COVID-19 Staff Update, 25 March
We are experiencing an increase in patients presenting with COVID-19 at Westmead Hospital.
In response, we have opened extra beds that had been set aside for COVID-19 admissions, and are following our plans to manage the increased demand for patient care at Westmead.
Today the Prime Minister announced the suspension of all non-urgent elective surgery nationwide from midnight tonight. Only Category 1 and some urgent Category 2 surgery will continue until further notice. This is a positive step that will help preserve resources including PPE, and protect the capacity of our hospitals to respond to COVID-19.
In addition to hospital admissions, our Integrated Care and Community Health teams are currently providing community-based support for 62 patients with relatively mild cases of COVID-19.
I would like to acknowledge all of our frontline staff who are continuing to serve and care for others. Your work is valued, critical and highly respected. On behalf of the Executive team, WSLHD Board, and our community – thank you.
WSLHD Chief Executive
SARA online leave requests and other forms
The below functions are all available online via the SARA portal:
Online Leave form (replaced paper forms)
Payroll Deductions form
ADO Balance Adjustment form
Recurring Allowance form
Personal Allowance form
Please ensure that all leave, once approved, is entered in HealthRoster by the relevant manager or Rostering Unit.
Potential integration with HealthRoster is still being assessed.
Director, People & Culture
COVID-19 Staff Update, 24 March
We are experiencing significant changes to the way we work and live, and the wellbeing of our staff is so important.
To prioritise this, we are refocusing the efforts of our new Organisational Development team of consultants and specialists, who have a wealth of experience in helping people to manage and cope with change. While this team has been progressing our culture work in eight different areas, we now need to focus more directly on staff wellbeing.
From tomorrow, Wednesday 25 March, our Workplace Wellness team will start introducing a range of services to support staff, including department visits, drop-in centres and wellness sessions.
Flexible working practices are continuing to progress across the District and we are currently developing a checklist to help guide staff and managers. Now that we have expanded our VPN capacity to 5000, we are able to start processing requests for flexible work. To be eligible to work from home, you will need an office set up with a computer and a phone and will need to undertake a WHS risk assessment of your work space.
Today we finalised the first stage of our workforce surge plans and submitted them to the Ministry of Health. This plan will identify workforce opportunities in the future and give us some guidance and how to quickly expand as the need for hospital services grows.
Students are very important for the future of our District and remain a valued part of our workforce. Student placements will continue across our facilities, with the exception of some high risk areas, to ensure we provide comprehensive care, a good education platform for our students, and preparing next year’s workforce. We have processes in place to protect students, patients and staff, and to allow education to continue safely onsite and online.
Some schools are requesting a letter from parents who are continuing to work in order to provide essential services. If this applies, to you, we are happy to assist – please speak to your manager.
If you haven’t already, please ensure you read the “Application of PPE in response to COVID-19 pandemic 19 March” available from the Clinical Excellence Commission’s webpage for guidance on the use of PPE. This is the most appropriate source for this information.
The Ministry of Health has now published “Guidance for community-based and outpatient health services” on the NSW Health website. If you are involved in providing any patient care via home visits, scheduled clinics or drop-in clinics, it is essential that you read and follow these recommendations.
If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to your manager. The National Coronavirus Health Information Line (1800 020 080) is also available at any time to assist staff and community members seeking general advice.
WSLHD Chief Executive
COVID-19 Staff Update, 23 March
Following the National Cabinet meeting last night, the Australian Government has announced its decisions in relation to schools and the closure of non-essential services.
We understand parents are being encouraged to keep their children at home if possible. However, schools remain open to support working parents including those who are continuing to provide essential services. Please discuss your situation with your manager if you need to care for children at home.
From midday today, non-essential services have closed, and all restaurants and cafes are restricted to takeaway and delivery services. To comply with this, food outlets across our facilities have closed their seating areas, and will be serving takeaway food and drink only.
It is hoped that these measures will slow the spread of COVID-19.
To assist in state-wide ICU capacity planning, we have provided information to the Ministry of Health on current ICU bed numbers and our plans to manage an increase in seriously ill patients with COVID-19 requiring admission.
Our personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff and visitors is a precious resource that we need to use correctly and appropriately. It is critical that we align our use of PPE with the directions provided by the Clinical Excellence Commission. Please read the “Application of PPE in response to COVID-19 pandemic” on the Clinical Excellence Commission’s webpage for guidance on the appropriate PPE to use in different situations.
We are consulting with clinicians today to develop plans to make sure we are using our consumables in a sustainable way to protect our staff, patients and visitors.
We are experiencing unprecedented changes to the way we work and live, and there is no doubt that this is stressful for many. I encourage you to take care of one another and use our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if you need extra support.
WSLHD Chief Executive
COVID-19 Staff Update, 20 March
Here are today’s updates regarding WSLHD’s response to COVID-19.
Today we have streamlined our recruitment processes, to ensure we are able to support critical areas of our organisation.
To effectively manage the provision of equipment and resources, WSLHD’s Director of Finance, Barry Mitrevski, has been appointed to centrally manage any orders in conjunction with HealthShare.
We have increased our remote access capacity from 1,000 users to 5,000, allowing staff to access our network and ensuring work from home arrangements can be supported.
Our staff COVID-19 clinics at Blacktown and Westmead continue to support our staff, seven days a week. The best time to visit is between 7.30 am and 9 am daily.
I would like to urge anybody who is experiencing flu-like symptoms to stay home and visit a GP or one of our clinics.
Thanks everyone and take care of yourselves.
WSLHD Chief Executive