Executive Messages

May 2020

COVID-19 Staff Update, 6 May

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

I am excited to share that a team of our clinicians has developed a program for monitoring PPE burn level. This program has the ability to predict PPE requirements based on hospital activity and compare it to the CEC guidelines. This fantastic initiative will now be presented to the CEC and has the potential to help the entire health system – well done to all involved.

 

I can now report that we currently have no COVID-19 positive patients in any of our facilities and we only have nine people currently receiving care from our Integrated Care & Community Health teams, reflecting a huge effort from our communities to support social distancing.

 

This is very positive and we are now in a position to start scaling back some of our monitoring processes, such as the Executive meetings on Saturdays and Sundays. These will continue every weekday and focus on the current issues as well as planning for our staged return to business as usual. An important part of this is considering what has worked well over the past few months and what we should take forward to improve our services.

 

Last night Western Sydney Diabetes hosted their first Zoom forum, COVID-19 and Diabetes, with more than 150 online participants including many GPs. This was a huge success, and really highlighted the benefits of telehealth which we should all consider post-COVID-19. Diabetes is a priority area for our District, and telehealth is now central to our strategy for future clinical collaboration and patient consultations.

 

We are working towards the opening and staged move into our new Central Acute Services Building (CASB) at Westmead. The models of care have now been finalised for the new building, which will include more than 300 patient beds and two emergency departments (one for adults and one for children) when it is fully operational.

 

Thank you to our Workplace Wellness team who have managed to check in with more than 2,300 of our staff. We understand that it is not always possible to attend a drop-in centre or mindfulness session, so if you have a question or would just like to have a chat, give the team a call on 1800 344 733.

 

You can also find information and assistance on our Staff Information, Support for Staff and Support for Managers webpages at any time.

 

Regards

 

Graeme Loy

 

WSLHD Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 5 May

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Increased testing in Western Sydney remains a priority for us, and we are currently progressing plans to establish community-based testing collection centres in Castle Hill and Merrylands. We will continue to work with Wentwest Primary Health Network and other community partners to identify other areas for targeted testing.

 

There is also capacity to increase staff testing, and I encourage anyone experiencing any flu-like symptoms to get tested at one of our clinics.

 

Our plans for recommencing elective surgery are progressing at each site. Plans have now been finalised for Auburn Hospital, and we will start reintroducing elective surgery using a staged approach to reach a 25% increase. I am currently reviewing the recommendations for recommencing elective surgery at Westmead and Blacktown Hospitals. There is high demand for elective surgery across the District, and we have appointed a medical lead to assist us in managing competing priorities and ensuring equitable access to these services.

 

I have been advised that NSW Health has received a major delivery of P2 masks for the state, which will provide good coverage over the weeks ahead. At a District level, we have strong escalation mechanisms in place to ensure all staff have access to the PPE they need at all times.

 

This year we have had a high uptake of our flu vaccination program for staff, with more than 8,100 staff across our District receiving the flu vaccination to date. I appreciate everyone’s commitment to staying healthy and protecting themselves and their families, colleagues and patients. Vaccination is mandatory for those in Category A high risk areas so if you haven’t already, make sure you receive your flu shot before 1 June.

 

We know there have been many priorities other than our usual operations and have decided to extend the closing date for submissions for our 2020 WSLHD Quality Awards to 30 June. I encourage you and your teams to think about the projects and initiatives that have made a difference and to submit an entry to your Quality Manager. Our red carpet gala event may take on a different look and feel this year, but we are committed to celebrating and awarding our exceptional staff.

 

We are continuing to hear from some businesses wanting to show their support for healthcare workers. Please be reminded that all gift donations need to be assessed and managed centrally by the coordinator for your facility – more details are available in the attached gift donation guidelines.

 

Lastly, today is International Day of the Midwife, and I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our midwives for their dedication and care for the women in Western Sydney and their families.

 

Regards

 

Graeme Loy

 

WSLHD Chief Executive

International Day of the Midwife, 5 May

7/5/20

Dear colleagues,

 

Today, Tuesday 5 May, is International Day of the Midwife.

 

I would like to share my conversation with Brigitte Yakoubi, one of our Clinical Midwifery Educators at Westmead, about midwifery as a career and how International Day of the Midwife is being celebrated differently this year.

 

Happy International Day of the Midwife to all of our wonderful midwives at WSLHD.

 

Regards

 

Caroline Farmer

Director Nursing & Midwifery, and Clinical Governance

COVID-19 Staff Update, 4 May

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Today the Minister for Health and Medical Research, Brad Hazzard, visited us at Westmead and joined me for a tour of our new Central Acute Services Building (CASB).

 

This followed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement this morning about the early completion of our CASB. Major construction on the building has been completed three months ahead of schedule, which is a fantastic achievement. Part of the new Westmead Health Precinct and the tallest health building in Australia, the CASB will provide us with 300 additional beds to respond to any potential COVID-19 surges as well as meet future healthcare demand in Western Sydney and beyond.

 

Our current work in supporting residential aged care facilities is so important right now. While only a small proportion of those with COVID-19 in NSW are over 70 (15% as of 3 May), we know the older population is at much higher risk of serious illness. Thank you to our staff who have been working closely with aged care facilities to assist them in protecting their residents.

 

We are working towards the safe re-introduction of some of our important services, including elective surgery, cardiac catheter procedures, endoscopy and IVF. Demand for many of these services is high so we will be following NSW Health’s advice to prioritise urgent procedures that can be performed safely. I am pleased that some of our Westmead Breast Cancer Institute screening services are scheduled to resume in two weeks.

 

Last week, NSW Health launched ‘Med App’. This app provides a central source of COVID-19 information for clinicians and allows rapid distribution of critical updates related to clinical management and response planning.

 

I encourage you to download Med App and also COVID-Safe if you haven’t already. Use of COVID-Safe will be critical to reducing community transmissions over the next few weeks, particularly as any social and business restrictions ease.

 

Regards

 

Graeme Loy

 

WSLHD Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 1 May

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

We are partnering with NBMLHD to provide support in their response to Newmarch House. A CNC from Blacktown & Mount Druitt hospital is currently onsite at the Anglicare facility assisting with infection control, PPE use and risk assessments. We are also supporting their public health unit with one of our VMOs working in their team to supplement their efforts. These partnerships are critical to preventing and managing any COVID-19 outbreaks.

 

Growing numbers of people in Western Sydney are being tested for COVID-19, and our mobile testing is reaching the more vulnerable members of our community. This service now allows care providers to request mobile testing for higher risk patients who are unable to access our clinics. This another great example of our staff delivering care in the best place for each patient.

 

Our state-wide education and training provider, HETI, has curated a special selection of education and support resources to meet the needs of staff at this time. These resources focus on caring for yourself, your team and your patients, and supporting those who are working remotely. I encourage you to take a look at these resources on the HETI webpage.

 

I also encourage you to make use of our Staff COVID-19 Assist hotline. Our People & Culture team is ready to answer your query, point you in the right direction or just have a chat. This is a central contact point for all of our staff. If you have a query about COVID-19 operations, HR matters, staff wellbeing, resources, or if you are just not sure who to contact, give the team a call on 1800 344 733.

 

Your wellbeing is important. Please consider taking any ADOs or annual leave you have available if you would like a break. The past couple of months have been intense and we all need time to rest and recharge.

 

Have a good weekend, everyone.

 

Regards

 

Graeme Loy

 

WSLHD Chief Executive

Central Acute Services Building at Westmead

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian today announced that major construction on our new 14-storey Central Acute Services Building (CASB) at Westmead has been completed three months ahead of schedule.

 

The early handover of the building will help us manage any COVID-19 surges in western Sydney and provide much needed services for our community.

 

Westmead Health Precinct partners including Westmead Hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead and the University of Sydney, have worked collaboratively to make this vital infrastructure available early. Now more than ever we need to work together.

 

With more than 500 new beds in the CASB, this will be a significant contribution to meeting the demands on the NSW healthcare system. This is a fantastic achievement and we commend the efforts of everyone involved in bringing the project to fruition.

 

It reflects thousands of hours of work from so many people over several years – including our staff and the local community who provided input into the design, as well as the dedication of the project consultants and builders.

 

At 14 storeys, the CASB is the tallest health building in Australia and will be the centrepiece of the more than $1 billion Westmead Redevelopment. The CASB will not only transform healthcare in western Sydney, but provide a centre for ground-breaking health research to benefit every Australian.

 

Westmead Health Precinct is one of the premium health precincts in NSW and this is yet another example of the strength of our partnerships and precinct.

 

We are inspired by the efforts of our staff as we continue to respond to COVID-19. Thank you to each and every one of you for your ongoing commitment, resilience and expertise.

 

Stay safe, take care and please look out for each other.

 

Regards,

                                                                                                               

Graeme Loy                                                                            Cheryl McCullagh

 

Chief Executive WSLHD                                                        Chief Executive SCHN

New APTT therapeutic ranges for monitoring intravenous unfractionated heparin therapy

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

From 11.00am on Monday 4 May, the APTT will be measured with new reagents and therefore the APTT therapeutic/target ranges for monitoring therapy with intravenous (IV) unfractionated heparin (UFH) will change.

 

As a result, the WSLHD Anticoagulation (Adult) Guidelines version 12.0 have been revised to reflect the new APTT therapeutic ranges. Please refer to the published electronic guidelines on the Policy and Procedures Portal for the latest version.

 

The reference texts in the eMeds Heparin Powerplans have also been updated to reflect the new APTT therapeutic range for IV unfractionated heparin.

 

If you have any questions, please contact WSLHD-DrugCommittee@health.nsw.gov.au

 

Regards

 

Caroline Farmer

 

Director Nursing & Midwifery, and Clinical Governance

Critical PPE Ordering & Distribution Process

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Thank you for your ongoing hard work and patience in regard to PPE delivery and item stock numbers changing. We appreciate you working with the team to meet your clinical needs.

 

Please note an important change below:

 

As of Sunday 3 May please be aware that the cut-off time for orders will change from 9.00am on the day of picking to 4.00pm the afternoon prior. This change has been made to ensure HealthShare can continue to provide timely deliveries to all customers. Capped PPE will continue to be ordered centrally.

 

Could all NUMs/CSOs please collect PPE from store areas to ensure adequate supply over the weekend? Remember, if you have any PPE queries or requirements, visit our PPE Information site and we will provide assistance.

 

Regards

 

Barry Mitrevski

 

Director of Finance

COVID-19 Staff Update, 30 April

7/5/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Our main focus over the past few days has been planning our District’s return to business as usual at the appropriate time.

 

Over the past couple of months we have dedicated our services and our resources to respond effectively to COVID-19 in our hospitals, in our community and across the state. Now we need to plan how we will gradually start to re-introduce some of our services in a safe and coordinated way.

 

We are currently developing plans and conducting risk assessments for the staged re-introduction of category 2 and some category 3 elective surgery procedures. Patient needs and risk profile are being carefully considered, and safety measures are being put in place to protect both staff and patients.

 

As part of our planning, we also want to consider what we have learned and what we should take forward, to improve safety and quality in our delivery of healthcare. Over the past few weeks, our community-based service and increased use of telehealth have been successful ways of delivering healthcare within and beyond Western Sydney. We want to continue to provide the right care in the best place for each patient – whether that is at home, in the community or at hospital.

 

This pandemic has really highlighted the exceptional staff we have in our District. I would like to commend you all for your expertise and resilience, and your flexibility which has enabled us to direct our efforts to those who have needed it most.

 

Regards

 

Graeme Loy

 

WSLHD Chief Executive

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