Executive Messages

May 2020

COVID-19 Staff Update, 13 May



Dear colleagues,


It was wonderful to have a recovered COVID-19 patient visit us yesterday to present flowers to our staff at Westmead Hospital. The patient’s gratitude and recovery is proof of the exemplary and compassionate care we are providing our community.


While at the hospital, the patient received a lung function test, which is part of the fantastic follow-up care provided by the team at our respiratory function laboratory, ensuring our patients’ lung capacity and recovery is monitored after having COVID-19.


While we’ve had no new COVID-19 patients in our community for the fifth day in a row, it is critically important to increasing testing numbers in our region. We are currently engaging with various retail providers to establish pop-up clinics in high traffic areas in the WSLHD region, with the aim of providing at least 1,000 tests a day across our LHD.  


We are continuing to focus on the safe re-introduction of services including breast screening and we are reviewing recommendations provided by BreastScreen NSW.


I hope you are finding these daily updates useful in keeping you informed on WSLHD’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have a dedicated COVID-19 intranet page with plenty of WSLHD-specific information and an interactive Q&A portal – feel free to check in.



Kind regards


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

Exercise caution while driving through Cumberland Campus


To All Staff,


There are multiple construction works underway throughout the Cumberland Campus and staff are reminded to please drive safely and in accordance with temporary vehicle detours and speed limits for the safety of all consumers, carers, staff and visitors.


The detour around Bunya will continue for the next two weeks.


Clear signage, safety barricades, road markings and traffic controllers have been provided to provide safe passage. 


Changes in traffic flow may inconvenience some staff. 


Thank you for your patience during this time. 


If you have any questions or issues, please contact either:



Moureen Wong                                                     Michael Oliver

T: 0413 845 036                                                    T: 0448 067 451

moureen.wong@health.nsw.gov.au                      WSLHD-CommunityEngagementMentalHealth@health.nsw.gov.au





Matt Sydenham

Acting Director, Redevelopment and Infrastructure

Temporary accommodation for WSLHD patients



Dear colleagues,


The District has already been able to provide ad hoc short term accommodation to some patients who have needed it to safely self-isolate. To formalise the District’s response to this patient safety need, we have implemented a framework to assist staff in assessing patients’ needs for short term accommodation during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The attached fact sheets, procedures and application processes have information to help staff manage patient requests for accommodation into the future, whilst the COVID-19 pandemic remains in place.


Every application for accommodation should be considered on its own merits according to need and availability. As short term accommodation cannot be guaranteed for all patients, requests from patients with established higher risk will be prioritised for approval.


Who is eligible?


In order to access temporary accommodation organised by WSLHD, patients must be:


  • A patient of WSLHD (e.g. community, discharging in-patient) OR has been assessed by WSLHD’s Public Health Unit

  • COVID positive required to self-isolate OR a close contact of a COVID positive person and required to self-isolate

  • Unable to safely self-isolate at their usual residence, and

  • Able to live independently and is self-caring.


Risk Assessment Criteria


WSLHD may provide assistance to patients who request it on a needs basis, following a risk assessment based on individual circumstances. Where there is concern around vulnerable household members, the vulnerability needs to be assessed against the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee’s advice on vulnerable people to determine vulnerability.


Reasons for access to temporary accommodation may include


  1. Patients without a permanent place of residence

  2. Patients who are unable to self-isolate safely

  3. The presence of a vulnerable person in the usual place of residence

  4. Patients who pose a public health risk to themselves or others:

  5. Other reasons based on individual circumstances and risk




The requestor must complete the Risk Assessment for Patients with confirmed COVID-19 or their Close Contacts. The accommodation may be cost free or a nominal fee may be charged, depending on the circumstances. Patients who refuse offered accommodation will be removed from the ‘waiting list’ unless reasonable justifications are given. There is no guarantee that pets can be accommodated and alternative arrangements should be made for them (service animals excepted). Other family members may be considered to share the accommodation in exceptional circumstances.




WSLHD procurement are responsible for procuring accommodation through FCM following approval by the designated manager. FCM will provide the accommodation based on the risk assessment completed by the requestor.


Should you need further information about patient accommodation please contact your manager or the Executive Unit of your facility or service.





Luci Caswell
Director, People & Culture

COVID-19 Staff Update, 12 May



Dear colleagues,


Happy International Nurses Day.


Thank you to our nurses and midwives for your passion and dedication to delivering the best possible care for our patients. You are an amazing group of professionals and your contribution is integral to our patient experience and quality of our care provided, and meeting the needs of our community. I hope you enjoyed the celebrations today.  


Today, NSW has reported zero new cases of COVID-19 for the previous 24 hours. This is the first time since 29 February there have been no new cases in our state.


This is welcome news, but it is important to increase testing to ensure any new cases or outbreaks are identified and managed right away.


We are continuing to support our vulnerable communities and today we hosted a pop-up clinic in Merrylands to provide flu vaccinations and COVID-19 screening for rough sleepers and those living in crisis and temporary accommodation.


Our fantastic nursing teams took the opportunity to provide our community members at the clinic with some education about COVID-19 symptoms, the importance of social distancing and how to install the Covidsafe app.


To support any potential COVID-19 positive patients requiring accommodation in our LHD, we have developed a framework to support clinicians with a referral to available services. More information will be sent out by Luci Caswell, Director of People and Culture.


I also want to provide an update on the Westmead Health Precinct’s Central Acute Services Building following our handover announcement on 4 May.


As you know, the building was handed over by Health Infrastructure three months ahead of schedule. We are now working with our key partners in the SCHN and Sydney University to commission the building.


In the meantime, the hospital will be available if space is needed to respond to a surge in COVID-19 cases.


We will continue to keep you updated on this very exciting project.



Kind regards


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

International Nurses Day, 12 May



Dear colleagues,


Today, Tuesday 12 May, is International Nurses Day.


It is an extra special occasion this year, as 2020 has been designated the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife.


I would like to share a short video message to recognise and celebrate all of the nurses across our District:

Happy International Nurses Day to all of our wonderful nurses at WSLHD. Thank you for your dedication and care, and the difference you make to our patients every day.




Caroline Farmer


Director Nursing & Midwifery, and Clinical Governance

COVID-19 Staff Update, 11 May



Dear colleagues,


Our executive management team is focused on resuming our organisation’s strategic priorities, now that we have a window of relative calm.


One of our key projects is the review of our clinical network structure, following the consultation process carried out in late 2019. In discussions with our Medical Staff Councils we are looking at the possibility of recommencing this process to firm up our clinical leadership structure while we have the chance. This project will ensure the involvement of our senior clinicians in the strategic planning and management of our health services.


Another hugely significant project we are putting back on the agenda is our cultural transformation program, which is designed to make the experience of working at WSLHD the best it can possibly be.


We will soon resume our cultural transformation workshops, allowing our staff to provide feedback and ideas on how to improve in the areas of celebrating diversity and success, wellbeing, high performance and safety at our workplace. If you’d like more information, click here to download the WSLHD Culture Strategy publication.  


This week we are progressing our planning on safely returning medical students to placements at our services, in conjunction with our tertiary education partners.  


Today we launched another staff wellness centre at Cumberland Hospital. It will be open between 2pm and 4pm daily to support staff who have any questions about WSLHD’s COVID-19 response, or simply need someone to talk to.


This centre at Cumberland is in addition to the wellness centres available at Westmead and Blacktown. You don’t need to book an appointment, just walk on in. You can view more information and locations here.


If you can’t get to a centre in person, please feel free to call our Staff COVID-19 Assist line on 1800 344 733 from Monday to Friday, any time between 8.30am – 5.30pm.


Kind regards


Graeme Loy


Chief Executive

Celebrating our wonderful nurses and midwives



Dear colleagues,


This week we kicked off International Day of the Midwife celebrations, and events will continue through to next week, with International Nurses Day on 12 May.


This year, we are going above and beyond to show our appreciation for all of our wonderful nurses and midwives with some fun activities.


Here’s a snapshot of what has been planned:


  • Daily trivia competitions

  • Certificates and gifts of appreciation for years of service at Auburn Hospital

  • TikTok video challenges at Blacktown Hospital

  • A range of tasty goodies and freebies at Blacktown and Westmead

  • More surprises to come


This year we will also be providing every single nurse and midwife with a special gift.


I hope all of you enjoy what we have planned.


Feel free to send through photos of how you celebrated to WSLHD-ThePulse@health.nsw.gov.au for a chance to be featured in The Pulse and our Local Health District’s social media channels.






Caroline Farmer

Director Nursing & Midwifery, and Clinical Governance

COVID-19 Staff Update, 8 May



Dear colleagues,


I am pleased to report that COVID-19 case numbers in Western Sydney continue to be relatively low, and most people diagnosed have reasonably mild illness. We still have no COVID-19 positive patients in our facilities at this time.


This situation is very positive. While we need to remain prepared to respond to any future COVID-19 surges, we also need to focus on planning. Today, we held the first meeting of our Horizon Group to progress our post-COVID planning.


Comprising members of the District Executive and clinical director leads, the group’s purpose is to re-imagine what the future of WSLHD looks like. We have made many operational and service changes over the past few months and need to consider which of these we should retain, modify or revert post-pandemic. Current areas of focus include paediatric service delivery, community health services, quality and safety in service delivery, and prioritising environmental management and PPE provision. The group will also review operational hospital models including 24/7 service delivery, financial structure and consultant-led decision making.


Our response to COVID-19 has really highlighted some of our strengths which we want to take forward to improve our service delivery and benefit our staff and patients.


Today we farewell Internal Communications Manager Leanne Findlay, who has accepted a fantastic opportunity at the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care. Leanne vastly improved the quality of internal communication in our organisation, ensuring our initiatives and priorities were shared with all of you on a regular basis. I thank Leanne for her contribution to WSLHD and wish her well in the next step of her career.


Have a good weekend everyone, and happy Mother’s Day to all of the mums across our District.




Graeme Loy


WSLHD Chief Executive

COVID-19 Staff Update, 7 May



Dear colleagues,


We are progressing plans to resume some of our services including transplants, IVF, breast screening, oral health, cardiology, and elective surgery in general. This planning is quite detailed and complex, as we need to ensure optimal safety for staff and patients, while retaining a level of readiness to respond to any surge in COVID-19 cases.


We are continuing to provide interpreter assistance to travelers in hotel isolation. There is a high demand for this service with 131 phone interpreting sessions provided yesterday, and around 1,300 sessions provided in the past month. I am pleased we are able to support the state with this important service.


Also at a state level, our Multicultural Health Services team is partnering with NSW Multicultural Health Communication Services to improve COVID-19 communication with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Next week, short bilingual videos in 12 languages will be released, sharing NSW Health’s advice to help prevent the spread of the virus and keep communities safe.


I am really proud that so many of our clinical experts and teams have been able to support the state-wide response to COVID-19, as well as providing care and services for those in Western Sydney. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in responding to COVID-19 as well as those who have continued to provide and support our essential services.


Although social and business restrictions are likely to ease over the next few weeks, it is critical that we all continue to do what we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This includes maintaining physical distance where possible at work in our facilities.


This is so important, to protect each other, our patients and our visitors.




Graeme Loy


WSLHD Chief Executive

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