NSLHD News 1 October 2021

Message from the Chief Executive Deb Willcox

Over the last few months while we have all been responding to the COVID-19 pandemic I have not been able to visit staff across the district as much as I would have liked. I value the communication and sharing of information with staff and your feedback is so important, which is why I am really looking forward to being able to visit our hospitals and services more when restrictions ease. By hearing from staff directly, it gives me a better understanding of the things we need to work on to make it easier for you to provide the best care for our patients. Which is why I am pleased I have been able to start connecting with staff in a different way via live video updates. The updates are an additional way of ensuring staff are kept up-to-date on our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and answer your questions. I understand many of you won’t be able to join me online in real-time, so recordings are being made available on the intranet homepage here: https://bit.ly/3okIQji It is reassuring to see the cases of COVID-19 in NSW seeming to stabilise and the vaccination rates increase so rapidly. The Clinical Advisory Group still continues to meet three times a week to guide the district on its response and is watching the modelling closely to ensure our hospitals and services meet any surge in patients that need our care. We have built additional capacity for COVID-19 patients requiring intensive care or treatment at our hospitals. I want to thank our ICU and hospitals teams for all they have been doing to enable us to open up more beds and have the staffing in place to care for an increased number of patients.

With the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the next fortnight we have to make sure we are not complacent. As healthcare workers, we need to continue to be strong advocates for vaccination, as well as the continuing to follow the important infection prevention measures as we advise and encourage our family and friends. We are fortunate our district’s community has come forward to get vaccinated at very high rates and we are seeing low COVID-19 transmission rates in northern Sydney. However, to ensure we reach the more vulnerable members of our community we have set up dedicated vaccination outreach clinics to reach those in social housing, with drug and alcohol or mental health issues and our Aboriginal community. Many staff have put their hand up to go and assist colleagues in other parts of the health system – at the Special Health Accommodation (SHA), vaccination centres, swab clinics and assisting our colleagues in regional New South Wales. Every time we call out for assistance, we receive a wonderful response from staff wanting to help. I would like to thank you all for the professionalism in which you are managing the ever changing demands of this pandemic.

Deb Willcox Chief Executive Northern Sydney Local Health District



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