September 7, 2020

It has been a mixed weekend for many of us and our families and friends. Some of us were celebrating Father’s Day in a very different way to other years and many of us listened to the announcement that the Stage 4 lockdown and various restrictions will continue longer than we may have expected.

I’m aware that this could compound what has already been a very challenging six months for staff at Western Health. As is the case at all times – not just during this pandemic – I encourage anybody who needs support to contact Western Health’s Health’s Employee Assistance Program. This confidential counselling service is available to all staff and can be accessed by calling 1800 099 444 or emailing work@caraniche.com.au

As challenging as COVID-19 continues to be, I’m very proud of what has been achieved at Western Health – across all areas and at all sites – since our response was established early this year. This includes development of our COVID Safe Plan. This plan outlines all our measures to minimise transmission of COVID-19 at our organisation, and is currently being assessed by Safer Care Victoria (SCV). Representatives from SCV spent four hours visiting various areas at Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s and Footscray Hospital, on Friday. We are also required to submit a detailed self-assessment of our COVID Safe Plan which is being completed currently. In addition we are required to complete an audit of our physical amenities (including our locker rooms, toilets and tea rooms). This will be completed later this week. Thanks to everyone involved in preparing for this evaluation, especially Kate Cranwell, who has led the team.

As announced on Friday, the Department of Health and Human Services now requires all staff at all public health and aged care settings to attest they are well and free of any COVID-19 symptoms before commencing work. I remind you that this is a daily requirement. We are now requesting all team leaders and line managers ensure all staff complete this register.  This can be done verbally, with the team leader asking each staff member, or it can be done by each staff member individually in writing.

I am excited to say that the team have worked all weekend to develop an electronic method of this data submission that is being trialled this afternoon across two clinical Divisions. We hope to have the electronic platform active as soon as possible. Please keep yourself familiar with the guidelines for self-screening for COVID-symptoms.

Finally, a shout out to our excellent Critical Care Outreach Team, who can now be more easily identified in their new uniforms (see photos below). The outreach team, comprised of the ICU Liaison Team, Intensive Care Registrar, CCU Nurse Team and Anaesthetics, have been providing expert support for rapid clinical responses throughout the pandemic. I am receiving lots of positive feedback about the benefits of this extended model- a big thanks and congratulations to the team.

The expertise of other Western Health staff was also acknowledged in the media over the weekend, including the role of physiotherapists in the recovery of COVID patients (The Sunday Age), and Dr Forbes McGain was interviewed about the ‘COVID hood’ on RRR Radio.

Thanks for reading,



COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations over weekend – all sites: 286
  • Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 18
  • Wards/areas closed due to outbreaks: nil
  • Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID 19: 182
  • Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID 19: 12
  • Numbers of staff who have returned to work post COVID 19: 170

Asymptomatic testing for staff

Western Health continues to offer asymptomatic COVID testing through the Sunshine Hospital Respiratory Assessment Clinic for Western Health staff.  Plans are currently being finalised to offer additional asymptomatic testing for staff working in high risk areas on a regular basis.  Please look out for further communication about how to access this service shortly.

PPE updates on microsite

A reminder that the PPE section of our COVID microsite has been updated and now includes an extensive range of resources to help you with the correct selection, and donning and doffing of PPE.

Click here for the latest.

COVID-19 Staff 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.


MAC and Birthing's attitude of gratitude

Staff in MAC and birthing at JKWC are practising gratitude with “Words of gratitude” jars.

The jars were an initiative of Maëlly Bellm, Associate Midwifery Unit Manager, Birthing / Maternity Assessment Centre who is trying to include everyone from ward clerks to PSAs and doctors. Click here for more details.

CEO webinars

A reminder that Russell Harrison will be holding an informal webinar each Tuesday at 2pm.
The webinars are an opportunity to hear about the latest issues and any changes coming our way.
You will also have the chance to submit questions.
Webinar ID 950 2083 4106
Passcode: 653976