There is lots of information in this bulletin as we have made some significant decisions in the last 24 hours. None of these decisions have been made lightly and they have all been made to ensure we are providing the safest work environment possible for all of you and the safest clinical care environment for our patients and the community.
N95/P2 mask plus eye protection for all staff in clinical areas
Given that community transmission in the western region is continuing and across multiple suburbs, Western Health is taking a precautionary approach and asking that all staff working in clinical areas across all Western Health sites (including staff of Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Caroline Springs) wear an N95/P2 mask and eye protection (face shield preferred), effective immediately.
This directive also applies to all staff working in the community across various settings regardless of location, and includes staff at our testing centres and vaccination hubs. Until further notice, this also includes all staff in the Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s building (clinical and non-clinical areas).
This change to PPE guidelines is temporary, with the primary goal of keeping our staff safe.
Staff working in public areas or administration areas where patient care is not being delivered will continue wearing surgical masks, and staff alone in an office with the doors closed are still exempt from wearing masks.
The PPE supply team is working hard to get more N95/P2 masks to your local areas, so please be patient with the team as they are fielding a high volume of requests. If more PPE stock is required, please go through the standard ordering process which is detailed here. This process also covers the ordering of reusable face shields.
We are mindful that many staff are not familiar with using N95/P2 masks. Please familiarise yourself with the multiple PPE educational resources on our PPE site which include handy posters and videos for staff as well as our PPE online module. Read the Fit Checking QRG and remember that fit-checking your N95/P2 masks at the start of every shift is essential to ensure a proper fit to keep you safe.
Please also take time to read the Everyday things to keep us safe Quick Reference Guide which contains tips to prevent spread, and let’s not forget the fundamentals such as hand hygiene and physical distancing.
PPE education and support for staff will also be increased, but in the meantime check with the trained PPE Spotters in your area. The Infection Prevention team will also ensure PPE posters are displayed in clinical areas.
If you haven’t been fit-tested for your N95/P2 mask please make a booking through these links (N.B. staff can book through either link for Joan Kirner) JKWC JKWC1 WCHRE, Sunshine Footscray and if you can’t find a well-fitting N95/P2 mask while you wait for your fit-testing appointment, please wear a surgical mask with a face shield to keep yourself safe. Please refer to this process for escalating concerns regarding a poorly-fitting N95/P2 mask.
Staff of Bacchus Marsh, Melton and Caroline Springs should continue with current processes regarding N95/P2 fitting.
For any questions regarding fit-testing please email email@example.com or for urgent queries, call Helen Morton on 0421 977 979
Many thanks for your patience while we work through this current situation and please contact Dr Paul Eleftheriou at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about this change or the Western Health PPE guidelines.
Please note that the dedicated staff testing hour at Sunshine COVID testing clinic (from 9am to 10am every day this week) is only for staff – not for the children or other family members of staff.
The Sunshine Hospital COVID testing clinic- open 9am to 6.30pm. Staff can enter via the main hospital. In order to support physical distancing and separation from the community queues, at times of high demand, staff may be asked to queue outside.
The Joan Kirner asymptomatic testing service is for staff who work at Joan Kirner who have not been identified as a Tier 1 or 2 contact. Any JKWC staff member who has been identified as Tier 1 or 2 exposure and / or who is symptomatic, should go to the Sunshine COVID Testing Clinic. JKWC asymptomatic testing is a dedicated facility for asymptomatic JKWC staff at work. Please don’t come in off shift to access this testing. Opening hours for this clinic are 7.30am to 4.30pm and this will be available until this Friday.
A reminder that it is of utmost importance that any staff who are symptomatic or who have been at a Tier 1 or 2 exposure site, should go to the Sunshine Hospital COVID testing clinic please.
We request patience with our staff enquiries team due to the unprecedented number of enquiries.
If you have been to any of the growing list of exposure sites, please do the following:
- Do not attend work
- Get tested as soon as possible at the Sunshine Hospital COVID testing clinic
- Contact email@example.com and include the following detail:
- Work location
- Exposure site and date
- Contact number/s
COVID related leave
With many of our employees being asked to isolate at home in accordance with Tier 1 or Tier 2 COVID sites, please call or email your People and Culture business partners PCCbusinesspartners@wh.org.au if you are needing more information regarding COVID related leave entitlements.
Staff are reminded to please use the QR codes into the Cafés. The Cafés are privately run businesses and must comply with the requirement for all patrons to complete the QR code or record their details prior to entry. We ask staff to provide their support in this area.
Responding to the pandemic continues to be an incredibly challenging time for all of us and I’d just like to remind you that your safety and wellbeing is at the forefront of our minds.
It’s important you exercise care for yourself and others as we face this continuing challenge together. Now more than ever we need to be kind, be considerate and be compassionate towards our colleagues and patients. If you, someone in your team, or a family member, needs assistance, please do not hesitate to contact either;
The Western Health Wellbeing team on firstname.lastname@example.org
OR our Employee Assistance Provider (EAP), Caraniche at Work. To access the EAP program you can self-refer by contacting Caraniche At Work directly to schedule an appointment with one of the available psychologists or contact the Western Health Wellbeing team on email@example.com for assistance in arranging support services.
- Phone: 1800 099 444 (available 24 hours a day, 7 days)
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Online booking: https://work.caraniche.com.au/make-a-booking/
- Note: email and web bookings are responded to during business hours only.
Thanks everyone for reading this extensive bulletin and sharing this information with your teams.
We will keep you updated in the coming days.