August 19, 2020

Ensuring staff have access to appropriate PPE has been a key priority for Western Health ever since we set up our COVID-19 response early this year. Our guidelines have been under constant review, with oversight from our PPE taskforce and Infection Prevention and Infectious Diseases experts. In some clinical areas, PPE guidelines include the use of N95 masks. Over the coming weeks and months, we will be receiving alternative stocks of N95 masks from a range of suppliers. There will be some differences in the products – and therefore the way they fit. This means in areas where N95 masks are required, vigilance around fit-checking will become even more important. Please take the time to ensure you know how to correctly fit your mask. Ask a colleague to spot for you. Properly fitting your mask is the difference between keeping yourself safe – and exposing yourself to risk. You may have already watched this video for expert advice on the fitting of N95 masks, but it’s worth reviewing.

Today I would like to remind everyone about the importance of getting tested for COVID-19 – and tested early – even if you have only the mildest of symptoms. We have some examples of staff who waited several days to be tested and ended up being confirmed as positive COVID cases. The longer the wait for testing, the more difficult it is for our contact tracers to identify close contacts, and the greater chance of others being infected. Please be pro-active.
If you do need to be tested, please go to one of our sites, at either the Sunshine or Sunbury Respiratory Assessment Clinics. The turnaround for results is much quicker, and it is easier for our contact tracers to access the information they need.

This week we’re welcoming increasing numbers of staff back from COVID-related leave, which is great to see. Please remember to stick to the basics to prevent further infections – follow the guidelines on PPE, think about how you can do everyday things differently, monitor your own symptoms, avoid sharing equipment, keep a distance of at least 1.5m, and be extra vigilant in shared spaces such as tea rooms.

Finally, A Current Affair last night featured Western Health’s ICU teams. It’s great that the general public has the opportunity to have an insight into the remarkable work we are doing.

I want to take this moment to acknowledge the critical work that our non clinical staff also contribute. Without cleaning, without supplies, without ICT, without financial services, without people and culture and all other non clinical services, our hospitals would not be able to operate and provide the care that is being highlighted daily in the media. Thank you to all non clinical staff – your contribution is invaluable.


Thanks for reading.



COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 676
  • Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 61
  • Wards/areas closed due to outbreaks: Hazeldean
  • Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID 19: 160
  • Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID 19: 82
  • Numbers of staff who have returned to work post COVID 19: 78

Compulsory staff survey

We’ve had a tremendous response to the employee declaration survey with over 5000 employees completing the survey this far. It is a mandatory requirement, under the direction of the Public Health Commander and must be completed by all employees. The survey can be accessed here. It only takes less than 2 minutes to complete.
A reminder text message containing the link to where the declaration can be completed will be sent this afternoon to those employees for whom we have a recorded mobile phone contact and are yet to complete the declaration.

Please click here for further information.

COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk

Western Health has a dedicated COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk, which is available to both individual staff and managers. Confidentiality is assured.

Email is recommended as the first point of contact where possible:
Emails will be responded to within 24 hours.

Telephone contact: via Switch 8345 6666, choose option 1 for COVID – then request Staff Enquiries Helpdesk.

Contacting the PPE team

If you have any questions about PPE, or if you would like to request new face shields or goggles, please contact our PPE Team:

For more information about PPE, click here.