Executive Messages

August 2020

COVID-19 Staff Update, 6 August



Dear colleagues,


For your safety from Monday all staff will be issued with a weekly pack of ten masks, for use when in places within our facilities that can be accessed by the public, such as corridors and cafeterias. Masks will be issued by department managers who will shortly receive instructions on collection and distribution.


PPE procedures remain the same for clinical areas. Please continue to reference the Amber Alert guidance for mask use in clinical settings – here.


Mask use is not a substitute for other measures aimed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 such as physical distancing of 1.5 metres and good hand hygiene. Please also consider the following ways to protect yourself and our patients when in our facilities:

  • Limit unnecessary movement through our facilities

  • Avoid walking through the work spaces of your colleagues

  • Avoid sharing computer equipment, phones and other equipment

  • Host meetings virtually using video conferencing

  • Work remotely if you can so productively

  • Coordinate external meetings at the start or end of the day


Everyone is responsible for ensuring we have a safe working environment. Please wipe down tea rooms and meeting rooms after use. Regularly clean your desks and workspaces. Meeting rooms have a maximum number of people that can attend in person. Posters should be displayed indicating the safe number of persons able to be in the room. See attached poster.


Yesterday a primary school in Merrylands closed after a known case attended. In response we opened a new drive-through testing clinic in the local area. Thank you to the team whose rapid response meant the clinic was open to the public within five hours of us receiving word of potential local cases. 


Our COVID case management team is being expanded in the event we have a large number of staff who require support. The team assists with contact tracing for COVID positive staff members while also supporting staff who are in isolation because of close contact with a COVID-19 positive person.


WSLHD has had 438 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. We have thirty-nine active cases in isolation in our community, seven COVID-19 patients being cared for at Westmead Hospital with five of those in ICU.


With the changing risk levels for COVID-19, advice will continue to evolve. Thank you for your patience as we work through this advice and share updates with you. Critical updates will continue to be shared via email broadcasts and on Yammer. All information and advice is also available on the COVID-19 staff information site – here.


Our thoughts and well wishes go out to everyone who has been affected by the disaster in Lebanon. For anyone needing support I encourage you to reach out to our Employee Assistance Program on 1800 81 87 28.


Kind regards,


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 5 August


Dear colleagues,


A new pop-up clinic opened today at Merrylands Park in Merrylands expanding testing options for Western Sydney residents. Yesterday over 740 people were tested across our pop-up clinics in Parramatta, Carlingford and Auburn.   


A reminder that from Monday we will be adopting additional precautions to protect staff. All staff will be asked to wear a mask when in any area of our facilities that can be accessed by the public. See the attached poster for clarification. Further guidance is also available here.  


Mask use in public areas of our facilities is an additional safety measure we are taking in response to increasing COVID-19 cases in our district. Precautions regarding hand hygiene, physical distancing and staying home if you are unwell still remain and are more important than ever.


The digital registration system will become permanent at our hospitals while we continue to manage COVID-19. Patient and visitor IDs are scanned on entry to assist in contact tracing in the event this is required. Learnings from our trial are also being shared with other LHDs who are considering adopting similar technology.


We remain in close contact with local residential aged care facilities to help them review their COVID-19 plans and support their preparedness.


102 services have recommenced across WSLHD after they were initially suspended due to COVID-19. We continue to review services in context of staff and patient safety.


Nine COVID-19 patients are in Westmead Hospital and six of those patients are in ICU. Thirty-nine patients are in isolation and currently being managed by our Community Health team.


Kind regards,


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 4 August



Dear colleagues,


To ensure staff are protected as COVID-19 cases increase in our district we will be recommending changes to mask use for all staff. From next Monday, all staff will be asked to wear a mask when in patient care areas or public spaces at WSLHD facilities. This is an additional precaution that our infectious disease experts have recommended to keep staff safe.  


All staff will be issued with masks. We recommend that you carry one with you at all times. A weekly supply of masks will be provided to managers for distribution to staff. The normal PPE process will apply within clinical areas. For information on PPE ordering visit the COVID-19 staff page - here.


In hubs or offices, where general members of the public don't have access and where physical distancing of 1.5m is possible, masks are not required. See attached Q&A for more details.


I encourage everyone to ensure that physical distancing is respected across all of our facilities including office and meeting spaces. All meeting rooms should clearly indicate the maximum number of people in line with the four square metre rule.   


Elective surgery levels are now at 114% across our LHD (including outsourced activity to the private hospitals). The majority of this activity (104%) resumed onsite at WSLHD. This means more patients in our community are accessing care.     


Over 150,000 people have now been tested across our LHD and local government areas of Western Sydney. Additional testing clinic locations are being reviewed.


Three new COVID-19 cases have been identified in WSLHD. Thirty-nine COVID-19 patients are in home isolation and currently being managed by our Community Health team. Eight patients are in Westmead Hospital with three in ICU.


For more information on changes to mask use for staff see the attached Q&A. If you have any questions about mask use or any other COVID-19 topics please contact the staff assist hotline on 1800 344 733.


Kind regards,


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 3 August



Dear colleagues,

The COVID-19 ward has reopened at Westmead Hospital. Ten COVID-19 patients are in hospital with four in ICU. Thirty-three positive patients are being actively monitored in our community.


Over the weekend 350 people were tested at our Westmead clinic and 400 at Blacktown. The expansion of our testing sites is meeting community demand well. Parramatta remains a focus with two pop-up clinics open for local residents. We continue to urge people to come forward for testing if they are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.


Nine ​testing clinics are located in our LHD delivered in collaboration with a number of partners. These include:

  •          Auburn drive-through clinic

  •          Auburn Community Health Centre

  •          Blacktown Hospital

  •          Blacktown Hospital pop-up clinic

  •          Carlingford drive-through clinic

  •          Mount Druitt Hospital

  •          Parramatta pop-up clinic, Jeffery House

  •          Parramatta drive-through clinic, Western Sydney University

  •          Westmead Hospital


Workforce plans are in place to cope with a surge in COVID-19 cases in our LHD but also in the event that our LHD is required to provide support to other districts.


We continue to partner with the residential aged care facilities. Our community and acute care teams have developed plans for management of potential COVID19 outbreaks in residential care facilities and have the ability to rapidly respond and provide support. 


The COVID-19 Staff Pulse survey is still open. We have received a strong response with over 1,270 staff across our LHD providing feedback. Click here to complete the survey.


Security and screening station staff are being faced with increasingly difficult interactions resulting from the updated screening and facility entry procedures. Aggression towards our staff will not be tolerated. If you have any concerns speak to your manager.


Kind regards,


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 30 July



Dear colleagues,


We are seeing an increase in community transmission in WSLHD. Eight new cases of COVID-19 have been identified. Westmead Hospital has six COVID-19 patients and three are being looked after in ICU.


Surge plans have been updated for all of our facilities with staffing and COVID-19 wards confirmed should they be required. We remain prepared to respond to a spike in COVID-19 cases.


Mask use by staff in public spaces is being reviewed. We continue to work closely with infectious diseases experts to determine appropriate precautions to help keep our staff and community safe.


Our new drive-through clinic in Auburn has already tested 180 people since it opened on Monday. We remain prepared to stand up new clinics capable of testing hundreds within a day. Planning for another testing clinic at Blacktown is underway. The drive-through clinic at Stockland Merrylands will be closing on Sunday, having been the site of more than 5,000 tests since it opened on May 25. Thank you to the Integrated and Community Health team who have rapidly increased our testing capacity in a short period of time.


NSW Health has issued advice for a number of areas of Sydney. If you live in, or have visited the following areas in the past two weeks, get tested at the first sign of COVID-19 symptoms.


  •          Potts Point area

  •          Carnes Hill shops

  •          Prestons

  •          Bonnyrigg

  •          Wetherill Park

  •          Mt Pritchard

  •          Bankstown City Plaza

  •          Cabramatta

  •          Perisher


COVID-19 has changed the way we all gather together and mark celebrations with our family and friends. I encourage everyone to follow NSW Health advice and keep gatherings to under 10 people at home. For those celebrating Eid al-Adha stay COVID safe way by maintaining physical distance and consider using digital technologies to connect with family and friends.


Kind regards,


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

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