Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 18 December 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

Case numbers in Sydney’s Northern Beaches Cluster have increased to 38 and are expected to rise further.


DHHS is strongly advising people not to travel to Sydney as you may not be able to re-enter without undertaking hotel quarantine for 14 days.


Anyone trying to enter Victoria from the Northern Beaches and other NSW exposure sites (red zone) from midnight tonight will not be permitted to enter. If people arrive from a red zone after midnight tonight, they will be transferred to hotel quarantine where they will be required to remain for 14 days.


Anyone from NSW travelling from Greater Sydney (orange zone) is encouraged to get tested on arrival and self-quarantine until they receive a negative result.


Those travelling from regional NSW (green zone) will be asked to monitor for symptoms.


Further details are available here:


Caring for patients and consumers who have been in Sydney
All patients and consumers who have been in the Greater Sydney region of Sydney, including but not limited to the Northern Beaches area, since or on 11 December 2020, should be managed in Tier 3 precautions and swabbed:

  • Those who have been in the Northern Beaches area should continue to be managed in Tier 3 precautions for 14 days since leaving the area of risk.
  • Those who have been in the Greater Sydney area should be managed in Tier 3 precautions until the first swab is returned negative.

Advice for employees who have been in Sydney
The Victorian Government has determined that if you visited the Northern Beaches Local Government Area of Sydney on or since Friday 11 December 2020, whether you have symptoms or not, you must immediately get tested and self-isolate for 14 days from the date you left the region. You will be tested again on day 11.


Please also immediately contact:

  1. Monash Health Infection Prevention team and COVID-19 Enquiries team advising the last day that you were in the area, your employee number and your mobile number.
  2. Your line manager.

In addition, the Victorian Government has now advised that Greater Sydney is now on orange alert, meaning anyone who has been in the Greater Sydney area is encouraged to test and isolate until a negative test result is received.


The situation is evolving, and we will provide further advice as it becomes available.


Changes to visitation – effective Monday 21 December 2020

We are pleased to announce further easing of visitor restrictions as we head into the holiday season. Changes vary across the health service, but in many areas it will provide for increased visitor numbers and longer visiting hours.


You can view the new visiting hours here. They will be effective from Monday 21 December 2020.


Monash Health Board of Directors say ‘thank you’

The Monash Health Board of Directors wanted to thank you all personally for your dedicated service and share their gratitude and best wishes with a special video message. Watch the video here. The Board is always aware of your commitment to our community and each other at all times. However, in this extraordinary year, the incredible resilience and fortitude of all Monash Health employees has shone brightly, ensuring the continued high standards and safe outcomes for those we care for.


Remote working
One of the changes we made in response to the pandemic was the introduction of remote working for those whose roles could be undertaken safely and effectively offsite. This new way of working has been well-received and brings a range of benefits.


We are now planning for remote working to continue for roles that can be undertaken safely.

A project team will commence work in January to facilitate the move to ongoing remote working. They will define policies, procedures and guidelines, establish dedicated workspaces for when remote employees are onsite, ensure our technology meets requirements, consider workforce planning and keep you up to date throughout the process. You can read more about remote working here.


Changes to negative air pressure and air flows
With fewer cases of COVID-19 in the community, there is a reduced need for negative air pressure and air flows within some clinical areas.


Some wards at Clayton, Casey and Dandenong are being converted back to normal airflows. This will also assist our Engineering teams to maintain suitable ambient air temperatures and reduce our energy consumption over the hot summer months.


Negative pressure areas will still be maintained within ICU and class N isolation rooms for the management of infectious patients. If COVID-19 cases increase in the future, we are well-positioned to quickly reactivate negative air pressure and air flows to ensure the safety of our employees and patients.


Christmas and New Year period
For those of you who are working over the holiday season, thank you. The care and reassurance you provide our patients, consumers and their families is truly appreciated. If you are taking a break, I hope you enjoy the opportunity to rest and recharge.


Recognising that 2020 has been a busy year and that people need time to rest and recalibrate, we will pause all non-essential corporate meetings in January. This does not include tiered operational meetings, which will continue.


Last month, we asked for your input on how we should celebrate the year. The results did not present a clear alternative and, in that time, we have seen the continued easing of restrictions which will provide us with an opportunity to gather in small groups.


We will continue with our annual lunches; however, given the availability of suppliers, this was not possible before the end of the year. We will reschedule this celebration for early 2021.


This will be my final update until next year. Any urgent messages for all employees between now and the next edition will be issued as alerts. I wish you all a happy festive season with family and friends and thank you once again for all you have contributed in 2020.


Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive


Key Messages

Changes to Kronos access

Due to system updates from Kronos, we will need to access Kronos differently from next Tuesday (22 December 2020). To access the full version of Kronos, employees will need to log in to Kronos via the remote desktop.


If you have any trouble accessing Citrix or the remote desktop, please contact IT Service Desk on (03) 9594 7255 for assistance.


Note: You can still use the java-free version of Kronos available on the employee portal.


Looking after yourself, your colleagues and your family
As we begin to wind down for the festive season, we know for some it can be a difficult time, particularly after the personal and professional challenges each of us has faced this year.


We care about your mental health and wellbeing and are committed to supporting you throughout the holidays with a wide range of resources. If you notice that someone is not doing well, it’s important to check in and remind them of the services we have available.


Moorabbin Hospital services over Christmas and New Year
In line with normal reduction in demand during the Christmas/New Year period, there will be a temporary change in services provided at Moorabbin Hospital.


Care usually provided by Ward 2 and Surgical Ward at Moorabbin Hospital will be provided at Monash Medical Centre Clayton from Thursday 24 December 2020 until Monday 11 January 2021. Read more here


Updated advice for N95/P2 respirators
The Department of Health and Human Services has amended their advice for N92/P2 respirators and their use as part of Tier 3 PPE Precautions.


These changes further define the risk categories of suspected COVID-19 patients, but do not significantly alter any components of our current PPE Tiers. Learn more on the COVID-19 website.


Online visitor registration form launches
Monash Medical Centre and Monash Children’s Hospital went live on Wednesday with our new online visitor screening tool. The tool streamlines our collection of visitor information and is scheduled to be rolled out at all other hospital campuses on Friday 18 December. Learn more.


Day leave for inpatients on Christmas Day
In certain circumstances, and with the approval of the local clinical leadership team, some patients will be able to leave the hospital on Christmas Day to spend time with their families and loved ones. No overnight leave will be permitted. As part of our infection prevention protocols, patients returning from day leave to any Monash Health facility will be required to undergo the same screening process undertaken by visitors. This could involve using the new online visitor screening tool which streamlines our collection of information, allowing people to complete a simple online screening form (similar to Attestations).


We remind people on day leave to be cautious and to ensure that they adhere to all community requirements, such as limits to the numbers of people in facilities, including homes. We recommend that they wear a mask where possible and are not in contact with people who have been tested for COVID-19 and are awaiting results.


Dr Danielle Oh – winner of the Albert Baikie Award

Monash Health Haematologist Dr Danielle Oh has been awarded the Albert Baikie Award, which recognises the best presentation coming from members of the Haematology Society of Australia at its Annual Scientific Meeting. Dr Oh’s presentation focused on dual-targeted therapy in MYC-driven cancer, which is part of her ongoing PhD work. Dr Oh was presented with the Albert Baikie Memorial Medal as part of her prize. Read more.


Dr Christina Johnson wins prize for research paper 

Dr Christina Johnson has been awarded the Melbourne Medical School Annual Publication Prize (students) 2020. It is believed to be the first time a medical education paper has won this prize.


Dr Johnson is part of the Monash Doctors Education team at Monash Health and received the award for the research paper: Psychological safety in feedback: What does it look like and how can educators work with learners to foster it? The paper was co-authored by Johnson CE, Keating JL, Molloy EK. Read more.


Extraordinary contribution to pharmacy 

At the recent Length of Service Awards, we heard from Domenica Davies, one of four of our colleagues who have worked with Monash and its predecessors for 45 years. What was obvious was how committed and passionate Domenica is about pharmacy, still now. Her family has made an incredible contribution to our organisation. Read more about Domenica’s career and enjoy some of the other stories of our 40 and 45 year colleagues, for a great appreciation of what keeps people with Monash Health.


40 years at Monash Health – hear from Julie and Phaik Sim 

This year, as part of the Length of Service Awards, we had the opportunity to speak to some of our long-serving colleagues. Julie Woolsey is an Associate Nurse Unit Manager at Dandenong ICU, and Phaik Sim Lim is a Senior Physiotherapist, also based at Dandenong Hospital. Both Julie and Phaik Sim have been at Monash Health for 40 years and were honoured at our final Length of Service ceremony.


We spoke to them about their roles, the changes they have seen throughout their time at Monash Health, and asked them what they are most grateful for. Watch the videos to learn more about Julie and Phaik Sim.  


Parking restrictions to be enforced in Greater Dandenong
Greater Dandenong Council has advised that they are recommencing full enforcement of parking restrictions, including the time restrictions around Dandenong Hospital.

Ensure you follow signposted parking regulations to avoid an infringement notice.


Take a meeting break in January
After a big year in 2020, it’s important to take time to breathe, recalibrate, and renew our focus for 2021. To help ease the load, we will pause all non-essential corporate meetings in January. Tiered operational meetings will continue.


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.


Upcoming events

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

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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