The new year has brought no respite from the many bushfires burning throughout Australia. The scale and impact is unprecedented and last night the Premier Daniel Andrews declared a State of Disaster. Sadly, the fires and the impact will be ongoing for weeks and months, so we must continue to each play our role to support colleagues, communities and the thousands of volunteers and firefighters.
Monash Health is well positioned to care for those who are sick or injured as needed. I am in regular contact with the Department of Health and Human Services and receive frequent situation updates to ensure we are ready to respond. As with each health service in the state, I have sent a clear message that we are here to help.
One of the roles we play is to receive patients from other health services, if required, to ensure critical burns care capacity is available at the Alfred and Royal Children’s Hospital.
We are working with our health partners in Gippsland to ensure the best care is provided to patients in the area.
We continue to work closely with Ambulance Victoria, Adult Retrieval Victoria and PIPER (Paediatric Infant Perinatal Emergency Retrieval) and we are ready to receive patients as needed.
We have also enacted our Working in Adverse Weather Policy to ensure our employees can continue to care for patients and remain safe.
Some employees have asked about donating supplies to other hospitals. DHHS is managing the co-ordination and distribution of essential clinical supplies, as well as co-ordinating workforce and specialty resource needs throughout the State. If we are asked, for supplies or people, we will of course respond.
If the fires are impacting you, if you need time away from work to help yourself or family, or to volunteer or need other support, please talk with your manager.
EAP is available
We know that for some this is a difficult time. If you need support, we have services available at Monash Health. You can call our Employee Assistance Program (EAP), which is available 24/7 on – 1300 687 327. EAP is confidential and provided at no cost to employees. For more information click here.
If you live, work or travel in a high risk area, it is important to pay close attention to information provided by Vic Emergency and monitor changes to the situation. Increased wind speed, change in wind direction, smoke or poor visibility can indicate the situation is changing.
Smoke can affect people’s health, so please note:
People with pre-existing health problems, heart or lung conditions (including asthma), children, pregnant women, and older people are more sensitive to the effects of breathing in smoke.
People with existing heart or lung conditions (including asthma) should follow the treatment plan advised by the doctor.
Anyone experiencing wheezing, chest tightness and difficulty breathing should call Triple Zero (000).
If you cannot smell smoke, you are not likely to be exposed to smoke, and it will therefore not affect you.
Use multiple sources to stay informed:
VicEmergency Hotline – freecall 1800 226 226
Tune in to ABC Local Radio, commercial and designated community radio stations, or Sky News TV.
The following services can help you, or someone you know, access information during an emergency.
To access this information in other languages, call the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450 (freecall) and ask them to call the VicEmergency Hotline.
If you are deaf, hard of hearing, or have a speech/communication impairment, contact National Relay Service on 1800 555 677 and ask them to call the VicEmergency Hotline.
Finally, I want to again thank you for the work you do at Monash Health. We provide vital care to our community and your support and contribution is highly valued and much appreciated.