Appointment - Executive Director of Research
I am pleased to announce that Professor Mark McLean has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of Research, Western Sydney LHD. This role is part of the leadership team of the WSLHD Research and Education Network (REN) and will provide guidance and infrastructure support for research within the district.
Mark is a clinical endocrinologist and medical academic. He has been on the senior medical staff at Blacktown, Mount Druitt and Westmead Hospitals since 1996.
Mark will bring with him a range of skills and experience in the fields of research and education. He has been involved in clinical teaching for more than 20 years, was Director of Physician Training at Westmead Hospital 2005-2009, and Foundation Professor of Medicine at the Blacktown Clinical School of Western Sydney University 2009-2016.
Mark's current role is Medical Director in the Division of Ambulatory Medicine at Blacktown and Mount Druitt Hospitals, and Conjoint Professor of Medicine at WSU. He also chairs the Blacktown Mount Druitt Hospitals Medical Staff Council.
He is a Past-President of the Endocrine Society of Australia, and a member of the National Examining Panel of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians. He is passionate about the development of education and research as important roles of our public hospitals.
Please join me in congratulating Mark in his new role with Western Sydney LHD.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 12 August
A record number of over 2,000 people accessed testing at our community COVID-19 testing sites today. Our new pop-up clinic at Castle Hill tested over 580 people and our service at Western Sydney University had their highest single day testing over 560 people. Providing quick and convenient testing for local residents remains our priority.
With cases increasingly being reported in schools there may be staff members whose families are affected. For staff members who have children/household members who are close contacts the advice from NSW Health is:
If a parent/carer is unable to isolate effectively from a child/household member identified as a ‘close contact’, they should not attend work during the close contact’s isolation period, and isolate for the same 14 day period. The parent/carer must get a COVID test on day 11-12 of isolation and be cleared to return to work.
If a parent/carer can isolate from the child/household member identified as a ‘close contact’, they don’t need to isolate. The parent/carer does not need to be tested prior to end of the isolation period and can continue to attend work.
As always anyone, including parents and carers must keep a close watch for COVID-19 symptoms and get tested if experiencing even mild symptoms.
Advice for parents and carers from NSW Health is also attached.
The privacy of patients and staff should always be respected. No information about COVID-19 should be accessed without authority and confidentiality always maintained. All COVID-19 record access is monitored.
Ten new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in WSLHD. Twenty-five COVID-19 patients are in home isolation and currently being managed by our Community Health team. Nine patients are in Westmead Hospital with seven in ICU.
Thank you to all staff who have been following the mask advice and ensuring these are worn when in public places and patient areas of our facilities. Masks will continue to be packaged safely for staff and weekly packs provided.
Anyone who attended the following venues during the dates and times below are advised to monitor and test for COVID-19 should any symptoms present:
Parramatta Westfield on 5 August between 4:00 - 5:30pm
Parramatta Westfield on 8 August between 12:00 – 1:00pm
Castle Towers Shopping Centre on 7 August between 3:30 – 5:00pm
I encourage everyone to check in on your colleagues and ask them if they are okay. COVID-19 continues to challenge us all professionally and personally. If you need support reach out the Workplace Wellness team, call the COVID staff hotline on 1800 344 733 or make an appointment with our Employee Assistance Program.
Workplace Culture Update
Last year we set together a collective ambition to create a workplace that celebrates diversity and success, and where you feel safe, respected and supported by your colleagues and managers.
I want to report on some steps that have been taken to help us move towards this goal.
An external partner has been engaged to support our workplace change program. Bendelta specialises in organisational change and will provide objective counsel and advice to us as we continue to translate our cultural strategy into action.
In July we launched a Manager Capability Framework in response to feedback provided in the People Matter survey and World Café events. Designed to support and improve the experience of our managers across the district, it includes learning pathways matched to different skill levels and is supported by consultation, mentoring and targeted coaching. Read more here.
I want us to build a workplace culture of listening to each other. The COVID-19 Staff Pulse Survey has been launched to find out from you what is working and what may not be working. If you haven’t already shared your feedback I encourage you to take 10 mins to complete this survey. Click here to complete the survey.
The challenges of COVID-19 have increased our focus on the wellbeing of staff. Our Workplace Wellness initiatives have been well received, with 6,000 virtual and in person sessions taken up by staff since the beginning of the pandemic. Mindfulness sessions have also become a staple across the district with these sessions continuing to grow in popularity.
Western Sydney LHD has launched its own private Yammer Group on the NSW Health Yammer network providing an additional channel for staff to stay informed on important news. Yammer is a staff only social network that can be accessed directly on your mobile phones so you can stay connected while on the move. Our aim is that it will become a forum for you to exchange ideas, celebrate achievements and connect with colleagues across the district. I encourage everyone to sign in, start posting news and join the conversation. Learn more here.
I remain committed to ensuring that your experience of working at WSLHD is the best it can possibly be. Please continue to share feedback with your managers, WSLHD Executive and Board to help create the environment we are all proud of.
I look forward to providing further updates as we advance our workplace program.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 11 August
A pop-up clinic was launched today at Castle Hill Showground. The drive-through clinic will be open until Friday to support local outbreaks and ensure residents have access to quick testing. Thank you to the staff who rapidly set up the clinic with a short-turnaround time. Read more.
Another testing site is being identified to service cluster areas with a focus on Parramatta. The Jeffrey House and Western Sydney University (WSU) clinics will continue to operate, with testing capacity at the WSU clinic boosted with additional staff and resources.
We continue to refine our testing response model to ensure clinics can be set up at speed. In the last three weeks we have successfully opened three new clinics in under a day to support local outbreaks.
The Carlingford clinic tested over 600 people yesterday, the highest number to date at that location. Over 163,000 people have now been tested in WSLHD since the beginning of the pandemic.
WSLHD continues to reach out to local residential aged care facilities in Parramatta, Hills District, Merrylands and Guildford providing COVID-19 risk management advice. Activity to ensure all aged care facilities across the district are supported also continue.
Last week elective surgery levels were at 116% across our LHD (including outsourced activity to the private hospitals). This means more patients have been able to access care.
Twenty-five COVID-19 patients are in home isolation and currently being managed by our Community Health team. Nine patients are in Westmead Hospital with seven in ICU.
All staff are required to have masks with them when entering our facilities. Please access masks in advance from your department managers and not at the screening stations. Masks should only be handed out at screening stations to patients and visitors.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 10 August
Today marked day one of required mask use at our hospitals and health care facilities and it is fantastic to see our staff responding to the advice and wearing masks in public and patient areas.
Over the weekend we distributed more than 75,000 masks across our sites, ensuring our staff have access to a weekly pack. Please speak to your manager if you have questions. If you’re a manager, please take the time to review the attached fact sheet.
Visitors are also required to wear masks at our facilities. Visit the WSLHD COVID-19 Intranet page to download and print signage encouraging mask use in your areas.
Thank you to everyone for coming together and adjusting to these additional safety precautions to keep our community as safe as we can.
Our electronic check-in tool for visitors has caught the interest of the team at NSW Health. This system requires all visitors to register their details before entering our hospitals, ensuring they are able to be contact traced if required. At Westmead Hospital alone we are checking in up to 1,400 people a day.
A student has tested positive at Parramatta, prompting us to increase staff capacity at our walk-in clinic at Parramatta Community Health Centre (Jeffrey House).
We are looking to establish another clinic at Blacktown Showground. We are constantly monitoring positive cases in our community so that access to COVID-19 testing can be adjusted as required.
Over the weekend our COVID-19 clinics at Blacktown and Westmead hospitals swabbed almost 1,000 community members. Thank you to all the staff who are supporting our clinics – the nurses, doctors, administrative people, cleaners and everyone else involved for rising to the challenge of supporting the increasing demand for testing.
We’ve observed an increase in staff calling our WSLHD Staff COVID-19 Assist hotline (1800 344 733). This is a great tool we’ve set up that allows you to get quick answers to any of your COVID-19 questions during business hours. Reach out if you need to, our friendly staff are there to help.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 7 August
Today our staff started to receive their first weekly pack of masks for use in public areas at our facilities. If you are a manager, please review the attached fact sheet for information on how to access masks for your team. Information is also attached for our entry screening staff.
This is a significant change to our day-to-day behaviour in the workplace and I appreciate your patience and understanding as we introduce these precautions to protect you, our patients and visitors from COVID-19.
Another reminder that PPE procedures remain the same for clinical areas. Please continue to reference the Amber Alert guidance for mask use in clinical settings – here.
I encourage managers to start thinking about their team A / B rosters, allowing some staff to work from home on rotation if they can productively do so, in the event COVID-19 numbers escalate, requiring less people on our sites.
Yesterday our COVID-19 testing clinics had one of the busiest days yet with more than 1,000 people accessing a test at our community COVID-19 clinics. It is great to see our community members coming forward for a test and I encourage our staff to do the same if required.
We have developed a new poster which highlights all of the current locations of testing clinics across WSLHD. The poster has been created in conjunction with our partners at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Wentwest. It’s an important resource that will help our community members easily locate where they can get a test and view any new pop-up clinics via a QR code. Please free to share the poster with your contacts.
Don’t forget to download Yammer and explore our Western Sydney LHD group – all you need to do is download the free app and login using your employee ID. This is a great place to share news with your colleagues and receive important COVID-19 updates as the situation evolves across NSW.
Your say helps shape our future
Consultation with staff continues to be key in decision-making and helping us shape our exciting future at the Westmead Health Precinct.
As we move into the Central Acute Services Building (CASB) in the new year, your input is crucial – and always valued.
The CASB was handed over to mark the completion of major construction in May this year. The new 14-storey building, incorporating two emergency departments and more than 300 patient rooms, is the centrepiece of the $1 billion-plus Westmead Redevelopment.
We anticipate the CASB opening in February 2021 and met with unions on 30 July to talk through our plans for staffing and models of care.
Further meetings will take place, part of our commitment to a schedule of staff consultation aimed to implement and help progress this important move for staff, patients and carers.
This consultation has already included a request for your comments about our new Models of Care, available on the intranet.
Your input was also pivotal in those decisions, so I encourage you to continue to have your say as we prepare to open the new state-of-the-art hospital and maintain our proud record of providing high-quality healthcare.
General Manager Westmead & Auburn hospitals