COVID-19 Staff Update, 16 September
Today, the latest Healthcare Quarterly report from the Bureau of Health information (BHI) was released showing our performance for the April to June quarter. The impact of COVID-19 on our hospitals is clearly displayed in this report, which records the lowest emergency department (ED) attendance figures in NSW for any quarter since 2013. ED treatment time improved by 13.2 percentage points on the same period in 2019. All of our EDs are to be commended for improving patient treatment times while introducing new models of care for patients with suspected COVID-19.
As expected given the impact of COVID-19, the elective surgery waitlist rose by 21% over the period. Thanks to everyone who has been has working hard to keep our elective surgery levels high, with activity across our LHD again tracking at 125% (including outsourced activity to the private hospitals). From May to September the overdue surgery numbers have been reduced by half.
Over 600 people who presented to the Westmead COVID-19 clinic have been registered using a unique patient-specific QR code as part of the COVID-19 SMS Results Service pilot. Aiming to streamline patient registrations and turnaround times of results, the pilot is being coordinated in partnership with the Ministry of Health and NSW Health Pathology.
To date over 6,300 staff have contacted our COVID Staff Assist line and the COVID-19 staff website has been viewed over 109,000 times. Please continue to make the most of these resources for information and support. If you have a COVID-19 question ask it at our knowledge hub, visit the COVID-19 staff website or call the staff assist line on 1800 344 733
COVID-19 Staff Update, 15 September
A list of volunteers from across WSLHD has been provided the to the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC). These individuals will be called on should a 24/7 response be required in the future. Thank you to everyone who has put their hand up to help.
Last night a virtual event was hosted with Pacific Island community leaders to provide tailored COVID-19 education and support. Attended by nearly 20 representatives, the session provided leaders with advice on COVID-19 planning and preventative strategies for religious settings.
I recently advised of our plans to implement a Fit Test Program across WSLHD. I am pleased to announce that this work is now strongly progressing with a working group of key clinicians and stakeholders established and a project implementation and communication plan developed. A risk assessment of high risk healthcare workers has now been completed and the demonstration and procurement of Fit Test devices is in progress. WSLHD is currently seeking local representation from each facility / service to participate in Fit Tester Training to ensure sustainability of the program into the future. Thank you in advance for your support in this important program of work to keep our staff safe.
Testing numbers across NSW are below average including in our district. Yesterday our clinic at Westmead Hospital tested 123 people and Blacktown Hospital 167.
Testing remains an important strategy to stop the spread of COVID-19. While the number of locally acquired cases recorded in the past 24 hours across NSW is low, we need to keep testing up.
I encourage everyone to seek testing at the first sign of symptoms. COVID-19 testing clinics can be found here.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 14 September
Across the weekend you may have seen news reports relating to the assault of staff members at one of our facilities. Any aggression toward healthcare staff is appalling and completely unacceptable. In addition to supporting those who were involved, our Violence Prevention Team is reviewing this incident. The safety and wellbeing of our staff is my main priority and measures to help staff feel safe, respected and supported are constantly being reviewed. If you have any concerns about your safety please speak with your manager.
Screening questions on entry to WSLHD facilities have evolved. Staff and visitors will now also be asked about travel to Queensland as well as Victoria in the last 14 days, in addition to attendance at NSW COVID case locations or travel on nominated public transport routes.
Staff members who have household members who are isolating due to a close contact with a COVID-19 case should not come to work if they are not able to isolate themselves completely from this individual. For example isolation may be difficult if the person is a child or dependent person. The staff member will then be required to self-isolate for the duration of their household member’s isolation period. Please speak with HR if you require any further clarification around this.
Nine COVID-19 cases are in home isolation in WSLHD and no patients with COVID-19 are in our hospitals. While these numbers are encouraging, COVID-19 is still circulating in our community. We need to stay vigilant and continue to encourage people to come forward for testing to stop the spread of the virus.
R U OK?
Today we celebrate R U OK? Day
Year 2020 has been a challenging year for all of us with the evolving situation we face in the midst of the pandemic.
Hence, it is vital for all of us to stay connected and ensure that we support people around us.
A simple question, could change a life.
General Manager Westmead & Auburn hospitals
Working With Children Check (WWCC) Renewal
In March the Children’s Guardian extended all WWCC clearances that were due to expire between 26 March 2020 and 26 September 2020 for a further six months.
This is a reminder that some staff will now be due to renew their WWCC. Please renew as soon as possible so that your WWCC does not expire before your renewal application is processed.
Staff should receive an email from the Office of the Children’s Guardian (OCG) three months prior to the expiration of the WWCC prompting renewal. If you want to check your expiry date please visit the OCG website. Your WWCC can be renewed three months before expiry. If you pay early the renewal will only apply from your expiry date.
For any employees whose WWCC was due to expire between 26 March and 26 September 2020, Stafflink has been updated to reflect the revised WWCC date.
How to renew your WWCC
Visit the OCG at https://www.kidsguardian.nsw.gov.au/
Step 1: For Renewals – Select the “Renew your WWCC number” tab. Find your new expiry date using the “Find my number form”. Once you have your WWCC number and expiry date, review and/or complete the “Renewal application form”. You will be sent an application number by email.
Step 2: Take your email receipt and the necessary proof of identity documents to a Service NSW Centre.
Step 3: You will receive an email once the process has been completed. If you are granted clearance, you will receive a WWCC number. Give this number to your Manager. For WSLHD employees please also forward this email to WSLHD-WWCC@health.nsw.gov.au.
Paid workers will pay a fee of $80. For volunteers, the Check is free.
Information on proof of identity requirements are available from the OCG site.
If you have any queries please contact your local Human Resources Business Partner.
Director People and Culture
COVID-19 Staff Update, 10 September
Today the WSLHD aged care taskforce presented the findings from the assessment of local aged care facilities. The team has made 11 core recommendations in areas like education, infection control and governance. The report is set to be tabled at the COVID-19 District Executive Meeting next week.
Cleaning across all WSLHD facilities will be increased. Everyone has a role to play to keep our facilities hygienic. Please ensure you wipe down meeting rooms and tea rooms before and after use and regularly clean your workspaces.
Mask use remains an important measure to manage COVID-19 risk and keep patients and staff safe when in our facilities. They should be worn when in public places and patient areas. Attached is a poster providing a reminder on when to wear a mask in WSLHD.
Note that mask use is required when in the Westmead Education and Conference Centre (WECC). No food should be consumed here and it should not be used as a lunch area.
Thank you to everyone who took time today to mark R U OK? day and remember how important it is to check in on each other every day of the year. Visit the intranet page to access R U OK? resources and training materials and view the photo gallery to see how colleagues marked the day across the district.
COVID-19 Staff Update, 9 September
It is so important that we continue to provide great care to the people of Western Sydney. To be able to do this we need to keep COVID-19 out of our facilities. To manage the risk of COVID-19 we need to maintain our vigilance to our safety precautions.
These precautions include but are not limited to:
Wear a mask when in public and patient care areas of our facilities
Don’t congregate in groups in staff areas and tea rooms
Wipe down surfaces in meeting rooms and tea rooms after use
Limit movement through our facilities
Work from home if you can so productively and consider implementing your A/B team rosters
Don’t come to work if you are unwell and seek testing immediately
A fact sheet will be released this week providing some additional tips and advice for managers and staff on how to keep safe while in our facilities.
We will be increasing the presence of COVID marshals across our facilities. If you aren’t wearing a mask a COVID marshal may approach you.
The appropriate use of PPE is imperative to keep staff safe. This is not a replacement for other measures like practising good hand hygiene and physical distancing.
NSW Health has issued an alert for another Western Sydney venue. People who attended Albion Hotel, Parramatta Beer Garden and Pavilion, on Saturday 5 September between 8.15pm - 11.15pm for at least an hour are considered a close contact.
For the most up-to-date health advice visit: https://www.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/latest-news-and-updates.
Nine new COVID-19 cases were identified in NSW yesterday. Seven COVID-19 cases are in home isolation in WSLHD and two remain in ICU in Westmead Hospital.
Our proposed new organisation structure is open for staff consultation. The consultation period will be open until 25 September 2020. For more information on the structure please visit the intranet page here. Please share your feedback by emailing WSLHD-Restructure@health.nsw.gov.au.