Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 1 September

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

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

It was pleasing to see the number of new COVID-19 positive cases reduced to double digits a couple of times in recent days. This has rightly brought a level of optimism and, in many ways, is a result of the hard work those within, and outside, the health service industry have put into this fight.

The effort, commitment and sacrifice of Victorians looks to be taking the numbers in a positive direction. Having said that, the comparatively high number of deaths is a reminder that COVID-19 still represents a threat.

We must continue to be vigilant and disciplined in following the processes that brought us back on track. These fundamentals will be crucial when the Victorian Government announces its “reopening roadmap” this Sunday.

Ahead of this announcement, the Government will have discussions with industry, unions and community organisations to inform the final development of Victoria’s roadmap to ‘COVID Normal’. Much of the advice will be based on the Standard Precautions that have served us well to date. These are the minimum infection prevention practices that apply to all patient care, regardless of suspected or confirmed infection status of the patient. They are:

  • Hand hygiene.
  • Physical distancing, wherever possible.
  • Use the appropriate level of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • 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.

Anyone who feels unwell or is displaying any COVID-19 symptoms must not attend work and should be tested.

COVID-19 has brought the safety of patients and employees into the spotlight like never before. While much of the focus has understandably been on elements such as PPE, our overall occupational health and safety targets underline our strategic intent and commitment to ensuring our people return home safe and well each day.

The OHS targets for the next year are outlined below, and there will be a focus on this important area in the coming weeks.

Thank you once again for all the strength, support and excellent care you provide.

Andrew Stripp

Chief Executive

Key Messages


Occupational Health and Safety targets announced 

Your physical health, safety and overall wellbeing is of paramount importance. We are committed to providing a workplace that promotes and facilitates employee wellbeing and safety, to ensure you return home each day safe and well.

To drive continuous improvement, it is important to have broad, long-term objectives and specific occupational health and safety targets. The OHS targets for 2020-21 have been announced and are as follows:

  1. Replacement of the absolute measure of Lost Time Injuries with Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) to measure performance.
  2. 90% completion of Occupational Health and Safety mandatory training (in line with recent organisational change).
  3. 100% completion of Workplace Inspections each quarter.
  4. 100% completion of Workplace Inspection actions for the previous quarter.

Read more here.


R U OK? Day – Put on your yellow gear and join us on 10 September 

Every year, R U OK? Day is a reminder to check in on your colleagues and loved ones. This year, more than ever, it is important to have those conversations with those around you. COVID-19 poses a fresh challenge, not only to our physical health but our mental wellbeing as well.

At 2pm on Thursday 10 September, we will be bringing you a panel of experts to give some advice on how to stay connected while we are physically apart. They will speak on topics such as engaging with children, checking in with yourself and your loved ones, and how leaders can start the conversations with their team members. Read more here.

Funding and support for family violence during Coronavirus 

With more Victorians at home to slow the spread of coronavirus, we know there’s an increased risk for those experiencing family violence or abuse. Recently, the Victorian State Government announced an additional $20 million for family violence prevention and new funding for family violence services such as The Orange Door.

Here at Monash Health, we have a range of support measures in place for employees who may be experiencing family violence. The Manager’s guide to supporting our employees can be downloaded and is also available on PROMPT. The Strengthening Hospital Responses to Family Violence team continues to offer over-the-phone and online support for managers, employees and patient-related secondary consults. Read more here.

Library reshapes services to meet COVID-19 needs 

When the pandemic working from home order came through for the first time in March, our library services team wasted no time in reshaping their services to deliver on the needs of their many and varied clients.

The library team of seven employees across five sites set up additional online access points, such as ‘chat with a librarian’ on the library website, to implement what was needed to deliver the existing range of services remotely. They collated key resources on COVID-19 in an online guide to get the latest information to employees quickly. One of the new resources the library has put together is a library guide for managers on teamwork, communication, managing and leading. The variety of resources includes articles, podcasts, videos and other easy-to-digest information to help every manager. Read more here.

Workplace declaration

To help improve the safety of our consumers and employees, it’s vital that we have a clear understanding of any paid, unpaid or voluntary work you do for any other organisation. If you have not done so, please complete the Employee Workplace Declaration form today.

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.

Events this week

We continue to run weekly Webex Events to share the latest updates and to provide an opportunity for you to ask questions. Our events this week include:

Manager Briefing – Wednesday 2 September, 2pm

  • Listening loudly – Barry Bloch, Head of Organisational Transformation
  • Improving our safety culture for our colleagues – Karen Lowe, Executive Director, People and Culture
  • Questions

Employee Forum – Thursday 3 September, 2pm

  • COVID-19 update – Andrew Stripp, Chief Executive
  • Virtual Inpatient Care Project – Ronnie Ptasznik, Chief Medical Information Officer and Director of Clinical Imaging Services
  • The COVID code: Unlock your inner wellbeing and resilience – Max Von Sabler, Department of Psychology
  • Questions

Visit the events section on the COVID-19 website to learn more.

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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