Executive Messages

October 2020

COVID-19 Staff Update, 30 September 

30/9/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

A reminder for staff that if you feel unwell you should not attend work and get tested. If you come to the hospital to get a COVID-19 test, you should let screening staff know and you will be issued with a chequered wristband and a mask. On entry go straight to the testing clinic and not any other part of the hospital.

 

If you begin to feel unwell while at work, go straight to the testing clinic and call your manager from there. Once tested you will be issued with a chequered wristband. Exit the hospital immediately, avoid interacting with colleagues and return home to isolate.

 

The chequered wristbands are to highlight staff and visitors who are presenting for COVID-19 testing or who have been tested. If someone is wearing a chequered wristband they should not remain in the hospital and should return home to isolate.

 

Our Public Health Unit has been busy out in the community supporting local businesses with COVID-19 planning. Over the past four months, 458 inspections have been conducted, averaging to about 30 visits a week. The team has been assessing compliance with measures like physical distancing, hygiene, health and safety and record keeping.

 

Two of our Emergency Department (ED) doctors from Westmead Hospital, Dr Kavita Varshney and Dr Michael Haddock supported our border colleagues last week at Albury Base Hospital as many Victoria-based staff have been affected by the border closure. Thank you to the many staff members from across WSLHD who have volunteered over the past few months to support COVID-19 efforts across Australia.

 

We are still on a high after the Quality Awards last week and planning has already begun for next year. These Awards are about you and celebrating your work. If you tuned into the ceremony or have some ideas about how we should celebrate next year, we want to hear from. Please email your feedback to WSLHD-CorporateComms@health.nsw.gov.au.

  

 

Kindest regards,

Graeme Loy

 

Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 29 September 

30/9/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

I attended the state-wide COVID teleconference yesterday. NSW continues to take the risk of COVID-19 very seriously with planning underway for major events in summer as well the continued emphasis on testing in the community.

 

The WSLHD Executive is also still meeting daily to closely monitor any developments. We continue to work closely with clinicians and infection control experts to manage the risk of COVID-19 in our facilities. I encourage you to review our fact sheet prepared last week on safe work practices for shared workspaces if you haven’t yet.  

 

In WSLHD, there has been a high representation of Aboriginal people seeking COVID-19 testing. At the Emerton clinic last week 12% of tests were with Aboriginal community members. The testing clinic at Mount Druitt also continues to record high rates of testing. From the 6,800 tests performed since it opened, 6.5% were with Aboriginal community members.

 

Specific testing resources have been developed by our team to help communicate important public health messages to the Aboriginal community. It’s great to see this targeted support translating into good testing outcomes.  

 

Across the state 7,616 tests were performed in the last 24 hour reporting period, below the average daily testing numbers of 20,000 that were being reported last week. NSW Health continues to appeal to the community to come forward for testing if mild symptoms are experienced.

 

A reminder that visiting hours apply to everyone and are 10:00am - 12:00pm and 5:00pm - 7:00pm. Exceptions only exist for areas like palliative care, birthing, ICU and neonatal ICU. I ask for everyone’s support to ensure this policy is followed across our facilities.

 

Please remember if you feel unwell, don’t go out or come to work – get tested immediately.

  

 

Kindest regards,

Graeme Loy

 

Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 29 September

30/9/20

 

Dear colleagues,

Sporting organisations across Western Sydney will be receiving targeted support from WSLHD as restrictions for community sport ease across NSW. Activities include providing advice to clubs on COVID plans and producing specific resources for distribution through councils to promote COVID safe sport. Our team has also participated in extensive consultation with Venues Live, Venues NSW, Transport NSW, Sydney Olympic Park authority and the Ministry of Health in preparation for the NRL final series. 

 

Supporting vulnerable populations in our community remains a priority. Our team is in constant contact with specialist homeless services providing advice and guidance as required. Onsite swabbing was provided by the team at two services last week, with an additional visit scheduled at another service this week.

 

We have experienced a 20% increase in referrals of vulnerable young people for services provided by our Youth Health team. While COVID cases may be decreasing, the broader effects of COVID-19 on things like employment, housing and emotional wellbeing are continuing to cause distress for many. Our team offers counselling services for young people and we expect demand for this service and others provided by our Youth Health team to remain high for a significant amount of time.

 

Both these groups along with international visa holders, who often mistakenly think they are not able to access COVID-19 testing for free, are being targeted as part of our ongoing communication program to encourage testing.

 

Residential and aged care facility management plans have been developed as an outcome of the WSLHD Aged Care Taskforce initiative. The Clinical Excellence Commission has released a best practice guidance list to support districts in evaluating the robustness of their incidence management plans for residential aged care facilities. Facility management plans will now be reviewed and updated to ensure alignment with this new advice.

 

We are working with our peers around the state to monitor COVID cases and we will continue to review precautionary measures that are in place in our facilities in context of the risk of COVID-19 in our community.

 

Kind regards,                                             

 

Graeme Loy

 

Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 28 September

30/9/20

 

Dear colleagues,

 

This is the second day in a row that NSW has had no new cases, either locally acquired or in hotel quarantine.

 

While this news is positive, we need to remain cautious. It is even more important that we continue to test high numbers of people and respect the advice that is in place around gatherings, and stay safe whether you are working, visiting family and friends, or going out. Visit the NSW Health website for more information here.

 

Researchers from Westmead Hospital conducted a review of Emergency Department (ED) presentations across our hospitals between March and May finding a reduction in presentations over that period. Their paper published in the Medical Journal of Australia today found that there was also a higher number of mental health-related presentations to our EDs. It is great to see our teams doing important research like this to inform not only our COVID-19 efforts but our understanding of the broader impact this pandemic is having on our community and public health systems.

 

Six of the 8 projects honoured last week at our District Quality Awards were COVID-related projects demonstrating the fantastic work of our team in this critical area. From using innovative telehealth to keep mental health patients safe to mathematical modelling to track and predict PPE stock, all six projects have made a significant contribution to our COVID-19 fight. Learn more about all six projects at the Quality Awards intranet page.

 

Please continue to prioritise your own wellbeing and mental health. If you need support our Workplace Wellness team is here to assist, along with the COVID staff hotline (1800 344 733) and our Employee Assistance Program.

 

Kind regards,

 

Luci Caswell 

 

Director People and Culture 

COVID-19 Staff Update, 25 September

30/9/22

 

Dear colleagues,

 

Over the weekend we expect to reach the milestone of 250,000 COVID-19 tests performed in WSLHD since the beginning of the pandemic. Thank you to the teams who have helped keep our community safe by providing this service.

 

In our district the Local Government Areas of Parramatta and Cumberland continue to be highlighted as areas for increased testing and efforts to appeal to the community to come forward remain critical.  

 

No new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in WSLHD. Four new cases were diagnosed in the previous 24 hours across NSW, with three of those cases returned travellers in hotel quarantine.

 

While community transmission is decreasing please continue to regularly visit the NSW Health website for information on locations linked to known cases, advice on testing and isolation.

 

For information and resources on COVID-19 for western Sydney visit the COVID-19 community resources website. The website provides a single entry point for local residents and community organisations to access the latest credible health and wellbeing information.

 

With school holidays beginning across NSW tomorrow, more people will likely be travelling across our state. It is important to remember there is still an ongoing risk of COVID-19 transmission. Please be vigilant and continue to exercise caution by practising good hygiene, maintaining physical distance of 1.5 metres, using masks as directed and getting testing at the first sign of symptoms.

Kind regards,                                             

 

Graeme Loy

 

Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 24 September

30/9/20

 

Dear colleagues,

NSW Government has relaxed restrictions around school, sport and music due to low case numbers in the community. The full health advice is available here.

 

The WSLHD-MHS Rapid Mental Health Response Team continues to support people returning from overseas, who are quarantined in Sydney hotels. To date 111 people have been supported by our team of over 100 mental health clinicians and 25 psychiatrists. This has included over 502 hours of clinical care, 32 visits to hotels including 217 hours of face to face assessment, counselling and support and 42 psychiatrist consultations.

 

Despite testing numbers decreasing our testing capability remains strong. We continue to provide multiple and convenient testing access points for the community and remain prepared to rapidly stand up pop up clinics if outbreaks occur in our LHD. For a list of testing clinics in our LHD click here.

 

Let’s work together to encourage mask use across our facilities. Masks are being used consistently on entry to our facilities, however at times are being forgotten when moving between public and non-public areas. Additional posters (attached) will be displayed at exit points of non-public areas to provide a reminder. If you see someone not wearing a mask, consider introducing yourself to that person and remind them that a mask should be worn.   

 

Thanks to everyone for your engagement on Yammer. It is an important channel to ensure critical COVID updates reach you. Thank you for sharing news from your teams and spreading positivity. If you haven’t yet signed up, learn how to here.

 

 

Kind regards,

 

Graeme Loy

 

Chief Executive

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