Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 7 August

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • 24 COVID-19 positive inpatients, including one in ICU.
  • 12 employees with COVID-19. They are in isolation at home and doing well.
  • 48 employees in precautionary quarantine.

Yesterday, we took time to acknowledge and celebrate some of the remarkable work that’s occurring across Monash Health, at the first of three STAR Award presentations scheduled over the coming weeks.

The STAR (Say Thanks And Recognise) program was introduced to acknowledge and celebrate individuals and teams who bring to life our strategic intent, guiding principles and values.

It was my pleasure and honour to pay tribute to the 233 people and teams who were nominated for STAR Awards during the first half of 2020.

At yesterday’s Employee Forum, we recognised those who have demonstrated extraordinary examples of kindness, respect, and excellence in the areas of ‘Exceptional teamwork’ and ‘Outstanding Care or Service Delivery’.

We heard about the agility and responsiveness of the ‘Forest’ team from MCH. A team who, with short notice and a request to assist the conversion of their paediatric ward to a COVID-19 adult ICU, responded professionally and with speed to achieve an outcome.

We heard about the many people who are integral to the delivery of clinical treatment and care to our community. Not Doctors, Nurses or Allied Health professionals, but the many other people who make our clinical work possible. The teams who ensure our environment is safe and clean, that food is provided and our patients are moved around the hospitals safely. They reflected and reminded us of the importance of teamwork and that to achieve excellence, we require all clinical and clinical support services to come together.

We will announce more winners from the remaining five categories at our next two Thursday forums.

Permitted worker permits
Further restrictions for workplaces came into force at 11.59pm on Wednesday. Many of you have asked questions about the requirement to have a permit to allow you to travel to or leave from work outside of the curfew hours (8pm-5am), or if you live further than 5km from work.

As a Monash Health employee, you are considered a permitted worker as you are contributing to the State response to the coronavirus pandemic. All employees of Monash Health are permitted workers. This includes clinical, administrative and support services employees, and applies to those who work onsite or from home.

No special permit is required; your Monash Health ID is sufficient. You can read FAQs on this here.

Access to childcare permits
A second permit system has also been launched, which allows permitted workers, whether working onsite or from home, to be able to complete a new, simple Access to Childcare Permit so that they can access childcare while carrying on their essential work. Read further information here, including a link to download the form. You will need to print this out and ask your manager to sign it off. You can read FAQs on this here.

Personal Protective Equipment
We are working on refining our PPE guidance and will issue a special bulletin as soon as possible.

Today marks Aged Care Employee Day 2020, and it is important to recognise the tireless commitment and compassion of our aged care workers.  Older people are some of our most vulnerable community members, particularly at this time, and the quality of our work is making a real difference in the lives of our care recipients.

Thank you for all that you do.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

Key Messages

EOI for Monash Health Rapid Response Teams: Nurses (RN/EN) Aged Care

We are seeking Expressions of Interest (EOI) from Registered and Enrolled Nurses to assist with the emerging challenge in local private aged care facilities. This is a critical time in the aged care sector, and Monash Health has mobilised a team to provide operational support for private aged care facilities within our catchment during COVID-19 outbreaks. Find out how to register your interest here.

Access to childcare permits

As a permitted worker, whether working onsite or from home, you will be able to complete a new, simple Access to Childcare Permit so that you can access childcare while you carry on your essential work. You can read FAQs on this here.

Employee leave – school and childcare

Term 3 returned to flexible and remote learning on Wednesday. In metropolitan Melbourne, schools remain open for children of permitted workers who either work onsite or work from home and are unable to supervise their children in the course of their duties, and who do not have anyone else in the household who can supervise their children. This arrangement will continue until at least 13 September 2020.

Access to up to 20 days paid Special Leave relating to school closures will only be available in circumstances where Victoria’s Chief Health Officer requires a school to be closed in whole or in part due to COVID-19 related matters. You can read more on this here.

Permit required if being driven to work

If you need to be driven to work by another individual because you are unable to do this yourself, the driver of the vehicle must complete the Permitted Worker Permit and sign it.

The employee needs to sign the document as the employer. Monash Health is unable to confirm who will and will not be driving employees to work, so it is essential that you carry this with you while driving to and from work premises.

Incorrect manufacturer donning instructions – Ultra Health surgical masks

The Infection Prevention team has received advice from the mask manufacturer of the Ultra Health surgical mask boxes that some batches have incorrect instructions in step 1.

The instruction is to don the mask with the blue coloured fabric towards your face – this is incorrect and is currently being rectified by the manufacturer.

The correct step is to always don with the white lining facing you and the coloured layer as the outer layer. Learn more here.

Update to Allergy/Dermatology clinic for Monash Health employees

The emergency Allergy/Dermatology telehealth clinic for Monash Health employees will be open from 1.00pm – 4.00pm on the following days:

  • Tuesday 11 August
  • Thursday 13 August
  • Tuesday 18 August
  • Thursday 20 August
  • From Tuesday 25 August, the clinic will be open on Tuesdays only.

Click here for more information, including tips on minimising mask discomfort.

Recommended listening: JAMA podcast ‘COVID-19 and the FDA’

Thanks to Professor Jim Buttery, Head of Monash Immunisation, for suggesting the JAMA podcast: ‘COVID-19 and the FDA’ at our Medical Grand Round, Find out more about this informative podcast, with JAMA’s Editor-in-Chief, Dr Howard Bauchner, and the US FDA Commissioner, Dr Stephen Hahn here.

Asking the identifying question - are you of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin?

You are invited to a free Webex Forum on Wednesday 12 August to hear AJ Williams-Tchen talk about the when, where, why and how we need to ask this identifying question. Learn more about the forum here.

Security Customer Service Officers for Smoke-free initiative

As part of Monash Health’s Smoke-free initiative, Security Customer Service Officers have been deployed at Monash Medical Centre Clayton and Dandenong Hospital to support our smoke-free policy and improve traffic congestion at entrances. In addition to the officers, new signage is being rolled out across sites.

The officers will proactively interact with people who are not complying with the smoke-free policy, to help them understand and comply with the policy. We thank everyone for their co-operation and support of a smoke-free Monash Health.

90% flu vaccination achieved; now for 100%

With one week to go, we have broken the 90% barrier for flu vaccination or declaration. Thank you to everyone who has vaccinated or declared.

We now need to make sure that higher-risk areas such as Emergency, ICU, NICU, and PICU reach 100% vaccination or declaration. If you work in one of these areas, read more here to see how your team is tracking.

Tea room check-in reminder

Please remember that you need to check-in to any tea room every time you enter. To check-in, scan the QR code on the tea room poster with your phone’s camera.

Continue to take advantage of wellbeing resources

Take advantage of the health and wellbeing resources we have available for you, including the Call a Psychologist service and the employee assistance program.  Don’t forget the basics of your physical health and remember we have links to resources online for you and your teams, including a helpful guide to stretching at your desk, wherever that desk might be.

Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice

The information about COVID-19 is changing rapidly. Ensure you are working to the most up-to-date advice by referring to the Monash Health Employee Coronavirus website. To make accessing the site quicker, you can create a shortcut on your smartphone by following these instructions.

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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