October 28, 2020

It’s been a great start to the week with extremely low numbers of COVID cases across Victoria (just two reported since Sunday) and the easing of restrictions today. At Western Health, we thankfully have no known COVID-positive patients at any of our sites.

However as we all know, the pandemic is not over. To keep these numbers low, we all need to remain vigilant – particularly with hand hygiene, social distancing and PPE. That’s why I’d particularly like to thank all 386 staff from across our organisation who have volunteered to act as “PPE Champions”. Our PPE Champions (just like Christina Munday from the Sunshine RAC, pictured below) have been working extremely hard to translate Western Health’s PPE guidance into practice. They’ve been out in our clinical spaces, coaching and observing staff donning, doffing, and fit-checking their PPE on more than 1752 occasions so far! The PPE Champions have also worked to improve the setup of their work environments by putting up posters, arranging installation of mirrors and ensuring ready access to PPE supplies. Feedback from our PPE Champions has already informed changes to organisation-wide PPE guidance. (A PPE Champion Forum is being held tomorrow at 2pm to thank the team for their work – so, champions, please check your email for your individual invitations).

If you have any PPE-related questions or feedback, please get in touch with the PPE Champion representing your work area. The PPE Champion project has recently been handed over from Lauren Guy to Maureen Canning, who will now be the key contact.

Staying COVID safe outside of work is also really important. Please see below some information on staying safe at home produced by DHHS.

Today I also want to say a special thank you to the Critical Care Unit’s MET responders who, as of yesterday, returned to the regular Critical Care Unit rosters. This team has been a crucial component of Western Health’s broader COVID response, and your hard work and expertise has been invaluable. The Critical Care Outreach Team (CCOR) will continue to provide full cover for MET, UCR, rounding and referrals 24/7 at Footscray, Sunshine and Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s. For more details, including contact numbers, please see the bulletin below.

Finally, a reminder that Western Health’s Research and Best Care Conference continues. This afternoon’s session, which covers Western Health’s many COVID Response Initiatives, such as testing, contact tracing and outbreak management, and features Dr Marion Kainer, Kylie Roper and Terri Butcher as speakers, begins at 2pm. Click here for the full program, and for details of how to join the virtual sessions. All staff members are welcome.


Thanks for keeping updated.





COVID-19 Daily Summary

COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 531
  • Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 0
  • Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID-19: 189
  • Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID-19: 0
  • Numbers of staff who have been cleared to return to work post COVID-19: 189

Changes to operating hours of COVID-19 Staff Helpdesk

The operating hours for our dedicated COVID-19 Staff Enquiries Helpdesk have reduced slightly.

During weekdays, the helpdesk will be attended 8am-4.30pm. On weekends and public holidays, this service will be available 9am-1pm.

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.

A reminder that this service is available to all staff.  Confidentiality is assured.


Critical Care Unit MET responders

From yesterday (27 October), the CCU MET responders will return to the CCU rosters. The CCOR Liaison Nurses will continue to provide full cover for MET, UCR, rounding and referrals 24/7 across both Footscray and the Sunshine Hospital (including JKWC). The ICU registrars will continue to provide expert clinical support as required to all areas including Emergency Departments.

The Anaesthetists supporting the CCOR Team have also returned to their substantive role to support the reintroduction of elective surgeries. Anaesthetics can still be contacted via the Anaesthetist in charge phone as required.

The ‘Critical Care Outreach Team’ can be contacted via:

  • Footscray – CCOR Liaison Nurse can be contacted directly on 0434 814 791 or 8345 6588 and by EMR referral.
  • Footscray ICU Registrar can be contacted directly on 8345 6093.
  • Sunshine – CCOR Liaison Nurse can be contacted directly on 0468 568 469 and by EMR referral.
  • Sunshine ICU Registrar can be contacted directly on 8345 0830.

The ‘Anaesthetist In-Charge’ can be contacted via:

  • Footscray – Anaesthetist In-Charge 8345 6540.
  • Sunshine – Anaesthetist In-Charge 9055 3021.

Please note the current process for the escalation of clinical deterioration utilising Urgent Clinical Review (UCR), MET and Code Blue will remain unchanged across Western Health (dial 444).

Home safety during COVID

With restrictions on visitors to our homes easing slightly, it’s worth having a look at the Department of Health and Human Service’s Home Safety Plan for advice on how to keep your family and loved ones safe.

Telehealth Awareness Week

Western Health is this week celebrating our very first Telehealth Awareness Week.  This is an occasion to celebrate our achievements to date and to spread the word about the many benefits of Telehealth and ongoing opportunities for providing care over distance.

Telehealth video call capability was launched in April as part of our COVID-19 response.  Day one we commenced with just one clinic, the Addiction Medicine clinic, now Telehealth is used by over 60 clinics across all sites and approximately 1485 video consultations have been conducted so far.

To see our clinicians so quickly embrace using Telehealth over the last six months has been truly inspiring.  Long beyond COVID-19, Telehealth will continue to be valuable for our patients struggling with transportation, mobility or time.

To hear more about the Western Health Telehealth journey, Chief Medical Informatics Officer, Dr Rick Horton, and the Telehealth Team will be presenting during this week’s Research and Best Care Conference.  Friday 30th October at 2pm.  ‘Telehealth development during our COVID response’ Password: 12345

If you are interested in setting up your Western Health clinic or service with Telehealth Video Call please email the team: telehealth@wh.org.au

Visitor guidelines

A reminder that the visitor rules that currently apply at Western Health’s sites are:

  • one visitor per patient, once a day, for a maximum of two hours, when approval is granted for care, support or compassionate reasons
  • our visiting hours are 4pm-8pm
  • two parents, carers or guardians allowed in newborn services and in the children’s ward.

For more information, please see Western Health’s updated visitor guidelines.

COVID-19 outbreaks

To help you keep updated on the status of outbreaks, a list of current outbreaks is available on the Western Health intranet here. This list is updated daily and should be reviewed as part of the screening process by all areas where patients enter the health service or where staff visit patients at home.

PPE guidelines

While the rates of community transmission have dropped, it’s still vitally important that we all continue to follow the Western Health COVID-19 PPE Guidelines and associated posters. Please keep yourselves updated.

Outpatient and home visit screening tool

The COVID-19 outpatient and home visit screening tool is now on our microsite.