October 21, 2020

Today I’d like to alert you to two important updates on our microsite.

Firstly, there have been important amendments to our visitor guidelines.

I would like to highlight two important changes:

  • Visitors will no longer need an exemption.
  • Visiting hours have now been extended to 2pm-8pm.

Different rules apply for confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, outpatients, emergency department patients and maternity and paediatric patients. These are outlined clearly in the simplified tables in the updated guidelines in this new visitation QRG and the key tables are included in this bulletin below.

We will be encouraging families to coordinate their visiting plans so that visitor numbers are not exceeded.

I really want to thank the NUMs who have helped us in revising these guidelines – ensuring we are striking a balance between supporting visits, keeping a COVID safe environment and making it ‘do-able’! Please take the time to familiarise yourselves with these guidelines, as facilitating appropriate and safe visitation is an important component of providing Best Care for our patients.

Secondly, we also have a quick reference guide that brings together all you need to know about our COVID-normal daily work practices. This pandemic has changed how we work in many ways – and the precautions we all need to take. The Daily Staff Checklist covers everything from symptom checking, daily attestation, PPE, washing of hands and surfaces, physical distancing, meal breaks, COVID-testing and staff support. This section will be regularly updated.

Now that Western Health does not have any COVID-positive patients, and as community transmission rates continue to fall across Victoria, we have made the decision to change the status of Sunshine’s Ward 3E from a dedicated COVID ward back to its previous clinical configuration and status. We will continue to monitor the need for our remaining COVID defined wards.

Finally a reminder that Western Health’s Research and Best Care Conference is being held (virtually) next week. This will be a great opportunity to hear about the great innovations and achievements related to our COVID response. See the program here.



COVID-19 Daily Summary

  • Number of Respiratory Assessment Clinic presentations yesterday – all sites: 307
  • Numbers of confirmed COVID-19 inpatients: 0
  • Wards/areas closed due to outbreaks: nil
  • Numbers of staff who have tested positive for COVID 19: 189
  • Numbers of staff who are currently on leave for COVID 19: 1
  • Numbers of staff who have returned to work post COVID 19: 188

Visitor guidelines

Western Health is working to protect the health of patients and staff as the COVID-19 outbreak continues.

Rules of entry to all Western Health sites (except Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital):

Visitors may attend the health service for the purpose of providing care and support for the patient’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual or social wellbeing (including mental health) that optimises the care delivered by the health care team and cannot reasonably be provided via electronic means.

Patients with confirmed COVID-19 or suspected COVID-19 are only permitted visitors if an exemption is granted.

Rules of entry to Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital:

In addition to the visitation rules below, children may only attend adult appointments or visit patients on wards or in clinic areas when an exemption has been pre-arranged.

Please refer to the visitation QRG for full details.



Strategic Direction 2021-2023

A reminder about the virtual pop-up sessions, designed to help inform Western Health’s Strategic Direction 2021-2023, are continuing. The executive team is keen to hear your thoughts as we prepare our health service for the future, so please take a look at the times and themes and join a session online. You are very welcome to join multiple sessions.

In addition to the pop-ups, you can contribute to Western Health’s Strategic Direction via the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/8H3MFYD

CEO webinars

If you missed Russell Harrison’s webinar yesterday, you can catch up here.

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.

Outpatient and home visit screening tool

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

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.

Register for Walk West

A reminder that the Western Health Foundation has opened registrations for the WalkWest Virtual Landmarks Challenge, an exciting alternative to the live WalkWest this year.

Get a team together to join the challenge over 21 days from November 10-30, and see if you can walk the marathon distance of 42km in 21 days – the distance between Flemington Racecourse and Werribee Zoo. The Western Health Board has already entered a team as have the Executive team so I will be attempting the challenge too. You can walk the distance at home, work or in your local neighbourhood – in line with State Government COVID-19 regulations.

Find out more and register here.