Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 15 July

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • One COVID-19 positive inpatient.
  • Five employees with COVID-19. They are in isolation at home and doing well.
  • 77 employees in precautionary quarantine, as a result of three separate potential exposures.

While we hear a high level of concern in the media, patient numbers remain low in our catchment, and we currently have only one COVID-19 positive inpatient in our care.

We must use this opportunity to reinforce our processes, to make sure that we all understand them, and are doing what we need to do to stay safe. This means hand hygiene, risk assessment before patient contact, proper shift handovers and appropriate PPE – used correctly. It also means helping each other understand these basics and build good habits.

Surgical masks are mandatory in clinical areas

The use of surgical masks is now mandatory for all employees in clinical areas, ambulatory patients, and visitors to our sites. If you are in a patient-facing or consumer-facing role, you must complete your PPE training and ensure that you know how to don and doff a surgical mask.

Wearing a mask will be new to some of us and, just like developing any new habit, it will need some reinforcement. If you see your colleagues wearing their mask around their neck, with their nose exposed, touching the front of their mask, or any of these surgical mask don’ts, please help them out with a gentle reminder.

Visitor restrictions

In response to the reintroduction of Stage 3 restrictions, visitors are not permitted except if they are a caregiver. This is in line with the four reasons for leaving your home under these restrictions, which do not include visiting a health care facility, unless it is to give or receive care.

We know this will cause disappointment from patients and that it will be challenging for our teams, but the health and safety of our patients, visitors and employees must remain our top priority.

Thank you once again for your dedication, your perseverance and your incredible work.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive


Key messages

Standard Precautions

Standard Precautions are the minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient. Simply put, these are:

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Use the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) when droplet precautions are indicated, if there is any risk of exposure to body fluids, or if you are unsure.
  • Always take a moment to risk-assess the situation before any patient contact.
  • If you cannot assess the situation, it’s better to be prepared with PPE: “if in doubt, don’t go without”. Please complete your Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) refresher training both online on LATTE and face-to-face, if you have not already done so; details can be found here.

You should also take a moment to review our COVID-19 procedure, which can be found on PROMPT.

It is essential that we all maintain vigilance and awareness of the risk of infection. Anyone who feels unwell or is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms must not attend work and should be tested.

Should you have any concerns, please talk with your manager or call the Monash Health Employee Hotline on (03) 9594 5815, 7am to 4pm, seven days a week.

Daily temperature screening is mandatory for all employees and contractors

Daily temperature screening is to be undertaken for all employees and contractors across all of our sites. If you are working in buildings away from the main screening points, you are still required to undertake temperature screening at the start of each shift and obtain a screening sticker.

Daily temperature screening is an important part of maintaining employee safety and wellbeing across our work places.

New wellbeing resources on COVID-19 site

As we move into a challenging phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, our emotional responses can take us by surprise. Fear, anxiety and other strong emotions are natural at a time like this, but how do we manage them? It is as important that we continue to find strategies to help us stay mentally and emotionally well, as it is to stay physically well. Learn more here.

Aboriginal Employment program – featuring Ella McGregor

It’s been an exciting year for Ella McGregor, Aboriginal Clinician for Forensic Mental Health in Community Health, based in Dandenong. In January 2020, she was married on her home country in Tasmania, joined Monash Health in March, and soon after had to quickly adapt to the changed service delivery model caused by COVID-19. Read more of Ella’s story here.

EMR upgrade – it’s a wrap!

We are pleased to advise that the Electronic Medical Record (EMR) was successfully upgraded last week. To get the most out of the upgrade, please familiarise yourself with the enhancements relevant to your work. Read more here.

Reminder to return washable scrubs

Many employees are failing to return their washable scrubs for laundering at the end of their shifts, or are storing them for later use. We remind everyone that it is a condition of using washable scrubs for them to be removed before leaving work and returned for laundering at the end of every shift. Read more here.

Monash Health Maternity hits key VMIA targets

The maternity departments at Monash Medical Centre, Casey Hospital and Dandenong Hospital have achieved success in reaching key targets set by the Victorian Managed Insurance Authority under the Incentivising Better Patient Safety program. In doing so, they secured a significant refund for Monash Health. Read more here.

Our community continues to say thank you!

Your care, hard work and dedication during this challenging period continue to draw praise and thanks from our community. Just last week, we received many drawings from Year 1 students at Syndal South Primary School. We have also received letters, poems and cards of thanks from Monash University students. Read more here.

Your FAQs for returning to work

Monash Health’s stance on working from home remains the same; if you can work from home, you must continue to do so. However, to help you plan for your safe transition back into the workplace when it is appropriate, we have created a ‘Returning to the workplace safely’ section on our employee website, with many helpful resources – including FAQs – for both employees and managers. Read more here.

All managers are requested to share these updates with their teams and discuss at stand-ups and handovers. Please print a copy and display it in communication books and on employee noticeboards.

As advice and information evolve, please consult the latest updates and visit the Department of Health and Human Services and Monash Health COVID-19 website for employees regularly for the latest.

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