Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 29 January

Message from the Chief Executive

As of today, we have:

  • No COVID-19 positive inpatients.
  • No employees in precautionary quarantine.

In this update we cover:

  • COVID-19 vaccination update
  • Monash Health recognised in 2021 Australia Day Honours
  • One year on from patient zero – thank you
  • One Monash Health doctor’s journey to the US during COVID-19
  • Are you eligible for a Monash Health car parking reimbursement?
  • Online education tool, BMJ Learning, now available at Monash Health
  • Monash Health leads the way with new cancer research
  • The CHO’s prescription for wellbeing
  • Regularly check credible vaccination resources to support and guide you

COVID-19 vaccination update
In welcome news, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.

COVID-19 vaccination using the Pfizer-BioNTech is now expected to commence at Monash Health in March. This change of date is due to supply issues and is not a reflection on the efficacy or safety of the vaccine.

As with any global program of this scale, vaccination remains a dynamic situation, and it is important that we all stay informed. Please continue to use the resources and updates available on the Monash Health vaccination website.

If you missed Thursday’s Employee Forum on vaccination, I encourage you to catch up here. Of particular note was a personal account of contracting COVID-19 from Dr Grace Butel-Simoes. Grace shared how the stress and emotional toll on her, her family and her colleagues can outweigh the physical effects. There was also an in-depth Q&A session with Professor Rhonda Stuart.

Monash Health recognised in 2021 Australia Day Honours

I’m pleased to share that several Monash Health team members received recognition for their service to the community in the 2021 Australia Day Honours List and government and council ceremonies.

Please join me in congratulating our winners on their impressive achievements:

  • Rodney Whyte, Senior Pharmacist at Monash Health, has been awarded the Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia “for service to pharmacy, professional societies, and the community”.
  • Kevin Ericksen, who recently celebrated 45 years at Monash Health, has been appointed a Member of The Order of Australia (AM) for his medical science service and pathology practice standards.
  • At Maroondah City Council’s Australia Day Awards, Monash Doctors Operations Co-ordinator, Anupa Shah, was named Maroondah’s Citizen of the Year for her work in community outreach projects.
  • Monash Health interpreter, Jawed Niazi, has been awarded a Highly Commended Citizen of the Year, from the City of Casey for his work in language translation and family violence support in the community.
  • Praveenkumar Pezhatholil and Jamie St Mart accepted the 2021 Holt Australia Day Award on behalf of Monash Health. The award identified Casey Hospital, the Casey Fields testing site and the Cranbourne Integrated Care Centre for their outstanding response to the pandemic.
  • Marg Harley, Imran Hanif, Karen Sawyer, Aimee Marriott, and Kristy de George represented Monash Health at the annual Australia Day Flag Raising Ceremony at Government House. The ceremony honours the emergency services, front line health and welfare workers, multicultural community leaders, charity volunteers and others who have supported the community over the past year.

Thank you all for your incredible response to a challenging 12 months and your continued dedication to those we care for.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

Key Messages

One year on from patient zero – thank you

As we reach the one-year milestone since Monash Health received the first Australian coronavirus patient into our care, it’s only right we stop, look back proudly at all that we’ve achieved and learnt, and reset for the next phase of the pandemic. The big message this week is thank you! Watch the video and read more as a reminder of how far we’ve come.

Regularly check credible vaccination resources to support and guide you

The employee COVID-19 website’s vaccination page has updates on the Monash Health vaccination program, FAQs, and information guided by subject matter experts and the latest research and health advice.

Attend Employee Forums and Manager Briefings tailored to vaccination. Please familiarise yourselves with the schedule of forums and attend directly or make time to catch up on past events.

The Department of Health has created a new website with additional information that you may wish to add to your list of credible sources of up to date information. You can also read the Australian COVID-19 vaccination policy and find out about the National COVID-19 vaccine rollout policy.

To ensure your vaccination program enquiries can be answered promptly, the Employee Hotline is preferable to email. You can find further details of the Employee Hotline here.

The CHO’s prescription for wellbeing

As the year gathers pace and we strive to focus on our health and wellbeing alongside work and other priorities, it is important to remember that, even at the peak of a global pandemic, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, placed importance on setting aside time for his own wellbeing. Read how he went about it.

Monash Health leads the way with new cancer research

A new genetic test developed at Monash Health is set to improve identification, diagnosis and personalised treatment for cancer patients, leading to better treatment outcomes. It has already proven vital in patient care, with a rare brain cancer identified in a young patient. Monash Health’s genetic laboratory team, under Dr Vivek Rathi,  has recently completed the validation process to introduce a screening test for a particular type of genetic abnormality called ‘genomic rearrangement’ or ‘gene fusion’ using a cutting edge next-generation sequencing (NGS) platform. Find out more about this exciting research here.

Are you eligible for a Monash Health car parking reimbursement?

Payroll Services are now reimbursing Monash Health car parking deductions for the quarter ending 31 December 2020. If you have worked at home or exclusively at a temporary off-site COVID-19 location that did not provide employee parking, you may be eligible for a refund. Find out how to apply for a refund here.

Online education tool, BMJ Learning, now available at Monash Health

The Monash Health Library is now providing access to BMJ Learning for all Monash Health employees. BMJ Learning is a leading provider of online education for healthcare professionals and provides hundreds of independent, evidence-based modules covering a range of topics and specialties. Find out more about the resource here.

One Monash Health doctor’s journey to the US during COVID-19

General paediatrician at Monash Children’s Hospital, Dr Sarah Arachchi, knew she faced a great challenge and tough decision when her husband secured a place as an inflammatory bowel disease fellow at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in the US.

Dr Arachchi detailed her journey relocating her family to the US for the ABC, from the empty airports to forming new friendships during a pandemic, and how the political unrest was a shock to her system. Read more about her journey here.

Continue to take advantage of wellbeing resources

Please 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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