Covid Messages from Russell

Messages from Russell – 23 April

April 23, 2020

The incredible amount of energy and effort across Western Health to prepare for our response to COVID-19 continues on many and quite diverse fronts, and has been humbling to observe and be part of.

Our clinical and non-clinical staff continue caring for COVID-19 patients across our services. This is not easy for our colleagues and has been made even more stark with, sadly, several patients passing away from the disease.  It has however been gratifying to see and hear the messages of appreciation for the compassion and kindness shown by our staff, expressed by the patients’ families and indeed in a number of media outlets as well.  3AW’s Mornings presenter, Heidi Murphy, issued this tweet about a patient who died in one of our ICU’s:

‘My heart goes out to Patricia, whose 84 yo father-in-law died in Sunshine Hospital on Fri from coronavirus. “We had to say goodbye over the phone. We were face-timing.” The nurses were “absolutely beautiful and held his hand for us”.

I know there has been a similar level of appreciation expressed to teams such as those at 2D in Footscray.

Fantastic to see our Telehealth site now launched

Today Western Health launched a central portal for information regarding our Telehealth video call capability.  The new Telehealth website can be found at or by clicking on the Western Health Telehealth tile on the home page of the Western Health internet site

Telehealth has successfully commenced in the Addiction Medicine and Pre-Admission clinics and the Western Health Telehealth team are now liaising with a number of our other services to expand the availability of Telehealth video call access.

The launch of Telehealth at Western Health is part our COVID-19 response. It will improve patient and clinician access to our clinics and services and will continue when the pandemic is over.

Response to our callout for undergraduate nurses

Several weeks ago as we ramped up our planning for our COVID-19 workforce response, we issued a call for undergraduate nurses and midwives who were interested in working as part of our teams in the event of a surge. We were overwhelmed with a positive response to our adverts and received more than 1,000 expressions of interest. With the fantastic response from our communities which looks like Australia successfully flattening the COVID curve, we are now in the hard won position where we do not currently have a need for such increased staffing at this time. Despite this, I want to express my thanks to all those who came forward and we look forward to many of you applying to join us as graduates in the future.

Dr Marion Kainer on national TV

On Monday this week, our Head of Infectious Diseases, Dr Marion Kainer, was interviewed on the national morning program on ABC TV. This was a valuable opportunity for Marion to profile the work of Western Health. We are grateful for the expertise Marion has brought to our organisation at this critical time.


Catch-ups with IT, EMR, Radiology, 2D

Today, I had the opportunity to catch-up with four more groups of staff, this time at the Footscray campus, as part of our mini audio series called COVID Catch-Ups.  This time I spent some time speaking with three or four staff from the Digital Technology team; the EMR and Telehealth team; ward 2D at Footscray; and staff from Footscray Medical Imaging.  It was fantasic and very helpful to hear the various views about what we have learnt through the COVID response phase and what you would like to retain when the crisis phase is over.


I am also pleased to say that recordings of some of last week’s COVID Catch-Ups are now available via our coronavirus site by clicking on the links below.

(Please be sure to let your team colleagues know about the links and assist in sharing the episodes.)





Thank you to all who have expressed support for Western Health staff

Including celebrities and locals, singer Anthony Callea and his partner, Tim Campbell.