clinical experts who have developed the patient pathways. All come together to ensure we will be able to provide comprehensive and safe care to our community both now and into the future.
Here are some more images of that preparation under way and once again, thank you to the teams of staff from areas such as Health Support Services who continue to focus on setting everything up.
Social Media Reminder
This is a time of uncertainty and stress for many members of our community, and a time when unity and collaboration is more important than ever. As staff who work in a major health service, we all play a role in supporting the broader community’s wellbeing and efforts as we try to overcome this pandemic. I would like to remind you that when you make a comment on social media and it is clear that you are a Western Health staff member, the community could perceive your message as carrying a level of endorsement from Western Health. In those circumstances, it is not acceptable to issue social media messages contradicting expert advice or directives provided by Western Health or the Victorian or Australian Governments. Please join me as we continue to provide clear and consistent messages to our community at this time regarding the importance of accessing care when they need it and the actions they can take to minimise risk to themselves and others.
Russell’s COVID Catch-Ups
While Russell is on annual leave this week, recently he conducted another two COVID Catch-Ups with small groups of staff: this time one was with representatives of the RMOs and the second catch-up was with some of our interpreters. Both episodes have lots of great insights.