Health workers reach critical stage in COVID-19 response

Willing and able. These are the qualities that define the thousands of West Moreton Health staff who answered the unprecedented challenge set by novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Chief Executive Dr Kerrie Freeman said West Moreton Health had reached a critical stage in its COVID-19 response, and she was delighted by just how much had been achieved.

“West Moreton region is one of the largest local government areas in the country to currently have no active cases, which is wonderful news and a testament to the work of our staff and partners, and the support we have received from the community,” Dr Freeman said.

“West Moreton Health people answered the challenge of COVID-19 and readied our facilities, reorganised teams and adapted services.

“The community has done a great job of staying home and stopping the virus from spreading, and we hope we are starting to turn the tide on the pandemic.”

Dr Freeman said although the West Moreton teams had been “busy doing what needed to be done”, the willingness of staff to adapt and respond to change was admirable.

“Health workers are not immune to the uncertainty and anxiety raised by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr Freeman said.

“They have families and their own health to consider, yet they come to work each day. During all the challenges, the response from staff has been amazing.”

Ipswich Hospital staff Shammee Higgins, Nurse Unit Manager Catherine Brookhouse, Sue Jones and Sarah Dickson

Dr Freeman sent out a personal thank you message to all West Moreton Health staff, and over coming days, staff will have an opportunity to thank their colleagues, too.

“We have also been overwhelmed by the messages of support from the community, including the Ipswich Hospital Foundation’s Hero-Grams campaign which attracted many thank you messages directly to staff.”

She said there is still much to do: “We must maintain our preparedness, and  vigilance on physical distancing, hygiene and infection prevention and control even as some restrictions are relaxed in Queensland,” she said.

She said many staff and patients had adapted to new ways of providing and receiving care, such as increased used of virtual health tools like telehealth.

She thanked staff who had been temporarily reassigned to assist areas in need.

“While we talk a lot about frontline staff and non-frontline staff, when it comes to the COVID-19, the response from everyone, including trades and engineering, is critical because without the collaborative effort, the clinical care we provide simply would not be possible,’’ she said.

Dr Freeman said a special thank you went to the community of West Moreton Health.

“Thank you for your patience and understanding – we are committed to resuming full services as soon as we can,” she said.

The public can send messages of support to the Ipswich Hospital Foundation’s Hero-gram page:

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