Chief Executive COVID-19 Update: 16 April

Message from the Chief Executive

There has been a great deal of information over the last week about the COVID-19 vaccination program with many conflicting, and some inaccurate, messages in the media, so I can understand why there may be confusion at this time. We are continuing to provide you with the latest information as we receive it and aim to keep you up to date with accurate information as we have always done.

We have received many questions this week from those with concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine. Those who participated in the Employee Forum on Tuesday will have heard the update from Prof Rhonda Stuart, who took the opportunity to again remind us that the AstraZeneca vaccine is very effective, and safe. There have been reports of a rare blood clotting disorder, at a rate of ~4 per million doses. It is important to remember that the risk of a side effect is there for every therapeutic agent that we give to patients or take ourselves. If you were unable to participate in the Forum, you may view it here:

Our priority remains to vaccinate as many people as possible and as soon as possible, particularly those at most risk of coming into contact with COVID-19, and those who are most vulnerable to severe disease or death.   Accordingly, we are prioritising ‘1A employees’ and then ‘1B employees’.  We only have limited supply of Pfizer and that is the only vaccine we are currently permitted to administer to people under 50 years of age.  Accordingly, if you are under 50 and in category 1A or category 1B you will be offered access to the Pfizer vaccine.  At the moment, if you are over 50 years of age we can only offer the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Some employees may be disappointed not to be able to receive a vaccine of their choice. However, no-one will be forced to have any vaccine. If you are over 50 and would prefer to wait until Pfizer supplies are more readily available, then we also understand.  We cannot advise, however, how long that wait will be.

In accordance with guidelines and current availability, the vaccine will be provided:

  • Employees aged under 50 will receive the Pfizer vaccine.
  • Employees over the age of 50 will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine.

More detail about the current COVID-19 vaccine program can be found on our COVID-19 website.

Thank you to everyone who has been vaccinated so far; hopefully, those who were unable to meet their appointment due to the recent pause in the program have been able to arrange new times. We have vaccinated 78% of employees in the 1A cohort, and almost 62% of all employees across Monash Health.

Finally, I would particularly like to thank those employees working in the vaccination clinics, infection prevention and operating the COVID-19 hotline. They are also having to deal with the changing landscape and are often the frontline for conveying this information and answering your questions. Please join me in thanking them, and ensure they continue to be treated with the respect they deserve. As has been the case throughout the pandemic, kindness is the order of the day.

Thank you.

Andrew Stripp
Chief Executive

Key messages

In this update, we cover:

  • COVID-19 vaccination update
  • Flu vaccination starts
  • Striving to keep our community safe from family violence
  • Changes to restrictions on sharing food
  • Microsoft 365 rolling out across Monash Health
  • Get your entries ready for the Patient Experience Week poster competition
  • Fit Testing rollout continues
  • Single Employer Residential Aged Care – Restriction Update
  • New quality food standards announced at Kingston
  • On-site Patient Experience Rounding to help get accreditation-ready
  • New mandatory privacy training now on Latte
  • It’s time to complete your Deteriorating Patient training
  • Protecting patient privacy – take the survey
  • Online pre-registration launching at all Monash Health COVID-19 screening clinics
  • Our ‘Clayton cubes’ move to Kingston to create a new dialysis space
  • Monash Health ‘Your rights and responsibilities’ brochure updated

Give flu the flick with your free vaccination
At Monash Health, we offer free flu vaccination to all employees. Infection Prevention is now rolling out the flu vaccination program across Monash Health sites. We encourage everyone to participate.

There are a number of ways you can get vaccinated, including at onsite vaccination days, mobile ward rounds, and after-hours and weekend rounds. Learn more about where to get your flu vaccination.

Striving to keep our community safe from family violence
Five years on from Victoria’s Royal Commission into Family Violence, we reflect on the work our Family Violence teams and Family Violence Taskforce have achieved so far. But we know our work is not done, and now is the time to focus our attention on the Information Sharing Scheme legislation coming into effect on Monday 19 April.

The legislation will help break down silos and barriers to sharing information across organisations, and increase the safety of victim survivors and our wider community.

This is a significant change, and I encourage anyone in a patient-facing role, managers and those outlined here to take some time and attend a briefing to understand how this will impact you, the way you work and the legal requirements. Learn more here.

Changes to restrictions on sharing food
In line with further easing of restrictions that recently came into effect across Victoria, Monash Health has made some changes to our ‘no shared food’ rule, introduced in March 2020. It is still important to remember that Monash Health remains a higher-risk setting than home or other locations. Individually wrapped snacks like chocolates and lollies can now be shared in non-clinical areas of Monash Health. Read more here.

Microsoft 365 an important development for Monash Health
Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based subscription suite encompassing the familiar Microsoft Office and more. With productivity applications, cloud services, device management, and security functions, get ready to collaborate and seamlessly connect with workmates from wherever you are. Find out more about this important technology improvement here.

Fit Testing rollout continues
Fit Testing continues to successfully rollout across Monash Health and is now available to all priority cohorts who require mandatory fit testing. So far, over 3,000 employees have been fit tested since December, which represents over half of the priority cohort. Thank you to all of those who have been fit tested so far.

Victorian Government visits Kingston Centre to announce new quality food standards
Earlier this week, we opened the doors of our Central Production Kitchen at the Kingston Centre to the Acting Premier James Merlino and the Minister for Health Martin Foley as they announced new nutrition and quality food standards in Victorian public hospitals.

Imran Hanif, Manager, Support Services at Monash Health, participated in the review of the food standards and said that he welcomed the announcement of the standards that will come into effect by the end of 2021.

Single Employer Residential Aged Care – Restriction Update
With a high percentage of our aged care residents and employees now vaccinated, and in line with COVID-19 restrictions easing in Victoria, where it is impractical to continue with single site arrangements, we will begin allowing employees to work across multiple sites. However, we will continue to have tight controls in place to protect our residents. Read the full story here for further details.

Get your entries ready for the Consumer Participation poster competition
This year, as part of Patient Experience Week, you are invited to submit an A3 poster showcasing your consumer participation activities. There are some great prizes on offer and your poster will be printed and displayed during the week.

Consumer participation is everyone’s responsibility, and there are some fantastic examples across Monash Health. The poster competition will allow us to celebrate and showcase our consumer participation projects. The deadline for poster submissions is 18 April; read more for submission details.

On-site Patient Experience Rounding to help you get accreditation-ready
From Monday 19 to Thursday 22 April 2021, the Patient Experience team will be visiting our main hospitals and sites to help you with your accreditation preparation.

Patient Experience Rounding will be conducted at Casey, Cranbourne, Dandenong, Kingston, Clayton (MMC and MCH) and Moorabbin, with a focus on:

  • Coaching and supporting you to meet the intent of the Partnering with Consumers national standard.
  • Providing guidance on showcasing how we partner with patients and consumers in their care and the design and improvement of our services.
  • Informing you about the resources available to help you meet the standard.

There’s no need to book as the team will come to you. Read more here or check out the dates for your hospital/site via our accreditation events page.

New mandatory privacy training now on Latte
How we manage our patients’ and our colleagues’ privacy is a crucial element of the trust they place in us. A privacy breach means you are breaking the law, and you could lose your job. Every day, sensitive information is disclosed to us in confidence and for a clear purpose and must be handled carefully and sensitively. To ensure we are all comfortable that we can get this right, we have developed a new mandatory privacy e-learning module to understand better your legal responsibilities about access, disclosure, and personal information handling. Please log in to Latte and take this short training module as soon as possible.

It’s time to complete your Deteriorating Patient training
If you are a patient-facing clinician, it’s vital that you complete your Deteriorating Patient training. The good news is that completing the online component of your deteriorating patient training (excluding neonatal courses) before 31 May 2021, will be considered full completion of the course. Learn more here.

Help us in protecting patient privacy – take this short survey today
We are continually working to improve our processes, particularly when it comes to patient privacy. For this reason, we have asked our Internal Auditors, EY Australia, to undertake a Privacy and Confidentiality of Health Records review. Please take five minutes to complete the survey and assist us in ensuring everyone’s privacy is protected.

Online pre-registration launching at all Monash Health COVID-19 screening clinics
In partnership with the Department of Health, we’ve introduced the online COVID-19 Testing Registration form, Test Tracker, at Monash Health testing sites. This will help significantly in speeding up the screening process. Find out more here.

‘Clayton Cubes’ move to create extra renal dialysis space at Kingston Centre
The six-bay resuscitation unit at the front of Monash Medical Centre, Clayton, created additional capacity for the pandemic response. This week will see them moved, and repurposed later this year into extra renal dialysis space at Kingston Centre, subject to funding approval. The exciting initiative will support us to remain agile and resourceful in fulfilling our patients’ needs. Read more.

Monash Health ‘Your rights and responsibilities’ brochure updated
The Monash Health ‘Your rights and responsibilities’ brochure has been updated in line with the recent changes to the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (2nd edition).

New brochures are available for order. Find out more.

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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