COVID-19 Staff Update, 24 June
Today I advised all sites to increase elective surgery across Western Sydney LHD to 100 per cent capacity. Our goal is to safely restore 100 per cent of our pre-COVID surgical activity levels as soon as possible and at the latest by the end of July. Many adjustments have been made to make this possible and I want to thank everyone for your flexibility and patience to get us here. Our objective has always been to ensure the health and wellbeing of staff and patients.
Fifty-nine final year medical students joined our LHD this week in newly created roles to boost our workforce. Working as Assistants in Medicine, students from Western Sydney University, University of Notre Dame and the University of Sydney will support clinical departments and non-COVID wards across the district. This was an initiative of NSW Health to support the medical workforce should we experience a second surge of COVID-19 cases. This is an important program that not only helps us meet the health needs of our community but provides a new way to educate and support our incoming junior medical staff.
A search has begun for Western Sydney LHD’s new Executive Director of Research. Expressions of interest are invited from WSLHD employees for a temporary appointment for up to 12 months, while recruitment for a conjoint academic appointee takes places. This role becomes vacant with the retirement of Emeritus Professor Stephen Leeder. We will be celebrating the extensive contribution Stephen has made to our LHD in the coming weeks. For further information contact Emma McCahon, Executive Director, Medical Services.
WSLHD Chief Executive
COVID-19 Staff Update, 22 June
Forty-seven services have recommenced on a partial or full time basis across Western Sydney LHD with the majority of these being outpatient services. Staff and patient safety remains our top priority and all service resumption activities are being evaluated with this in mind. The facility General Managers have received 60 requests for service resumption to date. We are continuing to work through safely opening services and encourage you to continue to have discussions with your teams and management around this process.
Continue to adapt your workplace activities to help manage the spread of COVID-19. Our advice remains that if you are able to work productively from home please continue to do so. If you are physically attending your workplace follow recommended physical distancing and hygiene practices. Even if you are physically onsite still consider running meetings virtually. Some additional workplace tips for in-person meetings include:
Ensure meeting durations are kept to one hour
If possible reduce the number of attendees
Ensure surfaces in the room are wiped down.
I encourage you to speak to your manager and identify opportunities to take breaks. For those who may be considering winter trips around NSW, including to the recently opened ski slopes, don’t forget to make the most of resources like NSW Government COVID-safe and Live Traffic website to plan your trip. Being COVID-safe extends to all areas of our lives.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 19 June
Western Sydney LHD last week recorded the highest percentage increase in weekly testing rates across all NSW health districts. Our COVID-19 drive through clinic at Stockland Merrylands has now tested over 1,500 people since opening in late May. To further increase testing capacity in Western Sydney, a COVID-19 clinic is being opened in Carlingford in collaboration with Wentwest Primary Health Network.
We are lucky to be working in one of NSW’s most culturally diverse regions. To support our culturally and linguistically diverse populations through the COVID-19 pandemic we have developed multilingual resources in eight languages, providing our community with important information about how to get tested.
Healthcare workers at Westmead Hospital will be among 10,000 across Australia and other countries including Spain and The Netherlands, to participate in a trial investigating whether the tuberculosis (TB) vaccine reduces the impact of COVID-19. The trial was announced by the NSW Health Minister at the Westmead Health Precinct today – you can read more here.
No community transmissions have been recorded in Western Sydney LHD since 3 May. This is a great achievement but ongoing commitment and caution is required to maintain this result. I encourage everyone to continue to practise good hygiene, maintain physical distance and get tested if you are experiencing symptoms.