Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 26 November 2020

Message from the Chief Executive

  • As of today, we have:
    • No COVID-19 positive inpatients
    • No employees with COVID-19
    • No employees in precautionary quarantine

After caring for Australia’s first COVID-19 patient more than 300 days ago, earlier this week we discharged the final patient of Victoria’s second wave.

A man and his wife had both been inpatients for more than a month and, at one stage, they were so critically ill their family feared for the worst. The couple slowly responded to treatment, until the woman was discharged on Thursday, followed by her husband on Monday.

You can watch Dr Rhonda Stuart, talking to the TODAY Show about the last patient here.

Cases in the State are now at zero, down from 4,293 three months ago.

While COVID-19 has not gone away, it is a moment to celebrate. It’s a result you helped bring about through your work ethic and resilience.

Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton will be joining us at the Employee Forum on Tuesday, to share his thanks and answer any questions you might have. I encourage you to attend.

On Sunday, the Premier announced the move to the next step on the Coronavirus road map for reopening. These are the key points, as they relate to Monash Health:

Masks remain mandatory indoors and in queues
Masks are no longer required outdoors except where physical distancing cannot be maintained. If people are in a queue, even if it is outdoors, masks must be worn – this includes at our entrances.

Face coverings remain mandatory indoors (outside your home) unless an exemption applies. Employees and visitors must continue to wear a mask inside our facilities.

PPE requirements have changed
The following change comes into effect immediately and further aligns Monash Health policy with DHHS:

Tier 1 PPE now is the use of a surgical mask only. Face shield/goggles are no longer required to be worn.  Tier 1 PPE applies in low-risk areas where patients are NOT suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 and are not in quarantine.

Read about our updated PPE requirements here.

Surgical patients require COVID-19 screening preoperatively, but no longer require a routine COVID-19 swab.
Effective today:

  • Elective Surgery – the COVID-19 screen occurs at preadmission (COVID-19 screening team) and is repeated on admission to hospital by the nurse as part of the Preoperative Theatre Checklist.
  • Emergency Surgery/Unplanned – the COVID-19 screen is the responsibility of the Surgical team requesting surgery and occurs at the time of decision for surgery.
  • If a COVID-19 screen returns a positive response (Epidemiology or Symptoms or Both)
    • Elective Surgery – a swab is required, and the result should be known before admission. If a positive swab result is returned, then surgery should be deferred until the patient is clear of COVID-19.
    • Emergency Surgery – a swab is required, and surgery should proceed using the Emergency Surgical Pathway – treating as clinically indicated, with PPE requirements based on the patient’s COVID-19 status.

Visitor restrictions for Residential Care change on 27 November
In line with the last step of the roadmap for reopening, some changes have been made to visitation in Monash Health residential care facilities, effective from 27 November. Read about the changes here.

Over the coming days, we will work through updated visitation guidelines across the rest of the health service. The priority, as always, will be to ensure the safety of our patients, employees and the community.

At this stage, there are no other changes to visitor restrictions.

Kingston Centre to receive $134.6m boost
I am pleased to share that the State Budget included a total investment of $134.6 million to build a brand-new 150-bed aged care facility at the Kingston Centre. The building will be state-of-the-art and dementia-friendly, specifically designed to cater for residents with high care or mental health needs.

Initial planning has already taken place. With this financial commitment, the next stages of design can begin, ahead of construction commencing. This investment is a testament to our dedicated aged care team and will provide them with the new facilities they need to provide the best possible care for residents.

Congratulations Professor Euan Wallace AM
Professor Euan Wallace AM has recently been appointed to the key role of Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

A widely respected leader in the health sector, Prof Wallace is a Monash Health alumni and Director of the Women’s Program from 2006 to 2016. Most recently Prof Wallace has been serving as Deputy Secretary at DHHS, jointly responsible for case management, contact tracing and outbreak management. He has performed these duties on secondment from his role as CEO of Safer Care Victoria.

He has more than a decade of experience in healthcare governance and clinical improvement and is also a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Monash University. We congratulate Prof Wallace and wish him well in his new role.

Thank you for your dedication and care to our patients, community and each other.

Andrew Stripp

Chief Executive


Key Messages

Dandelion Wishes Celebration
On Saturday night, the Dandelion Wishes Celebration at Home raised more than $329,000 towards equipment for the new Children’s Emergency Department.

The evening was hosted by 9News, with MC, Alicia Loxley, from the 9News team. More than 600 people logged in to the event and enjoyed the event’s performers, including The Black Sorrows, Bella Paige and Tim Campbell while supporting the delivery of care to our young emergency patients.  Read more about the event here.

Length of Service Awards
This week we began the presentation of this year’s Length of Service Awards. Running as a series of virtual events, we are recognising and celebrating some of our outstanding people and paying tribute to their dedicated service.

These events continue next week. You are welcome to join in acknowledging your colleagues and can access details here.

Just a few days until the 2020 NAMAS  
This Friday, 27 November, all employees are invited to celebrate and formally acknowledge the achievements of our nurses and midwives at the 15th Annual Nursing and Midwifery Awards and Scholarships (NAMAS). Congratulations to all our 2020 nominees across the six award categories. View the nominees, download an event poster or get the Webex event details. 

It’s time to talk about family violence
Wednesday was the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It began the worldwide United Nations 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence and is an opportunity for us to take stock of our family violence work.

In all parts of the health service, we need to be alert to the signs of family violence and ready to have sensitive conversations with our patients and our colleagues and make sure we provide the right advice to help keep people safe. We will again start our ‘You can ask about family violence campaign’ internally and on social media.  Learn more here.

Increased demand for SECASA services
South Eastern Centre Against Sexual Assault (SECASA) has reported a 250% increase in demand for their services from the same period last year. Other family violence services across Australia have experienced similar demand for their services.  SECASA employees have observed some changes to the types of family violence that victims and survivors are experiencing. These include increased levels of control, misinformation regarding public health advice and further isolation. Read more here.

Our PROMPT upgrade is just around the corner 
Our Prompt system upgrades for Monash Health and Jessie McPherson Private Hospital took place yesterday. All Prompt documents were migrated as part of the upgrade. Existing links to PROMPT documents in the EMR, as well as embedded links throughout our platforms and systems, remain active and accessible. Read more about what’s been happening and how to access the new Prompt.

Beyond the Mask Episode 10 - drive through screening clinic with Meg Supel

Associate Nurse Manager, Meg Supel was accustomed to caring for mothers and their newborns when she got the call to be Site Lead at the Casey Fields drive-through COVID-19 screening clinic. This included working collaboratively and successfully with an extended team of traffic controllers and Australian Defence Force members. Through the latest Beyond the Mask episode, Meg describes overcoming the unique challenges, and the sense of purpose and compassion it took to reassure thousands of anxious Victorians during such a critical time.  Hear what Meg has to say in Episode 10 here. 

Workplace safety: being vigilant is important 
Monash Medical Centre Emergency Department Nurse Kate Robinson is aware of workplace dangers and the importance of acting upon them. She has realised that being vigilant is essential and has taken on the role of Health and Safety Representative to ensure her workplace is safe for all. Read more here.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness Forum – Dr Ngaree Blow
You are welcome to join in an after-hours forum delivered by Dr Ngaree Blow on Wednesday 2 December from 5.30-7.30pm. Dr Blow, a Noonuccal, Yorta-Yorta woman, was named as one of the Australian Financial Review‘s 100 Women of Influence for 2019. She is a leading voice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health, having worked passionately to improve health inequalities for First Nations Australians.

The forum is free for all Monash Health employees and will be open for our GP liaison network and Primary Health network.  Book here. A few places also are still available for this year’s final two all-day Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness sessions on December 2 and 9. Book here.

Bailey’s Day founder receives Australian honour

Patrick Tessier, one of our most committed supporters of Monash Children’s Hospital, was presented with his Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) last week. Patrick has made a significant difference to patient care in the MCH Cancer Centre by contributing more than $3.4 million over the past 17 years.  The funds have been used to train additional clinical oncologists. Read more here.

Last chance to register for the AGM and Open Board Meeting

We invite you to join us for Monash Health’s 2020 Annual General Meeting and Open Board Meeting, which will be held virtually on Thursday 3 December, starting at 2pm.

Join us to learn how we cared for our community during 2019-20. We’ll highlight new initiatives, challenges faced during the onset of COVID-19, financial results and our performance. Due to COVID-19, the Annual General Meeting will be held virtually, but you will need to register your attendance and RSVP by Wednesday 2 December.

To RSVP, visit


Upcoming events

Stay up to date with events on our COVID-19 website for Monash Health employees.

15th Annual Nursing & Midwifery Awards & Scholarships (NAMAS), 1.30pm Friday 27 November

Read more.

Employee Forum, 2.00pm Tuesday 1 December

Read more.

Webinar – The Shadow Pandemic: Why the health response to family violence is more important than ever, 2.00pm Tuesday 1 December

Read more.

Length of Service Awards: 20 years, 25 years, 5.30pm Tuesday 1 December

Read more.

Medical Grand Round – Medical Assessment & Family Violence, 12.30pm Wednesday 2 December

Read more.

Length of Service Awards: 30 years, 35 years, 40 years, 45 years, 5.30pm Wednesday 2 December

Read more.

Annual General Meeting and Open Board Meeting 2020, 2.00pm Thursday 3 December

Read more.

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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