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Nominations for Stars of COVID-19, Western Australia

The Stars of COVID-19 campaign was launched by the WA branch of the Australasian College of Health Service Management (ACHSM).


The COVID-19 Pandemic has changed all of our lives. At the forefront of preparing to deal with, and then manage the myriad of complex issues embedded within this crisis, has been the dedicated staff from all over Western Australia’s health care, aged care and community care sectors.

One way our WA branch wished to show their appreciation to so many people was by hosting the Stars of COVID-19 campaign. We invited our colleagues to nominate individuals or teams who they felt showed the characteristics of compassionate and excellent leadership during the pandemic.

We received over 220 nominations. This was not a competition, rather an opportunity to celebrate effort, commitment and very hard work. The nominations demonstrate that great leadership in health care occurs at every level in any organisation. It is not about a title. It is about making a difference.

How grateful we all should be as Western Australians to know that there is so much great leadership out there in our clinics, our hospitals, our community and aged care settings, our general practices and in our public health units.

The ACHSM salutes all the people listed here and sees them as a representation of all the other leadership shown every day, in every decision that is made, and in the everyday care that is so professionally provided.

Below is the full list of nominees and the reasons for which they were nominated.


Planning Health and Wellbeing Team of Social Workers (State Health Incident Control Centre)

The State Health Incident Control Centre (SHICC) Planning Health and Wellbeing Team of Social Workers are the embodiment of goodness, compassion, and professionalism.    Many of the guests that were in quarantine have left mandatory isolation in a much better state of health and wellness than they might have if they had not been recipients of the equitable care and tangible support provided by the SHICC Planning-Health and Wellbeing Team of Social Workers, ably led by a true leader, Alex (Alexandra) Cann. 

Dr Paul Armstrong & Tudor Codreanu (Deputy Chief Health Officer, WAMAT and SHICC member)

Paul and Tudor have been integral to WA and Australia's response to COVID-19 starting with working on the Diamond Princess. They have undertaken many activities since the response started, but critically they crafted the plan to safely disembark and manage all passengers and crew on board the Artania. This work included boarding the ship and then crafting the plan which ultimately was implemented jointly with the Commonwealth, and has seen the ship heading safely back to Germany with no West Australians being infected as a result of the ship docking. All of this work was done with the utmost compassion for all those on board.  Both Paul and Tudor are truly WA stars of COVID-19.

Alex Cann (Health and Wellbeing Team Leader, State Health Incident Control Centre)

Alex built a multidisciplinary team of nine clinicians at very short notice with a variety of expertise from several Health Service Providers.  Alex is professional, organized, positive and supportive. She is dedicated and systematic in her approach and is able to build effective relationships with key stakeholders. Proactive in her approach, Alex always advocates for the guests, ensuring they receive the best support and services required.  Her leadership enabled the team to manage guests with complex mental health, drug alcohol and behavioural issues competently and safely.  Alex is a well deserving star of COVID-19.

Dr Sophie Davison (Clinical Lead COVID-19 Health Operations Mental Health, SHICC)

Dr Davison's leadership for the mental health sector in Western Australia throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic has been outstanding. Whilst primarily concerned with the public sector, she has generously assisted our colleagues from the private and non-government sectors, providing excellent advice, guidance and leadership in respect of the most vulnerable of our patient cohort, who are battling the crippling effects of acute mental illness as well as fears, anxiety and apprehensions about the COVID-19 pandemic.   Dr Davison's has provided advice and guidance for a cohort of patients who have presented with extremely challenging behaviours, and who have required reassurance and compassion when being treated.

Angela Kelly (Assistant Director General Purchasing and System Performance, Department of Health)

Angela led all the negotiations for the Cooperation Agreement with the private hospitals in WA. Without her support and diligent efforts, taking many extra hours over weekends and evenings, the private hospitals would not have been in a place to be on standby and ready to assist with a Covid response. Angela was at all times fair and cooperative. No workers in the private hospitals in WA had to be stood down because of this agreement. Angela also continued her day job, managing the $8B budget process for 2020/21.

Dr Andrew Robertson (Chief Health Officer, Department of Health)

As Chief Health Officer, Dr Robertson has led WA’s COVID-19 health response.  Working tirelessly, he has been a strong leader in the broader health and Government response, bringing an evidenced based approach to complex issues.  At all times kept the health and wellbeing of the community at the centre of any decisions, whilst bring the team together in times of uncertainty, encouraging flexibility of thinking to plan and problem solve. He has demonstrated agile leadership in moving between significant issues and agencies, and at all times displayed individual and organizational compassion. 

Liz MacLeod (CE COVID-19 Health Operations, SHICC)

When it became clear that WA Health was going to require a prolonged response to COVID-19, Liz was asked to take on the role of Lead CE, to coordinate operational decisions in collaboration with the other Health Service Providers (HSPs) CE’s.  Subsequently, Liz was given responsibility for the overall coordination and oversight of activities carried out by HSPs, private hospitals and other providers in response to the public health emergency.  This was done for a period of time whilst also leading East Metropolitan Health Service (EMHS); which serves a population of around 700,000 people, has an Aboriginal population similar sized as the Kimberley region, and employs more than 8,400 staff.   As the CE COVID-19 Health Operations within the State Health Incident Coordination Centre (SHICC) Liz’s leadership, abilities and attributes were integral to the successful system response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jennifer Campbell (Chief Allied Health Officer, Department of Health)

Jennifer demonstrates extraordinary cross-sectoral leadership. At short notice, committed to lead the Primary Care and Community Health stream of the WA Health COVID-19 Pandemic Clinical Services and Operational response. This stream has required extensive coordination across numerous sectors and stakeholder organizations in areas including primary care, home care, Aboriginal health, dental services, disability and homelessness. This was in partnership with Commonwealth, State and Local agencies as well as NGOs and private organizations.  The response included innovative services into hotels for people experiencing homelessness and progressing grants for community case management models.  Jennifer developed and delivered creative ideas, used existing and new networks together to solve common issues facing Western Australians. Particularly looking out for the concerns for many Western Australians who are often marginalized in society, have reduced access to mainstream services, and at greater risk of adverse outcomes from COVID-19.

Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) (Communicable Disease Control Directorate, Department of Health)

PHEOC coordinated a flexible, scalable and proportionate WA health system response, with appropriate and timely interventions and allocation of resources, to minimise the health consequences of COVID-19 infectious disease emergency.  Public Health staff have been governed and led by a strong and collaborative leadership team (including Dr Paul Armstrong, Dr Clare Huppatz - PHEOC Coordinator, Dr Revle Bangor-Jones – Deputy PHEOC Coordinator) that has informed, encouraged and supported the team throughout the unprecedented challenges that COVID-19 has presented.  PHEOC’s work at the coalface, collaboration with key stakeholders and commitment to protecting the WA community as our state government navigates the COVID-19 roadmap to recovery is to be acknowledged as excellent practice in action. 

BreastScreen WA

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, BreastScreen WA had to suspend breast cancer screening for the first time since 1990 to protect the safety of participants and employees.  BreastScreen had to shutdown clinics and relocate four mobile services form regional WA to Perth CBD.  During the four week closure, BreastScreen partnered with private radiology services and GP’s to provide additional pathways for clients requiring urgent assessment of screen detected abnormalities. Whilst employees were deployed to support COVID19 response, senior management ensured a continued response to an evolving COVID19 situation, addressing concerns from government, clients, community and employees. 

The leadership team developed a strategy and plan for the rapid close down and restart, that took into account clinical priority, geographical location and targeted communication channels.  Three weeks later when screening services resumed, BreastScreen WA was the first service nationwide to reinstate screening services.  Women who had their appointment cancelled were contacted and 3,000 online bookings were made within the first week of reopening.  Throughout the shutdown, the program received positive feedback from both client and clinical stakeholders. 


East Metropolitan Health Service

Dr Susan Mills (Emergency Medicine Consultant, SJOG Midland and Sir Charles Gairdner)

Over the past weeks, Susan has demonstrated exceptional leadership, commitment and expertise in ensuring caregivers are prepared to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.   Susan’s colleagues have acknowledged her tireless efforts in ensuring a multi-disciplinary, high quality response within the Emergency Department at Midland. This has included establishing and testing processes for intubation of the patient with suspected COVID-19 and advocacy for appropriate usage of PPE by staff.

Through these extraordinary times, colleagues have shared that “she shows the same compassion for caregivers as she does for patients” and “her efforts through these times are likely to save lives of patients and caregivers”.  Susan most definitely is a "Star of COVID-19".

Mike Hayward (Emergency Management, Armadale Kalamunda Group)

Mike is very passionate about his job and has continued long hours to prepare for the disaster the pandemic could potentially produce.  Although the WA public and government have done an excellent job, Mike is still tirelessly working to ensure all plans are in place for a worst case scenario over winter.  Without his dedication and foresight AKG would not be as ready to fight COVID-19 now and over the coming months. 

Dr Richard Arenson (Head of Department Geriatric Medicine, Royal Perth Hospital)

Dr Arenson has shown great leadership having to suddenly move Geriatric Medicine from Royal Perth Hospital to Bentley Hospital due to concerns that the hospital would be expecting large numbers of COVID-19 patients from cruise ships.  This process was done seamlessly with great teamwork, with minimal of fuss, providing outstanding support for his departmental staff, spending many hours outside of work with absolute professionalism.   Dr Arenson should be commended for his dedication, effort and leadership in the best care of the elderly in WA.

Sally Simpson (Nurse Educator, Royal Perth Hospital and Bentley Hospital)

Sally is a Nurse Educator at RPBG for over 23 years where she is instrumental in leading and working with clinicians to develop an evidence based approach to developing & implementing clinical practice standards, governance systems for corporate and clinical documents, Inter-professional education and audit programs for personal protective equipment (PPE) and aseptic techniques.

During COVID-19, Sally has been exceptional in providing a leadership role during COVID to her both clinical educators and by doing everything possible to minimise the fear that healthcare staff experienced whilst managing COVID-19 patients.  Sally’s has demonstrated the highest levels of leadership, commitment, passion and compassion when education and supporting hospital staff to undertake their work using PPE correctly, safely and confidently.

Kylie Fawcett (Nurse Educator, Royal Perth Hospital and Bentley Hospital)

Kylie used innovation to provide high quality education through simulation.  Kylie worked long days, using her extensive expertise to design COVID-19 pandemic simulation exercises to enable clinical staff to practice treating COVID-19 patients.  There was heightened staff concern about how to protect themselves, their colleagues and families.  These simulation exercises reinforced their confidence in looking after COVID-19 patients and that care could be delivered safely and effectively.  The education received an overwhelming positive response from over 200 clinical staff, and Kylie’s leadership and teamwork enabled staff to feel safe and better prepared when caring for acutely ill COVID-19 patients.

Dr Paul Hill and Team (Director of ED, Armadale Kalamunda Group)earl

Dr Paul Hill demonstrated strong values based leadership by being one of three senior clinical advisors that supported the AKG Executive in daily decision making, policy development, change management and ensuring patients and staff were maintained as number one priority. In his personal time he researched international learnings and brought regular suggestions that assisted our health service preparation and response. Paul was available 7 days a week 24/7 for leadership advice and support from front line to executive.

Paul's and Carmen (Nurse unit Manager) supported their team in partnership, with simulated learning through scenario testing of all specialties to ensure effective clinical treatment, infection prevention, and PPE management.  Paul demonstrated truly values based team work and was empathetic to the fear of the clinical workforce, always demonstrating kindness and acknowledged the fears of the workforce.

At no time did Paul and Carmen reduce oversight of departmental governance and safety. Safety and quality indicators continued on a positive trajectory and many patient compliments were received. The collaboration across all disciplines was tangible!  Paul and Carmen (ED Nurse Unit Manager) in partnership, my COVID-19 hero's.

Facilities/Engineering Team (Armadale Kalamunda Group)

From the onset of the Pandemic the AKG Facilities team stepped up and delivered all requests put to them, at short notice, to enable the site to provide a safe environment for both patients and staff. The values and behaviours displayed by this team enabled the site to have a COVID-19 Clinic erected within a very tight time frame that met the needs of patients, including privacy. The ethos from this team was clearly demonstrated that "what ever needs to be done to support the patients and staff, we will do". Like other teams, the Facilities team provided this service on top of other competing work demands regularly required to maintain and service infrastructure in a busy metropolitan general hospital.

Jo Harris (Armadale Kalamunda Group)

As part of our operational response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nursing Coordinator Jo was moved from her substantive role to that of Project Lead and was involved in procurement, workforce and patient flow logistics. This included establishing a COVID -19 (testing) Clinic, within a very tight timeframe. In keeping with our organisational values, Jo showed excellent leadership skills and engaged a multidisciplinary workforce including infection prevention and management, engineering, patient support services, security, medical, allied health, clerical and nursing staff to deliver the request and open a 7-day-a-week clinic that was safe for both patients and front line staff. Jo was active with front-line staff in the clinic and on the ward, collaborating with key stakeholders including our education team, to ensure delivery of education and training to keep staff and patients safe. She continued to provide support and guidance post commissioning of the clinic and the cohort ward whilst also providing guidance and support to the person covering her substantive role.

Dr Michelle De Silva (A/Team leader Consultation Liaison Psychiatry, Royal Perth Hospital)

Despite her heavy workload, Michelle still gave us time to settle our concerns and give timely updates. She has been positive, uplifting and very helpful. It is wonderful that as a staff member, I can have a private opportunity to discuss my personal concerns and worries, and in return to receive constructive feedback and counselling.

We have been continuing effectively as a business, with assessments and meetings being conducted via the telephone. Staff have felt comfortable to call us for help and assistance and we have been there for staff and patients. Michelle’s effective leadership skills has driven this seamless changes success. Her skills and techniques have a rippling effect in our team, and hence the positive morale. I believe that she possesses the necessary skills including diversity, excellence, innovation, and respect for all, Michelle uses these skills to great effect and much of which she provides outside of hours.

COVID Clinic Team (Royal Perth Bentley Group)

The COVID Clinic team, together with the Dr Sumit Sinha-Roy, Deputy Director Clinical Services and RPBG COVID Lead, Tim Leen, set up one of the first public COID clinics within a week. This was completed despite the raised anxiety and nurses (clinic and casual pool) volunteered their services to get the job done.

Dr Sinha-Roy, assisted with making the system paperless, and the clerical team were flexible and dynamic. Tim Leen co-ordinated the whole process. The team set-up Staff Clinics in three days and a staff hotline in two.

The leadership demonstrated by the Team across the disciplines was exemplary. The Clinics opened and provided the service to the Community without any major issues. These staff members became champions to assist with other clinic set-ups. AMAZING.

Infection Control Team (Royal Perth Hospital)

The Infection Control Nursing Team, made up of Infectious Disease Consultants and Infection Control and Prevention Nursing Staff, all worked tirelessly to ensure Staff at RPBG understood the emerging changes in the management of SARS COV-2.

They worked late hours, worked with staff, advised Senior Executives and provided an above and beyond service, paramount in managing anxiety of all, by providing factual evidence based information as it became available. They were integral in maintaining the health and welfare of staff and patients. There is no question they went above and beyond their normal duties.

Alek Nanda (Patient Support Services, Royal Perth Bentley Group)

Alek was recognised for being proactive and efficient in her role to ensure that Ward 9A contained all the appropriate equipment and stock prior to opening, which ensured our staff could deliver safe, efficient care to COVID positive patients.

Alek received lovely feedback below:

“Alek’s level of knowledge regarding IMPREST, carded room and equipment requirements were invaluable. She was able to work autonomously and obtain certain items that were essential for the opening of the ward. She did not hesitate to inform the Nurse Manager when an essential item was required!”

“In short Alek’s knowledge and versatility meant that the Nurse Manager would entrust her with any job and know it would be carried out accurately and methodically without question or delay”.

Armadale Mental Health Team (Armadale Health Service)

With consistent and clear direction to staff development teams, nurse unit managers, consultant psychiatrist group, clerical groups and team leaders they have been able to lead the teams to continue to put our consumers and key partners at the heart of our service delivery to ensure continuity.

By keeping staff informed and being agile and adaptive as situations faced us; the teams have felt up to date, included, considered and that they have been responded to with keeping our staff and consumers safe, irrespective of care being delivered in a hospital or community setting; both with their own unique challenges.

Apart from these key leads, each and every one of the staff in the Armadale Mental Health Service: from the patient support staff who kept our units and clinics clean, to our clerical staff who managed our entry points politely and compassionately, our occupational therapy staff who kept our consumers in therapies, our social work team that kept our consumers in their accommodation while they were in hospital, our psychologists in the community who adapted from face to face to phone contacts, our amazing nurses who cared for people in their homes and in the hospital, our staff development educators who scenario tested to add confidence to our staff and to our medical staff who navigated the care between the Public Health Act and the Mental Health Act to continue to deliver the least restrictive and safe care to our consumers.

Janet Vince, Debra Jeavons, Karen McCumstie, Sam Watadza, Lee Hamwood, Jane West, Amanda Hinds, Shannon Scari (Education Department, Armadale Kalamunda Group)

This team has been nominated for their outstanding efforts in their development and implementation of COVID-19 healthcare training for nursing, medical and allied health staff. The Education team prepared and facilitated a tremendous amount of COVID-19 education and training across Armadale Hospital. Their ability to produce inter-professional, multidisciplinary, evidenced based research training programs that support and promote patient safety demonstrates their passion and commitment to health care in Australia.

The team worked as a cohesive unit to design and implement the Upskilling program, Infection Prevention and Control training, simulated walkthroughs across each department, simulation based education and training in managing the deteriorating patient, resuscitation considerations and Intubation training.

This team worked incredibly hard behind the scenes ensuring the front line nursing and medical staff are adequately trained and prepared to respond to any emergency.

Older Adult and Rehabilitation Team (Armadale Kalamunda Group)

The health service needed to make a foot print for a COVID clinic very quickly. On review, the community rehabilitation department was identified as being close to fit for purpose with minor facility change.

The COVID clinic was the first outer-metropolitan service established. Community Rehabilitation was re-located for essential face to face services and all other appointments were converted to tele-health and or phone appointments. The Hospital avoidance "Oasis" model was developed to support acute avoidance and community partnerships.

The team were responsive and professional. My observation was this was to do with the exceptional leadership of Dr Nick Waldron and Dr Joel Tate, Geriatricians, Ms Alex Dray NUM, "Alvin", community rehab transition lead, Danni who developed the OASIS model and many more. I have never seen significant change in such as short period of time. At the same time, the leadership team ensured ongoing psychological support for the workforce, initiating a number of strategies to keep staff engaged and supported.

The Royal Perth Bentley Group Education Centre, PPE Training Team (Royal Perth Bentley Group)

When faced with the task of providing high quality PPE training to over 3000 clinical colleagues at Royal Perth and Bentley Hospitals, our goal was simple. “Not on our watch. Losing one staff member would be one too many”.

Over a 5-week period the education team trained over 3300 staff from Consultant Anaesthetists and Intensive Care Specialists to cleaners. This high quality, personalised training and support was one of the only weapons our hospitals had to control some very real fear and to keep our colleagues safe.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive from every level of staff. When we had completed the training and our staff were ready for COVID, our team stood back, exhausted but proud that we had delivered what was required. We were proud that our fabulous frontline staff could work safely and save many, many lives.

Carol Watson (A/ Head of Department, Physiotherapy, Royal Perth Bentley Group)

Carol is a dedicated, strategic, responsive, decisive and effective leader. Recent examples include:

- Immediate introduction of a weekend physiotherapy service at Bentley Health Service, in response to the shift of acute patients to this site

- Identifying and empowering numerous staff to train in the Intensive Care Unit, in anticipation of a surge in activity

- Facilitating education of training of all hospital staff in PPE and Infection Control, from within physiotherapy resources

- Guiding and overseeing senior staff to develop several guidelines and frameworks for the RPBG physiotherapy response to COVID, particularly with respiratory and critical care management

- Facilitating the creation of the Critical Care Outreach Team

- Instigating regular meetings, emails and updates to ensure staff were informed the latest information regarding COVID-19. This was above and beyond expectation, and Carol was readily available to support all staff as needed.

Dr Wesley Meintjes (Psychiatric Registrar, Mental Health Emergency Centre, Royal Perth Hospital)

Dr Meintjes energy, enthusiasm and commitment to ensuring the safety of mental health patients in these uncertain times was inspiring and galvanised an entire service into action. He spent countless hours of his own time developing models, flow charts and scaled plans. He would come in on days off to view alternative locations for inpatient services and make site visits to other hospitals to share info and review their plans.

His initial work was endorsed by Exec and a working party was created to support and realise his ideas. His interest in critical care medicine brought expertise into the pathology of the virus, treatment, infection control principles and underpinned the models now in place. Dr Meintjes created a new Mental Health - Emergency Department diversion model. He introduced new role descriptions and identified new telehealth options for assessment. He produced plans for Medical and Nursing Governance, workforce planning, patient journey mapping, ED Diversion models and a series of clinical scenarios for staff training. An absolute STAR when it was needed.

Dr Grant Waterer (Director Clinical Services, Royal Perth Hospital)

Grant has provided regular video updates during the covid pandemic, reviewing literature from around the world and relating it to the local situation.  This has been done in a clear, no-frills style, which has been informative and reassuring to those of us at the point of delivery in critical care. I don't know if he has been acknowledged properly but it has been a lifeline for me and my team.

Telehealth Team (Royal Perth Bentley Group)

The Covid outbreak bought challenges to RPBG in providing safe outpatient care to our patients. The Outpatient Manager and Telehealth team responded rapidly and decisively.

They met with all specialties, communicated with patients via SMS and telephone to ensure they were prepared for their appointments and were safe to attend. Where appropriate they converted the appointments to telehealth, videocall or telephone. They conducted test calls for patients new to virtual care and orientated clinicians new to telehealth in use of the equipment and programs.

GPs were communicated with around the changes to patient appointments and advised that RPBG was able to provide alternative appoint modalities for many patients.

Janelle Austin (Nurse Unit Manager, COVID Clinic, Royal Perth Hospital)

Janelle Austin is the type of manager you would follow into a fire. She is extraordinary in too many ways to mention. Suffice to say she inspires loyalty and commitment from all her staff. Janelle headed up the opening of the covid clinic at Royal Perth Hospital. She assembled a great team of nurses, clerks and security detail who trusted her implicitly and adjusted daily to the ever changing parameters and situation.

Janelle’s compassionate and resolute leadership ensured we as a team stepped up to the daily demands of a situation none of us had ever worked through before. Janelle is not one to court attention or thanks, but in this instance I believe she deserves a big ‘thank you’ for an outstanding job well done.

Donna Coutts-Smith and the Your Time Counts Team (Royal Perth Bentley Group)

On Wednesday 22nd April, RPBG launched the new 24/7 Operations Hub. The RPBG Operations Hub enables a proactive and consistent approach to managing patient flow to improve the overall coordination, communication, timeliness and efficiency of the patient journey. By combining the latest in systems engineering, predictive analytics, and innovative problem-solving, RPBG will be equipped to better manage patient safety, experience, volume, and the movement of patients in, out, and around the hospital.

The original launch date for the Operations Hub was August 2020. However, due to the Covid19 outbreak, the Executive Director identified this project and the subsequent outcome of improved patient flow and 24/7 model of operation as essential for RPBG to manage the impact of Covid on our hospitals.

The Your Time Counts team led by Donna Coutts-Smith managed to operationalise the Operations hub in 4 weeks. An incredible effort that is having a positive impact on patient flow and reducing risk.

Rebecca Cronin (Maternity Services, Armadale Health Service)

Rebecca Cronin is nominated for her role in managing the transition of midwives and patients from Bentley Health Service maternity site to the Armadale Health Service with 2 days’ notice. This involved a wide range of tasks from coordinating staff, reviewing and rearranging all Bentley Health Service maternity bookings, communicating with tertiary hospitals to communicate new referral pathways, the creation of a new Midwifery Group of Practice, supporting the existing Armadale Health Service midwifery team in accommodating increased activity and staff and  developing and implementing an inpatient maternity COVID strategy.  Of note, Rebecca engaged all midwives in celebrating the International Day of the Midwife by hand-making 200 cards so every midwife working at Armadale received a card with a personalised message.

Shannon Scari (Staff Development Nurse, Armadale Health Service)

Sharon Scari is nominated for facilitating multidisciplinary teams in simulation training. The ongoing simulation training enabled specialty teams to develop their responses to a patient with suspected or confirmed COVID19 following best practice care to ensure patients, staff and the broader community are protected. Each simulation session was assessed and each team involved received a written report with documented observations and recommendations to improve their skills and involved all areas of the health service.

Clinical A/Professor Dieter Gebauer (Head of Department, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Royal Perth Hospital)

Nominated for his leadership and extensive collaboration in developing and implementing guidelines during the COVID-19 response. These guidelines focused on staff health and safety, continuation of the Oral Maxillofacial Surgery service, including contingencies in the event of contamination. The unit worked productively together focusing on their specific skill set to achieve and meet the guideline developed.  Under his leadership, new rostering practices to reduce cross site accommodation and telephone/video consultations were introduced for patients.

Michelle Hyde (Staff Development Nurse Paediatric, Armadale Health Service)

Michelle Hyde was nominated for her dedication as a staff development and paediatric nurse in supporting staff through researching best practice for a paediatric patient with suspected / confirmed COVID19. Michelle communicated information to the team and worked with the broader health team to create evidence-based guidelines and then provided training to make sure all staff caring for children were prepared for any COVID19 related admissions.

EMHS Senior Leadership Team

The East Metropolitan Health Service Senior Leadership Team (Royal Perth Hospital) worked tirelessly to provide front line staff with a safe and supportive work environment.  Clear communication of a shared vision and the acknowledgement of staff, including the celebration of achievements, ensured everyone embraced the hospital ethos of Servio (to Serve).  Some team achievements include managing the transition of patients from Royal Perth Hospital to Bentley Hospital to support cruise ship passengers, opening the first WA COVID Clinic, commissioned COVID wards and undertook significant planning to prepare for the challenges ahead.

Diane Barr (Executive Director, Armadale Kalamunda Group)

Diane Barr was nominated for her outstanding leadership in leading the Health Service and Incident Management Team as both the Executive Director and Hospital Incident Commander during the response phase of COVID-19.  Di has an excellent knowledge of Emergency Management principles and was able to form a cohesive team to manage the response phase of this incident.  Di set up regular meetings with the Incident Management Team, kept them informed and ensured they followed up on actions to bring the hospitals preparedness to what was required.


South Metropolitan Health Service

Trish McKinlay (Service Director, Service 3 Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group)

Trish McKinlay was tasked with the mission of setting up and implementing the Fiona Stanley Hospital COVID-19 clinic for testing of public patients and health staff. Trish worked extremely hard and worked long hours to get the clinic up and running in a very, very short period of time. It was a huge task.

Dr Paul Mark (Director of Clinical Services, SMHS)

Dr Paul Mark is nominated for his excellent clinical leadership skills during the COVID19 pandemic.   by recognising early our organisations need to plan.  As the South Metropolitan Health Service COVID lead, he created several workstreams and a structured approach to ensure that not only were the workstreams progressed but also that each hospital campus was engaged in their development and completion. Paul has worked tirelessly over the past months not only doing considerably more hours than is reasonable at work but also working at home in the evenings and at weekends to ensure that he remained up to date with all that was both happening and being learnt. Throughout these uncertain times Paul has constantly engaged with fellow Executives, clinical and non-clinical staff to ensure that they both understood what was required but also to reassure them. This has been widely recognised by staff that throughout this potential risk they have felt safe and supported.

Dr Paul Mark

Trish McKinlay

Sarah Hobson

Courtney Hunter

Sally Hasson

Ian Dey

Breffni Doyle

Tessa Dowd

Julie Baile

Nicole Sarader

(Project Team, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

The Fiona Stanley COVID Project Team is nominated for their commitment and determination during the COVID response.  The team directed the opening of a COVID-19 Clinic with a six-day lead time, using the approach “nothing is too hard, how can we make this happen?”.  Strong, measured and present leadership was fundamental to creating a dynamic team, empowered to realise a clear vision.  Leadership was collaborative and agile, founded on clinical and operational expertise.  Leaders remain engaged, responding to clinical needs and feedback, through action to improve operational flow and staff wellbeing, fostering an environment where staff felt valued, acknowledged and integral to the team.  Commitment to education is conveyed by the entire leadership group with a myriad of opportunities made available for staff education.

Veronika Fenton (Nurse Unit Manager Ward 5D, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Veronika Fenton is nominated for demonstrating amazing leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic on Ward 5D (the COVID ward of Fiona Stanley). She has made the whole team (nurses, doctors, physios) feel supported and safe by ensuring we have enough PPE and resources to effectively care for patients whilst keeping ourselves safe. She checks in with us all the time and does everything she can to keep the whole team happy and safe. She always has time to listen to us, despite being extremely busy and under pressure.  She never fails to keep us informed, educated on best practices and encouraged to put our best foot forward.  Every opportunity has been seized to decrease exposure to the virus including the utilisation of iPad’s to complete long and complex ward rounding and reduce the continued loss of negative pressurisation to the rooms. We have never been at a loss for adequate numbers of Airborne PPE and Veronika has always made sure of that.  She is an exceptional manager, very down to earth and approachable, and excellent in what she does.

Research Support and Development Unit (SMHS)

The Research Support and Development Unit are nominated for their critical role in ensuring the people of WA have access to the most current experimental treatments for COVID-19.  The team has worked tirelessly with researchers over the past two months to ensure that research is of the highest quality and approved as soon as possible to ensure the maximum benefit to patients and staff.  The Unit has been inundated with COVID-19 projects requiring rapid review and approval but the team has embraced the challenge, re-prioritising their work to ensure COVID-19 projects were approved in record time.  The team coordinated extraordinary meetings of the Human Research Ethics Committee at very short notice to ensure the timely review of COVID-19 research.

Jessica Barrell (Clinical Nurse Educator CCU, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Jessica Barrell is nominated for her work at the COVID Clinic at Fiona Stanley Hospital. I would like to nominate Jess for her many contributions in working for our health service and her consistent delivery of high quality, compassionate and efficient care during a time of significant anxiety, fear and disruption in our community.  Jess is a proficient clinical nurse and educator with extraordinary leadership and teamwork skills,  a flexible and strategic thinker whose problem solving and clinical skills have helped assist and guide patients and colleagues through the various challenges over these past months and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. She is warm, highly professional, exceedingly competent, friendly, helpful and calm in a crisis and she is always one step ahead. Her ability to understand and respond to changes in a patient’s condition is impressive.  Jess is a great asset to the health service and her expertise and commitment have improved the timeliness of care available to her patients and made them feel better supported.

Geraldine Carlton (Executive Director, Special Projects, SMHS)

Geraldine Carlton is nominated for her leadership of the Special Project Team.  A large portion of our work relies on the interface between the Project Team and the Serco team at Fiona Stanley Hospital which was required to change during COVID-19 due to social distancing and reduced time on site.  Geraldine implemented weekly touch base meetings with the team to provide updates on the situation and listen to the concerns of the team. Geraldine offered strategies to ensure we could continue to work as a team within a very changed environment. She held meetings with the team leaders within the Project to workshop ideas and develop other strategies to assist the team.  Geraldine organised for the CEO to attend a meeting to hear the team's concern, ask questions and hear the latest updates on the happenings across Health and SMHS. We as team members felt reassured and listened to and we value her support as our Executive Director during this time.

Hazel Hudson and Chloe Goodred (Innovation Consultants / Kaartdijin SMHS Innovation Centre)

Hazel Hudson and Chloe Goodred are nominated for their tireless work during the COVID-19 outbreak, being pulled into COVID related projects.  They worked hard and long hours to build, set-up, mud-map, plan and problem solve.  They have shown outstanding leadership throughout the ongoing COIVD-19 pandemic and continue to work hard and contribute in all ways possible. Their efforts must be recognised.

Dr Arisudhan Anantharachagan (A/HOS Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Dr Dr Arisudhan Anantharachagan is nominated for his leadership of the obstetrics and gynecology service during the pandemic by supporting staff, proactively planning and good communication skills.

Dr Paul Mark, Rob Stewart and Kate Fowler (Business Resilience Team, SMHS)

The SMHS Business Resilience team provided early and decisive leadership in relation to COVID-19, standing up a service-wide incident management team in mid-January and coordinating with different business units to ensure the Hospital (and Service) was ready to deal with the impending crisis.

The team provided clear and consistent leadership, which ensured that individuals within the Health Service knew where they stood and what was expected of them. The Service quickly developed and implemented a command centre model and, working with the FM contractor, quickly identified a number of contingency plans that were assessed and implemented as required.

Key areas of concern were identified (such as clinical pathways, the use of PPE and the requirement to establish a clinic) and working groups were appointed and managed appropriately. Whilst there were many individual areas that will no doubt stand-out, the SMHS BR team worked long hours behind the scenes to bring everyone’s good work together, ensuring that both Service and State priories were met.

Kirsty de Blanken (Senior Health Promotion Officer, SMHS)

Kirsty is a leader within the SMHS Health Promotion team. When COVID-19 first emerged as a life threatening once-in-a-generation event, Kirsty did not hesitate to completely step outside her comfort zone to work side by side with nurse clinicians. Kirsty assisted in the development of contact tracing and data collection systems to control outbreaks and spread for staff. Kirsty provided a valuable and different range of skills that involved conceptual thinking, problem solving and most importantly, teamwork. This was all within the context of rapid transition from the early stages of uncertain and chaotic adaption to routine protocols and processes. As a result of the work and willingness of people like Kirsty and the COVID-19 Staff Response team, SMHS was able to contribute significantly to the public sector and State response while working to maintain the safety and wellbeing of our greatest asset - our highly skilled workforce.

Abhina Jitesh (Team Lead, Biomedical Engineering, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Abhina works in the biomedical engineering department in Fiona Stanley Hospital and was deeply involved in setting up Covid Clinic at Fiona Stanley and preparing ICU POD-4 to take Corona patients. She helped the nursing staff make all the arrangements in regards to setting up the equipment. 

Dr Ben Clark (and other Infectious Diseases Specialists, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Dr Clark and all the other Infectious Diseases Consultants at FSH were responsible for running the COVID testing clinic at FSH and answering any questions relating to diagnosis and management of COVID in the SMHS.

Dr Clark was always polite, helpful, enthusiastic and engaging whenever he was contacted for advice. He went above and beyond to help educate junior doctors about COVID despite being on an exhausting on-call roster and performing his normal duties. He also helped ensure adequate access to appropriate PPE for all healthcare staff.

Joanne Reid (Coordinator Nursing - Emergency, Acute and Aged Care, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group)

Joanne Reid led Fremantle Hospital in actioning its preparedness for COVID-19 pandemic planning. Jo demonstrated initiative, tenacity and vision as she met the challenge to bring together the various teams in readiness to support patient care and increase capacity at Fremantle and enable Fiona Stanley Hospital to focus on preparation for the management of COVID-19 patients.  

Jo’s strength is her strong communication skills, which enables and engages others to work to see her vision and to achieve goals.  Jo was able to bring together clinical, engineering and patient support services across the campus to:

• Stand up (and stand down) a clinic in response to the Government’s plans

•  Commission previously closed wards to functioning clinical inpatient areas

• Identify equipment requirements to provide safe and quality patient care

• Support the opening of the vaccination clinics for staff

Jo supported these staff in providing clear messaging to keep their teams informed of what was progressing and why. This ensured as best as possible, during a time of high uncertainty, that they knew the most current information to alleviate panic and concern.  

Jo’s ability to be able to engage and bring staff together was a key asset in the establishment of functional readiness for the Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospital Group. Jo is a leader and always ready for a challenge and this was no exception.

COVID Clinic Team (Fiona Stanley Hospital)

The team at Fiona Stanley Hospital who set up the hospital’s onsite COVID Clinic are true stars. It was an incredible team effort by people from our Estates, Supplies Management, Infection Prevention & Management, Cleaning, Security, Clinical teams and Hospital Management. Everyone worked long hours to design the clinic, which involved transforming two rehabilitation gyms and establishing processes centred around staff and patient safety to ensure the Clinic was operational – in under a week. The key people were Trish McKinlay, Paul Garland, Richard Cappelletti, Nils Mathisen, Jay Leonard, Nicole Sarader, Garry Rawlings, Rad De Luca, Tessa Dowd, Gary Lloyd and John Pereira.

Shamala M (Clinical Nurse, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Shamala volunteered at the start of the pandemic to work in the covid clinic. She was willing and very professional at all times.

Dr Cyrus Edibam (Head of Intensive Care, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Under Cyrus’ leadership, Fiona Stanley Hospital rapidly expanded the capacity of our Intensive Care Unit and its staffing, equipment and readiness for Covid-19. He demonstrated exceptional leadership during a very challenging and dynamic situation, with clear inclusive communication throughout. He went above and beyond, returning from long service leave early to lead in a crisis.

Jacinta Caruana (Volunteer, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Jacinta was a volunteer in covid clinic. She was enthusiastic, helpful and committed in providing care during the pandemic in spite of the potential risk to self due to age.

Sally Hasson (Nursing & Midwifery Educator, Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group)

Sally has demonstrated exceptional leadership from the outset of the pandemic. Sally volunteered as the Nursing & Midwifery Education Service representative to assist in the standing up of the COVID clinic at FSH.  Sally worked with the project lead and NUM to establish workflows, internal processes, and induction and orientation of staff. With a time critical deliverable, she created workflows, emergency procedures, standardised orientation documents and processes. She provided PPE education to ensure all staff were equipped with the knowledge and skills to ensure a safe patient and staff environment.

Sally has continued to lead through this dynamic situation in providing practice reviews and staff updates in response to the evolving situation. She enforces an engaged communication strategy for all staff and manages the rostering of education support each day. Sally's attention to detail, approachable nature and negotiation skills have received the attention of senior staff across FSFHG, resulting in her services being requested to assist in the set up of the COVID clinic at Rockingham Hospital. Sally has been pivotal in the success of the COVID Clinic at FSH and should be acknowledged for her leadership and dedication.

COVID Clinic (Rockingham General Hospital)

From day one of the commencement of the Covid Clinic at RGH I have only met staff that have been truly dedicated to ensuring a safe environment.  

The staff all displayed compassion at times when a person is most anxious and requires reassurance, or assisting a parent with a child that needs to be coerced into having a swab taken. They have all taken it in their stride to provide the best outcome for the patient and for the community as a whole. The Covid Clinic Coordinator has provided strong leadership good clear communications.

Leonie Stojmenov, Rita Maurice, Ash Fyvie (Clinical Educators, Intensive Care Unit, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

The Fiona Stanley Hospital team of Clinical Educators were given the enormous task of doubling the hospitals number of ICU ventilation experienced staff in preparation of full pandemic.  They provided training for over 150 staff and rolled out a rapid upskilling program. This team is commended for having a can-do attitude, working under immense pressure to deliver the program. We are on our way to deliver our goal of increased ventilation safe/competed workforce of 345 in 3 months, an amazing achievement.

Adelaida Oakdon (Registered Nurse, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Adelaida initiated the COVID-19 clinic at Sir Charles Gardiner. She is recognised for providing calm and selfless leadership to the other nursing staff working in an unknown environment. She was the first nurse to swab the first patient on the queue. Adelaida is also a trained ICU nurse working with COVID-19 positive patients who were on ventilators. She sacrificed herself by isolating herself from her family and sleeping in another location. In her days off, Adelaida volunteered with other healthcare members to give health checks, health promotion and education about COVID -19 for the homeless people in the Perth who resides in St Barts Shelter. These vulnerable people were not able to go their GP for their health checks during this crisis. 

Meagan Appelbee & Lauren Cocking (Associate Nurse Managers ICU, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Meagan and Lauren took on an enormous amount of human resources work that involved the recruitment of an addition 33 nurses to the Fiona Stanley Hospital Intensive Care Unit and ensured another 120 staff were upskilled all within 3 months. Rosters, contracts, negotiations with other nurse unit managers became their daily task in addition to maintaining oversight of a functioning 27 bedded unit. This was never an easy task to take on and keep up with but they managed it. They supported the staff, reassuring them and alleviating their anxieties in an unknown environment.  Meagan and Lauren are two dedicated, brilliant leaders who kept their cool and are very much valued team members worthy of recognition.

Tracy Beesley (Nurse Unit Manager ICU, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Fiona Stanley Intensive Care Unit, WA’s largest ICU, is in an enviable position to manage whatever comes our way and much of that credit can be attributed to Tracy Beesley, Nurse Unit Manager.

Tracy has led a recruitment and upskilling drive that has enabled an additional 160 nurses that are now able to assist in the ICU in a crisis. This is in addition to managing the 200 nurses already working in ICU.

She managed a team that fully equipped and functionalised a ten-bed portion of ICU to accommodate COVID patients within days. She strategised with the hospital executive and detailed an ICU expansion plan in a surge response to accommodate patients in PACU and CCU. She has developed guidelines, procedures and workflows for a multitude of processes from cleaning to transport of patients.

She has worked collaboratively with numerous hospital and government departments and services and has made herself available to discuss their concerns and requirements.

Tracy advocated tirelessly for ICU nurses’ welfare and communicated rapidly changing plans to all staff. Through weekly updates, briefings and adhoc meetings, all staff were kept abreast of changes, reducing anxiety and giving voice to staff concerns.

Liz Woolfenden (Clinical Nurse Manager, Rockingham Community Health)

Liz is recognised for maintaining her professionalism, support and compassion throughout the COVID-19 crisis to ensure her team are kept up to date with the latest information and changes. Liz always listens to ideas, and challenges the team throw at her, and will act as a sound advocate to ensure her team are heard.

Liz has been very pro-active to ensure her team have the equipment needed in a changing environment where telephone consults and virtual meetings are now taking place, and also maintaining staff and client safety in clinics and home visits to reduce the spread of covid-19.

Liz has supported staff to take leave as needed and dealt with having to close a clinic and release staff to work in public health contact tracing. Liz is a very highly regarded manager by her team and a great role model. Rockingham child health team is the most fantastic team to work with.

Cheryln Wiltshire & Debra Haten (Patient Support Services Coordinators, Fremantle Hospital)

Cheyln and Debra both worked tirelessly to ensure that the cleaning standards throughout the hospital were maintaining at a very high level. The rostering and procurement of staff to accommodate the required COVID-19 standard of cleaning has been critical to ensure these standards were maintained.  The exceptional standards of cleaning throughout the hospital would not have been possible without the coordination undertaken by these two. The behind the scenes work to ensure patient and visitor safety is often overlooked at these times.

Mitch Read (Head of Department Clinical Psychology) Hyranthi Kavanagh (Clinical Neuropsychology Clinics, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Hyranthi and Mitch recognised very early into the COVID-19 crisis the critical importance of supporting the psychological health of staff of the Fiona Stanley and Fremantle Hospital Group. Due to their work we were one of the first Health Services to develop a comprehensive staff support plan. Together they:

  • Developed and produced 5 podcasts to support psychological health and normalise reactions
  • Developed and ran presentations (later videoed), including one specifically titled “Psychological reactions and self-care during COVID-19”
  •  Facilitated area specific debriefing sessions (eg. COVID clinic, anaesthetic departments)
  • Developed specific well-being packs for frontline staff, managers and executives to teach simple strategies (eg. how to run team check ins) and support everyone through the myriad of self-help information
  • Created an electronic resource library on how to manage psychologically through COVID-19

Hyranthi and Mitch’s are recognised for their calm, consistent and experienced approach to ensure this work was all done in a timely way to ensure resources were ready, and in use, for the WA COVID peak period when anxiety was at its highest. Hyranthi was also a lead within a Department of Health working group to support health staff more broadly. The resources Mitch and Hyranthi developed were shared broadly and were used as the guide to develop other resources.

Amberley Girando (Acting Clinical Nurse, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

Amberley was the first nurse at Fiona Stanley Hospital to care for the first COVID -19 positive patient on Ward 5D. The patient did not speak English and was extremely afraid. Amberley provided superb nursing care.

Well done Amberley.

Department of Anaesthesia (Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group)

The Department of Anaesthesia of Fiona Stanley Hospital and Fremantle Hospital Group showed exceptional clinical leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic preparations. Their work to support the entire hospital and other departments in the development and management of COVID-19 included,

·         The development of intubation policies, procedures and training tools

·         The development of COVID Theatre protocols and stim training

·         Supporting the training and surge plan for ICU and ventilator beds

·         In partnership with other Departments, developed the training, simulations and procedures across

          all areas of the hospital.

The team did amazing work, going above and beyond to ensure the hospital group was prepared while continuing with Emergency Surgery and Category 1 Urgent Elective Surgery.

Department of Intensive Care (Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group)

The Department of Intensive Care of Fiona Stanley Hospital and Fremantle Hospital Group continue to be at the frontline to COVID-19 preparedness. Their exceptional work and leadership to ensure the Group is prepared for any potential surge in ventilator demand continues to be exemplary. In a very short period of time the team was able to,

  • Commission an additional 10 ICU beds within days of the initial surge with suitably trained staff and equipment
  • Develop a surge plan to enable the hospital to increase ICU capacity by 180 beds
  • Develop a highly recognised ventilator competency training program
  • Trained/refreshed over 150 staff in patient ventilation
  • Develop specific treatment protocols for the COVID patients in ICU

The Department’s efforts and leadership is truly a standout.

Ashley Tan (Medical Registrar, Fiona Stanley Hospital)

At Fiona Stanley Hospital It was a very difficult and overwhelming time on the first weekend of COVID -19 for the team. Ash was involved in the management of the first confirmed case and is recognised for managing this patient with a confident, calm and respectful manner. Well done Ashley.

Fiona Stanley Hospital Emergency Department Team

The Emergency Department (ED) Team at Fiona Stanley Hospital have shown great adaptability and leadership in how they have prepared the department to manage the potential surge of COVID-19 positive (or suspected) presentations. Head of Department, Dr Vanessa Clayden and the Nurse Unit Manager, Aleca Velzeboer guided the team through the required changes.  The team worked as one to strategize, eliminate obstacles and implement a solution that would result in the safe management of both patients that are impacted by COVID-19, and others that require emergency care.   Every member of the team was involved in the planning with the input equally valued.  They were able to articulate their vision and were innovative in how they would manage patient flow keeping patients, staff and visitors safe.  Patient safety was uppermost in their planning and the team reinforced strong links with the rest of the hospital (including the onsite COVID-19 Clinic), to ensure that the right patient would get to the right place while still providing equitable access to care for all.


North Metropolitan Health Service

Sunnie Chambers, Sara Tilley and G53 Staff (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Sunnie and Sara, Senior Registered Nurses on Ward G53, Orthopaedic Surgery, SCGH received nominations for their outstanding leadership. The Ward was required to support the Respiratory Department and open COVID 19 beds. Surgical Nurses needed to rapidly learn how to care for COVID 19 respiratory patients.

”We were concerned about caring for COVID-19 patients - our health and the health of family and loved ones. We wanted to give the best care, but we were unfamiliar with respiratory conditions and COVID 19 infection control precautions."

“When Sunnie was informed that her ward would manage COVID-19 patients she met this challenge head on and prepared her staff well with simple clear instructions. Cutting through all the paperwork to the essential information was crucial”.

 "Sara, reached out to us with a really supportive email, to call her if we had any issues and or if we were feeling stressed and overwhelmed! I have never had a manager offer that level of support and care, amazing!"

“The team’s work was amongst the best in the hospital. This alleviated fear as the team demonstrated dealing so effectively with COVID-19 patients”.

“I feel Sunnie truly led G53 through a truly professionally and emotionally challenging time."

Occupational Health Nurses (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

The SCGH Occupational Health Nurses, led by Andrea Carlin are nominated for their dedication and commitment during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Andrea and her team, particularly Fiona Andrews, were able to efficiently answer queries by hundreds of concerned staff, reassure and educate as required and implement an after-hours service to be on hand for staff contact tracing.

The leadership shown by Andrea during this immensely stressful time is to be commended. Andrea always remained calm, composed and professional, supporting and encouraging her team and was a valuable resource to the hospital.

Fiona went over and above her normal duties to ensure that areas with pockets of concerned staff were given access to additional education and support, and was often found on the phone reassuring and consulting with staff. Fiona was instrumental in establishing the internal processes for COVID-19 support (including after hours) to the hospital by the SCGH Occupational Health Nurses.

This was all undertaken by Andrea, Fiona and the team in addition to running a hugely successful Flu Vaccine Campaign, coordinating additional staff to assist in a research trial and ensuring the busy OSH Clinic continued to function.

Jill Martin (Manager Emergency Management Services, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Jill is the Manager of the Emergency Management Services at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and has been pivotal during the COVID-19 pandemic. Her involvement thus far meant that the hospital has had an organised and measured response to the pandemic, including developing the COVID clinic, hospital surge plans etc.

Her calm and collected demeanour has calmed and allayed the fears of many worried staff members. Also, through her tireless efforts, the equipment and infrastructure changes required for the COVID response were met punctually and methodically.

Jill has been a sensible voice of the organisation, balancing the needs of the COVID response with the time and resources required to fulfill those needs. I'm proud to have worked with her throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and extremely glad we have her on our side!

Respiratory Department (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

As a Respiratory Registrar in the Respiratory Department at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital I witnessed the first COVID19 positive patient to be admitted. It was a humbling experience and an honour to have had the opportunity to have been able to work alongside the Consultants at this time.

Professor Fiona Lake demonstrated great leadership, kindness and empathy towards the patient care and played a key role in the initial stages of pandemic planning for SCGH and also in Western Australia alongside the other respiratory consultants in the department.

During the initial phases of preparing the hospital for potential COVID-19 patients, the respiratory consultants volunteered themselves to be the main point of contact to ensure patient care was not compromised and clinical decisions were made promptly despite the face of uncertainty and the potential risks of contracting the virus.  They worked tirelessly and were oncall 24/7 often for 1-2 weeks in a row admitting and reviewing suspected COVID-19 patients and assist other health professionals with their concerns.

The sacrifices they have made in those initial phases is unprecedented and the way the unpredictable situation was handled was very inspirational especially from a junior doctor’s perspective.

Mel Eaton (Acting Nurse Manager ICU and General High Dependency Unit, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Mel is the Acting Nurse Manager for Intensive Care Unit and High Dependency Unit.  She is learning the role and would never have expected to find that she was required to lead the team through a pandemic.

Mel has done an amazing job and is a star of COVID-19. 

She led the team through the rapid up-skilling of critical care nurses and pandemic resource planning, including staffing and equipment planning.  She is approachable and listened to staff concerns and helps where she can. She advocates for patient safety and staff safety. She empowers her leadership team members to be innovative in problem solving and encourages them to do both 'thinking' and 'doing'. She role models the importance of staff participating in wellbeing activities by taking part in mindfulness activities within the unit. She is a shining star of COVID-19.

Stacey Fuller (Nurse Educator, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Stacey is a Nurse Educator who has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills in the COVID-19 crisis. She led a team of educators to work with the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) team to design and pilot a model of nursing care that will support safe care delivery with increased patient numbers and a dilution of experienced specialty nurses. She provided training for over 100 nurses in caring for ventilated patients.

Stacey is a key driver for staff wellbeing and during this time has chaired the staff Wellbeing Working Group and led a process to provide resources and support for all staff across the professions, including  establishing a Mental Health First Aid Program for the health service.

Anne Kimberley (Nurse Educator, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Anne initiated and led an organization wide nursing upskilling program to ensure preparedness for COVID-19 patient presentations. She worked collaboratively to engage and support educators to plan, prepare and deliver specific pandemic training. This included safe use of personal protective equipment (total 1772 staff trained), acute respiratory nursing care, return to clinical practice, and palliative care.

In addition, Anne worked with others to understand the priority of business-as-usual training needs during this period and ensured this was provided taking account of social distancing requirements.  

During this work Anne has been responsive to the evolving situation, empathetic, and has prioritised the wellbeing needs of staff. She has been an outstanding role model and mentor for the education team demonstrating exemplary leadership skills. 

Dr Kim Farrington (Senior Medical Practitioner, Sexual Assault Resource Centre)

Dr Kim Farrington was acting Head of Department at the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) in February. The clinic provides medical and forensic responses to people who allege recent sexual assault. Before COVID-19 reached Australia, Dr Farrington liaised with Public Health physicians and infection control to gain approval for one of SARC’s rooms to be set up for treating patient with COVID-19. She communicated calmly to reduce heightened anxiety among the non-medical staff.

SARC is an essential front-line service. The SARC COVID-19 Medical and Forensic Processes and Pathways developed by Dr Farrington during a time of rapid information overload and change enabled SARC to provide a timely, safe service for staff and patients. SARC was among the first department to have such pathways.

Dr Farrington should be acknowledged for her foresight, kindness and compassion. The success of ongoing SARC services during this time is due to her leadership.

Kylie Laughton (Manager, Sexual Assault Resource Centre, King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Kylie is the manager of the Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) which provides a service to people who allege a recent sexual assault and a therapy service for people with past sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Kylie is kind and compassionate and has kept SARC on an even keel throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Her meticulous planning has allowed clinicians to practice in a way that demonstrates to the client that they are in a safe and caring place where their needs can be met. She adapted plans quickly in an evolving situation to ensure the safety of all whilst maintaining a good sense of humour in the right measure, and the right places.

Kylie’s communication with staff was excellent. She introduced small group staff daily briefings to inform and reassure all staff of what was happening.

She developed a traffic light system of ‘screen, clean, and in between’ to reinforce best practices of screening for COVID-19, hand and office hygiene and socially distancing to protect clients and staff.

Kylie is a star of Covid-19 and she deserves to be acknowledged for her continuous strength and support she shows to her entire team.

Elke Tovey, Claire McNally and Pauline Power (Acting Nurse Manager, Clinical Nurse Specialist and Staff Development Nurse Short Stay Unit, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

When the nurse manager was seconded, Pauline, Claire and Elke were nominated to manage the unit. With the reduction in surgery, there was a big impact on staff. The 3 nurses all provided excellent leadership, and good communication about the situation. They demonstrated concern for the morale and mental health of the team. When nurses were sent to other areas to work, Pauline would check in with them. Claire worked at re-opening the area as soon as possible to ensure the team stayed together. Elke ensured that there was fairness with the shifts and being moved to other ward areas. As a result of this the team felt well informed, well supported and stress levels kept to a minimum.

Helen Cadwallader (Coordinator of Nursing Infection Prevention and Control, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Helen is the Coordinator of Nursing in the Infection Prevention and Control Unit. Her workload was significantly impacted by preparation for COVID-19. Helen has ensured the team were always responsive to the changing needs and environment, with a transparent can-do approach.

Helen acted as an advisor for hospital services and departments to ensure internal responses were congruent with emerging policy and practice. She was aware of the impact of COVID-19 preparedness on operational business, and used her expertise to assess, plan and manage associated risks.

Helen has engaged with stakeholders and been an active in relevant statewide COVID-19 preparedness committees. This is important in ensuring that the organisational needs are considered at a wider level and the Western Australian state-wide response meets the need of the local populations and is mapped to the capacity of the health service.

Jacqueline Lofthouse (Nurse Manager Hospital Equipment Service, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Jacqui is the Nurse Manager of the Hospital Equipment Service (HES) at a tertiary teaching hospital. She identified the anxiety of staff across the organisation in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and how this manifested in the overuse of personal protective equipment (PPE).  Jacqui proactively liaised with the Executive, Infection Prevention and Control team and Supply team to set up a centralised PPE store for the hospital. She arranged for all supplies to be diverted to the central store and worked with local area managers to ensure daily supplies are ordered and delivered where required. This has been a key strategy in reducing staff anxiety related to PPE resource availability and reducing the risk of staff misuse of resources.

Alongside this Jacqui has led the process of ensuring that equipment needed would be readily available to manage a potential surge of COVID-19 patients, including sourcing and purchase of equipment.

Gillian Ennis (Coordinator of Nursing, Mental Health, Women & Newborn Health Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Gillian has shown excellent leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She has gone above and beyond by working additional hours to assist with the COVID-19 screening of patients and visitors at KEMH. Gillian’s empathy has been a necessity in what has been a very stressful time for patients, visitors and staff at KEMH. Her leadership skills throughout the pandemic have been exemplary, with many staff looking to her as a role model, particularly with regards to the calm and kind manner with which she approaches the most challenging of situations. Gillian’s approach has ensured that all patients, staff and visitors at KEMH have felt welcomed, reassured and appreciated throughout these most difficult and uncertain times.

Ross Manning (Manager Cleaning and Linen Services, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Ross manages a large group (200) clinical and non-clinical Cleaners and Linen Assistants at SCGH.  Regular and thorough cleaning is vital in a public hospital and even more so during a pandemic. Ross drew on his previous experience and liaised with the Infection Prevention and Control service about policies and procedures. He communicated with cleaners about their role and ensuring that the correct procedures were carried out.  Ross adapted cleaning regimes where required, and he spent many hours talking with his staff about the changes and advocated for them to ensure their safety and comfort. He ensured that the Cleaners received training in the correct use of PPE and that they always had supplies required. Ross effectively dealt with all their concerns. Thank you, Ross, for your great leadership.

Sharron Pratt (Manager, Hospital Service Assistant and Patient Transport, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Sharron leads and manages a large group (250) of support workers at SCGH.  The staff had many concerns regarding their front-line role and their safety during the COVID crisis.

Sharron provided the right information, spending much time talking to staff and liaising with Infection Control and nurses. SCGH was the first hospital to treat a patient suffering from COVID 19.  Sharron provided up to date and very accurate information from trusted sources to reassure staff about their safety. She sensitively manages staff queries and continues to send email and other important information to her team to keep them up to date.  Sharron sensibly and efficiently provides wiling support to the COVD Clinic at SCGH.  The outcome could have been less optimal without Sharron's leadership - thank you Sharron.

Sarah Power (Speech Pathologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Sarah is a Speech Pathologist in a teaching hospital and during the COVID-19 readiness response in hospital she has gone above and beyond her usual role to promote the wellbeing of all staff. Sarah has actively driven activities and programs to ensure staff have access to resources and strategies to maintain wellbeing. This has included liaison with others to arrange and manage weekly donations of fresh fruit for all hospital areas and for sponsorship of a series of online wellbeing training programs for staff. She led initiatives including the creation of a Staff Wellbeing Response Plan, a Mindfulness Self-Care and Resiliency Program, and a Toolkits for Executive, Managers and Staff members which encompass strategies, resources and checklists for staff at all levels. She has also contributed to a state-wide Staff Wellbeing Working Group .

COVID-19 Response Team (King Edward Memorial Hospital)

The team at King Edward Memorial Hospital worked together to put plans in place to protect their patients during the pandemic crisis. This included erecting barricades to redirect staff and visitors to keep everyone safe. They kept their smiles and their sense of humor despite the additional challenges. A large team of staff worked daily on planning and securing the process of the care of women who may be COVID positive. They all walked the walk of a woman's journey and they walked it together. They considered each other's role in all of it and ensured that each member could be protected from exposure to infection. They filmed scenarios, ran simulations. The KEMH COVID stars have our backs!

Dr Irina Kurowski (Medical Co-Director, Surgical Division, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Irina led the critical care planning at SCGH.  She provided calm and pragmatic leadership, helping the staff feel that they were skilled and capable to manage what was coming. She navigated the tensions and differing priorities of all levels of staff involved. Irina handled this brilliantly, providing the necessary reassurance to the front-line and providing the information required to the health service to allow the system to mount a coordinated response. We are very lucky to have her working for us.

Women's and Newborn Service (Osborne Park Hospital)

The whole Women’s and Newborn Service was required to work quickly and collaboratively to redesign work streams to ensure patient and staff safety during this pandemic. Led by Dr Paul McGurgan and Justine Huggins (clinical nurse manager), changes were made to a number of work practices and processes. This included reorganizing medical rosters to ensure full separation of the teams, preventing cross infection. Antenatal outpatient triage was significantly adjusted in order to ensure patients were able to be adequately physically distanced from each other. Surgical lists were reorganized. Simulation exercises were organized to provide training opportunities and develop patient pathways in the event of an outbreak. Paul and Justine led their teams calmly and constructively, maintaining focus at all times on high quality patient care and staff wellbeing, and should be congratulated for what was achieved.

Diabetes Department (Midwives/Diabetes Educators, King Edward Memorial Hospital)

The provision of care to women with diabetes has changed vastly, using various telehealth and digital media to provide education. Everyone stepped up to the challenge, with an outstanding result.

Dr Fiona Lake, Dr Chris Kosky, Dr Anna Tai (Consultants, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Despite being a time of great uncertainty, Dr Lake, Dr Kosky and Dr Tai volunteered to be the front-line physicians to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. They assessed and facilitated the care of patients that presented with fever or flu-like symptoms, even if the underlying disease process was not a respiratory one.  In an attempt to minimise staff to patient contact, these doctors provided the patients’ primary care around the clock, until they were proven COVID negative. This included cleaning the room and attending to food trays.

Dr Fiona Lake is a member of a state-wide committee set up for the management of COVID-19 in our community. Dr Anna Tai has been awarded $200,000.00 for research of COVID-19. 

Dr Lake, Dr Kosky and Dr Tai stepped forwarded at a time of enormous unpredictability and anxiety. Behaving in a calm and measured fashion, they provided leadership and reassurance to all staff and the best possible care to patients.

Dr Anne O’Sullivan (Psychiatrist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Dr O’Sullivan pro-actively developed comprehensive guidelines for the management of COVID-19 on the Mental Health Unit. She is a psychiatrist at the very busy SCGH. Her role is frantic and complex. The addition of COVID-19 on her already busy workload was incredible. Despite this she prioritised to develop these guidelines. She demonstrated great leadership and is an outstanding guide. She is a great model for psychiatrists in the public mental health field.

Kate Baumwol (Senior Speech Pathologist, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

As part of the COVID-19 response, SCGH staff were instructed to reschedule outpatients from face to face appointments into telehealth/telephone appointments where safe to do so. Kate initiated an innovative approach to assist with the large volume of ENT outpatient referrals that required triage and clinical decision making. As a Senior Speech Pathologist, Kate applied clinical expertise to review over 1300 referrals and identify those with voice and swallowing difficulties. Kate then contacted those patients by telephone and applied an evidence-based approach to assess their risk and recommend the next appropriate action.  As a result, registrars and consultants were released from this workload; patient wait time was reduced due to patients being discharged or redirected to other services; and some patients were escalated to category 1 for ENT where high risk symptoms had not been described in their referral. Kate demonstrated outstanding leadership by streamlining service delivery to benefit patient care.

Dean Clair (Head of Physiotherapy Department, Osborne Park Hospital)

Our Head of Department has shown excellent leadership throughout this stressful time. He has kept our Department calm and happy by answering all questions, being open in communication, checking in on every staff member regularly and is always cheerful.

Sam Jennings (Acting Clinical Nurse Specialist, ICU, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Sam Jennings stepped into the role of Clinical Nurse Specialist - ICU with only a few days’ notice. Sam has done an absolutely amazing job in keeping her staff informed, communicating with multiple levels of staff (from nursing to medical to executives) to make sure our unit ran smoothly. Along with all this, she has been very calm and approachable! I think she has done an outstanding job stepping into the role during uncertainty with very short notice.

Louise Collins (Nurse Manager Discharge Coordination, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Following the closure of the boarders and the instatement of the biosecurity zone patients discharged following care have been unable to return home to the Kimberley without completing a two week period of self isolation in Perth hotels. Louise has gone above and beyond in her care and surveillance of patients during this period.  For one patient with special needs, Louise ensured the motel facility was equipped and addressed any deficits prior to discharge.  At all times Louise communicated with the patient and his partner and collaborated with the ward Clinical Nurse Specialist, ultimately getting him back home safely. Louise has been instrumental in ensuring country patients in quarantine have the best possible support available which has reduced their risk of adverse outcomes and hospital readmission. The hospital has relied on Louise to lead our discharge service to care effectively for the most vulnerable patients.

Catherine Byrne, Jill Martin, Francis Lee, Fran Harrison, Paul Manolas, Meg Durstan, Rick Alfaro (COVID Clinic Team, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

The COVID clinic has been at the forefront with assessment and testing of up to 300 patients per day. At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, this dynamic multidisciplinary team of very dedicated staff worked day and night to convert a fully operating sub-section of the Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital into a fully functional walk-in COVID clinic. This section of the hospital that previously saw about 50 patients per day was morphed within 72 hours into a high-paced, fully operational COVID clinic thanks to the untiring efforts and can-do attitude of this team.
The COVID clinic team exemplified the SCGH spirit of teamwork, compassion and putting patients first, safely relocating existing clinical services in the building, managing the anxiety and expectations of hundreds of very worried patients presenting for assessment and testing, training and supporting the frontline heroes who had the courage to put their hands up to care for the very early presentations.
In the words of one of the first patients to be tested at the clinic, “I got here at 7.40am and they have a whole set up.  It can’t be easy but they’re doing such a good job”. 10 weeks after the clinic first opened, the team continues to lead the work, keeping patients out of busy hospital emergency departments and contributing to effectively limiting community spread of COVID-19. 

Safety Quality and Performance (Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group)

The SQP Team have been outstanding in their willingness to take on any and all activities to support the organisation during the preparation phase for COVID-19. This included the establishment of a COVID call centre for consumers to obtain results of their swabs.  The Team developed rosters to share the load within the department so that business as usual can continue.  Team members have also volunteered to man the staff COVID call hotline service, requiring them to work after hours.  The Team created, printed, coordinated and distributed visitor restriction posters and meal tray flyers to ensure our consumers stay informed.  One member of the team has also undertaken the enormous task of ordering new equipment that is required to safely care for COVID patients.  Whilst I can cite more examples, I think the Team has demonstrated the organisational values in every aspect of the work that they have undertaken and deserve to be recognized as COVID Stars.

Critical Care Units Peter Allely, Luke Torre, Nicole Hoskins, Mel Eaton (Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group)

Both ICU and Emergency Departments have been at the forefront of dealing with both seeing Covid or possible Covid patients and having to re-organise their workspaces, work processes and work-life balance.  These areas have put in extraordinary efforts in terms of time, work, effort and thoughtfulness into how they have managed the current wave but also preparing for more catastrophic scenarios.

Many staff, from all the essential groups (medical, nursing, allied health, clerical/admin, HSAs, security etc) that make these departments run relatively smoothly, have burned that candle at both ends to make sure that they stayed ahead of the issues that confronted their teams. They have endlessly reworked processes, had to redesign their work areas and educate and train large numbers of staff in short time frames. All of this has been done whilst maintaining services to other patients, commitments to other groups and managing realistic concerns for their own families.

Their grace under pressure and good humour and collegiality are a credit to them as individuals and teams. They have been proactive, engaged and enthusiastic in taking on these challenges and shown exemplary leadership and cohesion in often trying circumstances. They have shown the value of having teams that are used to adapting, have good internal leadership at all levels, and believe in and trust the inherent skills of their team.

We should be extremely grateful for the sensational efforts that have kept our community, hospital and staff as safe as humanly possible, maintained services and provided a lead in many ways to the whole health system, in how to manage patient care, staff safety and service during a pandemic.

Anita Dening (Graphic Designer, Audio Visual Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Anita is a graphic designer for the organisation who deserves to be recognized as a COVID Star due to her willingness to work on the Social Distancing Task Force. Anita and the AVPU Team have not only developed posters and stickers for all clinical and non-clinical areas but also worked on multiple versions to ensure appropriate messages were developed in a timely manner they would meet the organisational needs. The process has included laying multiple (100 +) floor stickers in multiple areas including lifts, lobbies and clinical departments which required the floors to be cleaned in preparation. I would suggest that there would not be many people who would be as cheerful as Anita has been, when undertaking the work across a very large organisation that is so far outside of her role requirements, it would be great to see her and the AVPU team be acknowledged for all the hard work.

Katrina Calvert (Womens and Newborn Health Service, King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Katrina has been using simulation exercises to allow staff to practice COVID procedures. This has reduced anxiety immeasurably across the organisation. One of the most effective strategies we have had.

Marie Barrett Lennard (Social Worker, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Marie is a dedicated and competent social worker who has displayed exceptional leadership skills during COVID. Marie was given very little notice to handover her complex social work clinical caseload and move to the State Health Incident Control Centre (SHICC) – COVID Response as part of the Health and Wellbeing team.  Marie’s role in the team was to screen hotel guests in isolation from ships and flights with a focus on physical and mental health, medical issues and medications, practical concerns and advice, and identifying support networks and travel plans once isolation ends. Marie provided supportive counselling and advice on complaints and concerns, addressing Ministerial complaints as well as exploring and applying for exemptions where appropriate.

Marie travelled to Rottnest as part of the team to assess guests in isolation on the island, conducting face to face assessments with appropriate PPE/social distancing in place. Marie continued to provide a high level of support and advocacy in unprecedented circumstances, working additional hours, whilst pulling together team members and information as required in order to best support those in need.

Anaesthesia & Operating Theatres (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

SCGH hit the world stage with the release of the COVID induction educational video on YouTube in the early stages of the pandemic, prompting multiple requests from hospitals around Australia and NZ to contact SCGH for COVID assistance.

The COVID theatre preparation checklists, intubation protocols and staff role cards was a massive task for the team. The fresh challenges of PPE training, simulation sessions and policy changes required everyone to get on board. What a heroic example of multi disciplinary teamwork in a time pressured environment. Soon the theatre staff were assisting other procedural areas in the hospital with their COVID processes.

Meanwhile the Anaesthesia department 'Strikeforce' was rapidly stood up, delineating roles for all the anaesthetists which included the massive task of ICU surge planning and the development of an ICU upskilling educational package. Video tutorials were uploaded to a central site for the benefit of all anaesthetic groups.

The rapid training and development of N95 Fit Testers started within the department, and soon rolled out fit testing to the operating theatre team in- house. Soon we were contacted by other hospitals to share our knowledge and experience with them.

The anaesthesia department then developed the Special COVID Airway Service to protect the whole hospital in the event of a deteriorating COVID patient, which involved volunteers during additional on- calls to cover. Simulation training with emergencies on the respiratory ward added to the multi disciplinary flavor of the SCGH response.

It was quickly determined that not only was multi disciplinary collaboration required between staff in theatre, but between the whole hospital! And the COVID Critical Care Advisory Group was born, a team of ICU, Emergency, Respiratory and Infectious Disease physicians. It’s amazing how quickly things can get done when you collaborate.

The COVID Theatre Dance video recently released demonstrates the teamwork and high morale within the team in the face of challenging times. The relationships that have been forged during this time will ultimately result in better patient care, better collaboration and better teamwork.

Procurement Infrastructure and Contract Management Team (NMHS)

The PICM Team was accountable for urgently identifying, rapidly vacating and substantially re-purposing hospital infrastructure required to support the COVID 19 Pandemic response. The multifunctional team (Property, Projects, Facilities Management, Procurement and Security) worked 24/7 for 4 weeks delivering 65 Projects across 3 major hospital sites to ensure NMHS Clinical infrastructure readiness for front-line nurses, clinicians and patients. A daily ‘war room’ meeting vigorously managed the critical changes enabling progress to be constantly communicated up to the Executive Emergency Operations Committee to ensure maximum response was achieved.

Major projects delivered included;

• Establishment of a major COVID-19 Clinic, relocating 5 existing clinics

• Repurposing a vacant childcare centre to house 5 relocated clinics; clinics were closed for only 10 days

• Repurposing a dilapidated block to accommodate IV Therapy, Plastics, Hand and Occupational Therapy clinics

• Development and construction of a new Emergency Department Fast Track area, providing 6 additional consult rooms

• Repurposing and redesign of a 29 bed Observation ward to ensure that a clean and dirty ward was maintained

• A café converted to house a central hospital storage area to stock essential COVID equipment

• A ward at one hospital was decanted to a ward at another hospital to provide COVID clinic expansion.

Emergency Department (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

The Emergency Department is at the forefront of seeing COVID patients, whilst also having to re-organise workspaces, processes and work-life balance. SCGH ED personnel made extraordinary efforts of time, effort, and thoughtfulness (and lost sleep) into managing the current wave whilst preparing for more catastrophic scenarios. Many staff, from essential groups (medical, nursing, allied health, administration/ clerical, HSAs, security, cleaners etc) have burned candles at both ends so we stayed ahead of the curve. They endlessly reworked processes, redesigned workspaces and educated large groups in short time-frames, whilst maintaining excellent services to patients, commitments to other groups and managing realistic concerns for their own and their family’s safety. The grace under pressure, good humour and collegiality are a credit to them as individuals and teams. They have been proactive, engaged and enthusiastic in taking on these challenges, showing exemplary leadership and cohesion in difficult circumstances. They show the great value of teams used to adapting, with good internal leadership that believe in each-other and trust other’s skills.

We are extremely grateful for their sensational efforts keeping our community, hospital and staff as safe as humanly possible, whilst maintaining great service and in many ways leading the health system response.

Intensive Care Unit (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Intensive care is the epicentre for the sickest COVID patients, whilst simultaneously having to re-organise workspaces, processes and work-life balance. SCGH ICU personnel made extraordinary efforts of time, effort, and thoughtfulness (and lost sleep) into managing these critically unwell patients, whilst preparing for more catastrophic scenarios requiring massive expansion of services. Many staff, from all essential groups (medical, nursing, allied health, administration/ clerical, etc.)   burned candles at both ends providing rapid detailed plans to expand and meet the pandemic head on. They endlessly reworked processes, redesigned workspaces and educated large groups, whilst maintaining excellent patient care for all ICU patients, commitments to other groups and managing major concerns for their own and their family’s safety. Their good humour, collegiality and commitment are a credit to them as individuals and teams. They have been proactive, engaged and enthusiastic in taking on these challenges, showing exemplary leadership and cohesion in difficult circumstances. They show the great value of teams that constantly adapt, have good internal leadership are cohesive and trust other’s skills.

We are extremely grateful for their sensational efforts keeping our community, hospital and their staff as safe as humanly possible, whilst maintaining great services and in many ways leading the health system response.

Tamara Hatton, Jamie Wood, Samantha Crute (Physiotherapists, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Tamara Hatton, Jamie Wood and Samantha Crute, Physiotherapists at Sir Charles Gairdner hospital have been STARS of COVID-19 through revolutionising telehealth in adults with Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Physiotherapy and exercise is an integral part of the management of CF. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic high risk CF patients have been in self-isolation avoiding hospital admissions and appointments where possible with limited access to home based specialist Physiotherapy. In addition to this they are unable to participate in group exercise even with social distancing measures due to the high risk of cross-infection. To maintain the physical and mental health and well-being of adults living with CF through the COVID-19 pandemic Tamara and colleagues developed an initiative to provide Telehealth home-based Physiotherapy led exercise sessions to all interested adults with CF in WA. The project has been a great success so far with approximately 9 varied exercise sessions running per week. To date all patients who have participated in the exercise sessions have scheduled subsequent sessions and interest is growing rapidly amongst the CF community which will help the service to adapt to future models of tertiary health care post COVID-19.

Brenda Shum (A/Chief Pharmacist, Pharmacy Department, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

Brenda has shown exceptional leadership, strength and unwavering commitment to maintaining exceptional patient care and supporting the pharmacy team through these uncertain times. Having Brenda to guide the department has positioned us well to rise to any challenges we and the health service may face in the coming months.

Brenda’s vision for supporting patients at SCGH has included the development and rapid role out of a SCGH Partnered Charting Pharmacist Program Pilot. This initiative, implemented in a number of other tertiary hospital across Australia, aims to reduce the medication charting errors on admission and in anticipation of potential Junior Medical Officer shortages due to COVID-19 and over the winter months. This rapid redirection of pharmacy resources in anticipation of increased pressures on our medical colleagues embodies the holistic approach Brenda takes to managing our department within the Health Service.

Lisa Summers (Infection Control Clinical Nurse Specialist, Osborne Park Hospital)

Lisa is a shining star for Osborne Park Hospital (OPH). She is the Infection Control Team at OPH. Her role is stand alone with no assistants and she has been everything to everyone over the last few months. She has completed pandemic plans, policy review, swabbing education, PPE management, and direct queries for all levels of staff whilst also doing immunization clinics for Influenza whilst providing infection control guidance for redevelopment projects. She has been so efficient positive, helpful and calm through it all.

She was recently recognised by the Karrinyup Rotary Club in partnership with OPH for the Nurse of the Year 2020 for her expert input into Infection Control at OPH as recognition of her work on COVID preparedness  at OPH. She liaised externally with experts to source information and best practice as the site was prepared. In the midst of this she has been seen placing and reviewing signage everywhere including the social distancing process and stickers at all key locations around OPH. She has been expert in her record keeping and contact tracing and has had to provide and support staff with advice on suspect COVID staff and patients. She is the sole practitioner on site for relaying staff anxiety over COVID management and processes.  She is energetic, patient, enthusiastic and her attitude of 'Can do' has been an inspiration to all staff reassuring everyone that we are prepared and organized. She is so greatly appreciated at OPH.

Dr Maire Kelly, Kylie Laughton, Dr Kim Farrington (Head Clinical Forensic Medicine, SARC Manager, A/Head Clinical Forensic Medicine, all at Sexual Assault Resource Centre, WNHS)

The Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC), navigated the COVID-19 crisis challenges due to the exceptional leadership team of Kylie Laughton, Dr Maire Kelly and Dr Kim Farrington. Their early and proactive work ensured SARC was well prepared and always ahead of the evolving situation. Wellness of staff and patients was always their highest priority. Very early on staff worked within a COVID-safe workplace with increased cleaning, workstations separation, extra hand sanitisers/PPE, removal of soft furnishings and social distancing.

Their innovation, attention to detail, collaborative and consultative approach and strong work ethic enabled rapid development and transition to new COVID processes with a series of clinical pathways (green/orange/red) depending on COVID triage. Each pathway was well thought out and supported, by acquisition of PPE, increased nursing staff, and a large number of other changes to how SARC delivered services to patients and stakeholders. Kylie, Maire and Kim were inclusive, compassionate, supportive, positive, innovative, generous, creative, flexible and kind. They are very effective communicators and provided daily staff updates. SARC staff overwhelmingly felt part of a strongly led, safe team with the common goal of delivering the best possible services to patients while also ensuring the wellbeing of both patients and staff. 

COVID-19 Social Distancing Project Group (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

The Social Distancing Project Team was formed shortly after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic after it was apparent that the clinical staff were finding it difficult to adhere to the social distancing rules imposed throughout the lock-down. This issue was particularly relevant as there were a few cases in Australia where there were COVID-19 outbreaks in hospitals amongst staff and patients that led to staff quarantines and incapacitated services.

The team worked hard with multiple stakeholders throughout the organisation (at SCGH and OPH) to redesign the work environments, change clinical practices, provide clear instructions and promote champions to make the workplace safer for staff members.

I would like to especially mention that Anita Dening, went above and beyond expectations, working tirelessly to produce large numbers of posters and stickers to remind staff, patients and the public about the importance of maintaining social distancing.   

I am proud to call them my colleagues and even more proud to be working together with them to make the hospital better and keep everyone safe.

Junior Medical Officer’s in COVID Clinic and Ward (Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

These Junior Medical Officers were the first to stand up and volunteer to work in the COVID-19 clinics & wards, when the pandemic first began, and the hospital went into Response mode in early March 2020. It was an incredibly tense and stressful time, with so many unknown factors and anxieties associated with the disease being new and mostly unknown.

Despite all the uncertainties, they have worked tirelessly in the frontlines, working long hours hand-in-hand with the excellent consultants, nurses and allied health team, treating the suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients with great professionalism, care and respect.  

They have gone above and beyond expectations and I am proud to have worked together with them throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. I am extremely glad we have them on our side!

Joanna Fagan (Director of Public Health) Ben Scalley (Public Health Physician) (Public Health Operations - COVID Response)

Public Health Operations (PHOps) is a newly established response unit created to undertake specific tasks required for statewide public health functions of case management and contact tracing for COVID-19 in Western Australia.  The aim of the service is to ensure timely case and public health management in response to demands and scale proportionately to the number of COVID-19 notifications in WA. 

Under the strong leadership of Jo Fagan and Ben Scalley, PHOPs was established from conception to maturity in a matter of weeks.  The service now operates 7 days a week, 8am- 8pm.  Multidisciplinary staff were rapidly deployed  from within health as well as from external agencies to undertake contact tracing (initial interview of new cases and their contacts), ongoing management (follow-up up activities for cases and contacts), timely response and monitoring of outbreaks and clusters, support for high risk populations, epidemiology and analytics (surveillance and reporting) and business management (including human resources, financial, and work environment support). 

At the peak of the response the number of staff full time equivalents totalled 120. Despite having little or no public health experience, the staff have risen to the occasion with enthusiasm.  

Jo and Ben and other members of the PHOPS leadership team worked tirelessly to respond to the uncertain environment and are committed to the delivery of a quality, efficient service.  They have ensured that staff have been kept well informed, remained calm and in high spirts throughout times of uncertainty. 

The successful management and containment of COVID -19 throughout the WA community can be directly attributed to the quality of contact tracing, ongoing monitoring and community support provided by the PHOPS team. Well done to you all!

Lorna Finley, Jess Allan (Staff Development Midwives), Jennifer Wood (Midwifery Consultant) (Labour and Birth Suite King Edward Memorial Hospital)

Lorna and Jess are our Staff Development Midwives. The minute they heard the words COVID-19 they immediately jumped into action, demonstrating to well over 150 staff members including midwives, medical personnel, paediatrics, anaesthetics and students the appropriate donning and doffing of PPE and the safe utilising of our negative pressure birthing room. Working closely with our multidisciplinary team they have tirelessly ensured the effectiveness of simulation training for any suspected COVID -19 labouring woman. They have assembled special equipment packs to lessen exposure time in a room, formulated contingency plans of room allocation, transfers to theatre and the Special Care Nursery and have displayed a humble willingness to always offer themselves as a 'spotter' or 'runner' for the women we have kept in isolation until their results have been confirmed.

Jennie is our Clinical Midwifery Consultant on the Labour & Birth Suite and has displayed outstanding leadership. Jennie has formulated a comprehensive COVID-19 education hub on Health Point for Labour & Birth Suite. She has initiated and devised plans on how the staff will legally document whilst in a room caring for a woman with suspected COVID-19 without access to a paper medical record. Jennie has implemented quick reference guides for staff, provided everyone with COVID-19 updates and changes to policy and is constantly liaising with the multidisciplinary team to ensure smooth running of simulations in the Labour & Birth Suite. Jennie analyses each of the scenarios and is not backwards in coming forwards with her suggestions that will lessen the stress around caring for a labouring woman and importantly keep the staff safer in this current environment of COVID-19.

I know I am not alone in being very thankful and proud of my three work colleagues. Their tireless efforts to ensure the safety of the staff and the many pregnant women and babies that come through the Labour & Birth Suite is so very much appreciated by all.

Facilities Management Team - Alison Mann and Peter Easson (NMHS)

The team managed the movement of multiple departments, providing alterations to the new environment ensuring the moves were planned, communicated and expedited smoothly in incredibly short periods of time whilst working closely with the Executive Sponsor for Infrastructure, the Divisions and the individual departments to ensure that all contingencies were met.

Throughout this process, each member of the Facilities team demonstrated true customer focused service, engaging with stakeholders to address their concerns whilst maintaining focus on patient safety and financial restraint.

Preparations for COVID19 impacted on many of the hospital’s areas including relocating Day Therapy Unit to accommodate the COVID Clinic; relocating staff on the 1st Floor of C Block as well as adjustments to the Emergency Department to create a new Fast Track area with adequate isolation rooms and a second Observation Ward located in the Pain Clinic.  Several of the wards required work to improve visibility of patient in the single rooms and the creation of additional space for ICU patients on the adjacent ward involved the re-routing of call bell systems to ensure the safety of patients in that area.

This team provided an amazingly supportive service during a time of uncertainty and rapid change, and mobilised resources to work around the clock in order to arrange alterations which enabled staff and patients to remain safe.

Linda Cruickshank (Clinical Nurse Specialist G54, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital)

During unprecedented times people will step up from within their area of expertise or external to what is familiar to them. Linda was one who stepped up within her area of expertise. She is the CNS for our respiratory ward and leads that team. From the onset of COVID-19 she clearly articulated what was needed to care for patients suffering from highly infectious diseases. This is core business for this ward as they care for patients with TB and other contagious diseases. Where Linda shone was her ability to share her expertise with other teams. She worked closely with the respiratory COVID-19 Team, Infection Control and supply.

Also outstanding was the way she cared for her team. She checked in with each of them always; sensed when staff needed time to adjust to the situation around them and created a sense of control in her approach.

Linda’s style and approach added to the success of the overall management of both patients and staff.

The Patient Support Service Teams (Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group)

This team is made up of cleaners, patient support staff, hospital support staff, catering and transport.

It is a large workforce that is both multicultural and highly diverse in skills and experience. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic they each played an active role in:

  • Implementing new and additional tasks and procedures
  • Ensured our hospital was clean
  • Provided and delivered additional stock and stores as needed
  • Provided new services in areas like the COVID-19 Clinic
  • Worked with teams in all areas.

What makes this workforce worthy of recognition is that many of them come from some of the most affected countries and yet they turned up to work, leaving their concerns behind and worked for and with the patients, visitors and staff throughout this challenging time.



Kerry Winsor (Regional Director, Southwest Region)

Kerry Winsor and the WACHS SW REOC have worked tirelessly to ensure that the SW health teams are prepared, knowledgeable and safe to manage COVID patients.  The level of leadership demonstrated has been a credit to her leadership.  The whole team has worked together to ensure that the community is safe, that the various health services are prepared, and that staff have been informed. They have assisted other regions in their preparation.  In addition, staff have been released to support other regions.

Kerry Winsor has shown exemplary leadership in driving her team during the COVID pandemic in the South West. She inspires action by believing in the messages she has delivered through transparent language. By doing this she gives hope for the future and her strategic imperative is to put her staff and patients first.  Kerry captures the hearts and minds of all her staff by being inclusive, approachable, and radiating positive energy.  This in turn instills confidence in her team and pulls them together at all levels to achieve the common goal through this ever-changing landscape.  She visited every site in the South West to meet with staff and to view the progress of Zone mapping.  This makes staff feel like they belong. Looking after her staff makes her a leader in every sense.  Kerry selflessly offered up key leaders (including herself) to assist her counterparts in the Kimberly as a moral and ethical obligation to do so.  She inspires all staff to be confident and to deliver that message not only to staff but to the wider community.  Kerry would never sacrifice her team by breaching safety standards, she has galvanized the entire organisation around WACHS cores values and as someone once said to me "she drips integrity".

South West Inland Local Emergency Operations Centre (Harvey Hospital, Collie Hospital, Donnybrook Hospital, Bridgetown Hospital, Nannup Hospital, Boyup Brook Hospital, Warren Hospital, Pemberton Hospital, Northcliffe Nursing Post, Southwest Region)

The LEOC have provided outstanding management and leadership to their staff, WACHS South West and their local community.  The team has met regularly, rapidly adapted and proactively led changes including setting up and undertaking COVID-19  Screening and Zones throughout their hospitals and facilitating access to services in new ways.  Their focus has been to ensure high quality care, patient safety, staff safety and wellbeing. 

With a motto of 'be prepared not scared' the team have gone above and beyond educating and supporting staff and visitors regularly, ensuring staff have been trained and drilled e.g.: Donning and Doffing PPE and Ventilation management.  At Multipurpose sites they have reassured, supported and ensured the safety and other needs of vulnerable Residential Aged care clients have been met. They have continued to deliver other health care needs: Babies have been born, accidents and other illness have continued.

The team have acted with speed, adapted boldly, reliably delivered, and prepared thoroughly for the impact of the worst-case scenario whilst practicing patience and tolerance and displaying compassion. The LEOC are true COVID STARS and leaders!  They and their staff are on the front line. I am immensely proud of them all.

Nat Green (Public Health Unit, Midwest Region)

Nat shifted from her normal work to help us in the Public Health Unit with ensuring clients were put on the contact tracing system and she worked very hard to ensure clients did not fall through the net. Nat is a great team player and her efforts are appreciated by those around her.

Kate Reynolds (Coordinator of Midwifery)

Kate Reynolds continues to be the driving force behind the development of the Obstetrics and Neonatal COVID-19 Protocols for the WA Country Health Service (WACHS). However, due to her quick actions, diligence and leadership, the WACHS guidelines soon went on to be adapted for use within all of WA Health, with Kate also a leading member of that working group. Her feedback and advice was then used by Queensland Health to further improve their guidelines which are now seen as the national gold standard. Kate’s advocacy for pregnant women and their families also saw her develop the patient care handouts and information sheets, development of online antenatal classes and ensure all birth options were still available to women. Many pregnant women and maternity staff in rural areas were extremely worried about COVID-19 and it was Kate’s quick and early actions that allowed the development of these guidelines, that ensured rural maternity services could start to prepare early. This gave WACHS staff the confidence then to continue safe and comprehensive maternity care to rural, remote and Aboriginal women in this very challenging and anxiety provoking time. Kate’s leadership and dedication ensured Australia’s most vulnerable were protected in this pandemic.

Information & Communications Technology Team, Goldfields Region)

The Goldfields ICT team understood the implications of COVID for our region and the impact it would have on their colleagues and ensured that they were available and responsive to any and all calls from those directly and indirectly responding to the pandemic.

Whilst we have an official on-call roster, the team responded to calls for help whether or not they were on-call and made sure the clinicians in our region and the Regional Emergency Operations Cell, Local Emergency Operations Cells and others had the equipment they needed and the support to use it. 

As an example, the entire team gave up their mobiles to Population Health frontline staff as there were delays in getting mobile phones.  They also gave their webcams and headsets (appropriately cleaned) to clinical and other frontline staff as we considered their need far greater than ours.

I am very proud of how my team responded and how they handled themselves in very trying times and continue to do so.

Dr Hugh Mitenko (Consultant Emergency Physician and Pandemic Medical Coordinator, Bunbury Hospital, Southwest Region)

From Day 1 Dr Hugh displayed his leadership qualities and passion for emergency care planning for COVID 19 to ensure Bunbury Regional Hospital, and its staff  ( both clinical and non- clinical) were prepared to manage what could have been an unprecedented complexity.  He willingly accepted the role of Pandemic Medical Coordinator for the campus and worked extremely closely with Health Service and State Health Departments Planning teams to ensure that the hospital was prepared at every step for every event. His planning for the emergency department left no stone unturned. He did all this whilst maintaining his full-time job as an Emergency Physician. The result was a calm, educated, and well-prepared ED, with systems in place to ramp up/ramp down the Hospital-wide response.

Dr Helen Van Gessel (Principal Health Officer, COVID Response, Central Office)

Dr Van Gessel is an Albany based infectious disease specialist. Without hesitation and at the onset of this pandemic, Dr Van Gessel relocated to Perth to form part of the WA Country Health Service's (WACHS) response to this unprecedented health emergency. Here, she undertook the role of Principal Health Officer and lead not only the organisation's clinical response but, alongside other WACHS leaders, acted as an advocate for country Western Australians - ensuring equity of access to COVID related health facilities, advice and services.

Dr Mark Monaghan (Director of Medical Service, Coastal Health Service, Southwest Region)

Mark shows that leadership is about getting people to act in a common cause to deliver optimal outcomes.  His leadership through COVID-19 planning, implementation and strategic direction was driven by the need to create a strong sense of a team. He tirelessly emphasized continually that safe, high quality and compassionate care is our top priority.  He walked that talk day in, day out and often into the night.  He ensured that the staff voice is encouraged, heard and acted on which gave the team identity and a strong commitment to collaboration.  This in turn allayed fears and developed a sense of confidence throughout the workforce across professional boundaries and indeed into the community.

Wendy Winters (Manager Administration and Support Services, Bunbury Hospital, Southwest Region)

Wendy was a key driver in the COVID 19 Planning for Bunbury Hospital. As a relative new comer to Health this was her first exposure to Emergency Planning and Hospital Response. No matter how big or how small requests that were made to Wendy these were addressed in a rapid and responsive manner. We needed posters displayed, Wendy did it, we needed the ED to have some infrastructure changes, she did it, we needed to open a COVID Clinic, she made it happen, we needed staff screening on entry, she did it. Wendy demonstrated exceptional leadership and ensured that the hospital was prepared at every step for every event. 

Merredin Admin Team (Eastern Wheatbelt Region)

The Merredin Administration Team has worked exceptionally well in disseminating and implementing the changes to work practices resulting from COVID-19.  They ensured that all the procedural changes affecting the public were put into place ensuring everyone’s safety.  They kept abreast of all the posters that needed to be displayed and made sure they were put up in a timely manner and in the correct locations. The social distancing guidelines were put in place to keep the working areas safe which was especially difficult within an open office area and with ‘hot desks’.  The Team also maintain the visitor and staff concierge logs through streamlining processes.

Paula Chatfield (Executive Director, Mental Health, Central Office)

Paula is one of WA Country Health Service’s (WACHS’s) outstanding leaders and working with part of her 20+ staff based in Central Office she provided daily updates and immediately implemented a business continuity plan (which was offered to regions as a template). Her communication style of 'top down and bottom up' demonstrated a collaborative and culturally inclusive leadership. Paula was the lead in the development of the Department of Health COVID-19 Staff Wellbeing Framework and Staff Wellness helpline (about to be launched), ensured mental health Aboriginal mental health and wellbeing remained on the agenda of all COVID-19 related conversations, and was integral to the Incident Control Group.

Shane Bolton (Regional Manager Infrastructure and Support Services, Southwest Region)

Shane was able to transition very quickly from business as usual role into the Command Cell of the WACHS SW COVID-19 response. Shane used high level knowledge of incident management systems to quickly establish local priorities and was the key mover in the development of an Incident Management Plan for the South West.  At all times he remained calm and responsive and his level of commitment and investment of personal time continues.

Country Patient Flow/PATS Team (Central Office)

The team responded innovatively to an urgent need to support country patients from the Northwest (Kimberley and Pilbara) in accessing essential health care in Perth whilst dealing with a rapidly changing environment of reduced travel options within the regions, no usual commercial air transport, biosecurity restrictions and patients needing to isolate away from home, often with complex health care needs.

The team ensured every patient who was travelling to/from these regions was contacted, supported and transported, and completed isolation where required.  This enabled all patients to have health care that could only be delivered in metro, despite the huge logistical barriers that faced them.

Emma Croager (A/Director Population Health, Kimberley Region)

Emma demonstrated a resounding commitment to the delivery of public health services in the role as A/Director Population Health, despite the challenges she encountered. She experienced the unexpected passing of her much-admired line manager and colleague, during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak response in the Kimberley. Despite her owns feelings of loss and grief, Emma took on the leadership role, providing calmness and stability for her grieving teammates, enabling the response to continue, uninterrupted. Emma's resilience humility and strength is to be admired.

Mandy Pirrotina, Sandi Millington, Geraldine Burton (Infection Control Department, Geraldton Hospital, Midwest Region)

The Team responded rapidly and effectively; worked tirelessly to implement procedures, training and a hospital wide approach.  They ended up on an on-call roster and had to provide input from staff issues, inpatients, outpatients, documentation and day to day dramas that COVID 19 brought with it.  They worked tirelessly and were always available to assist.  On top of this they rolled out the seasonal flu vaccination campaign!

Dr Chris Kruk (Lead FACEM – EMET Program, Midwest Region)

Dr Chris Kruk has proactively taken up the challenge to support staff during the COVID crisis by delivering a range of education and support to WACHS Midwest staff.  Chris worked collaboratively with other key stakeholders to deliver COVID specific SIMS training at Geraldton Hospital, as well as learning new skills in ZOOM technology to support regional sites throughout the Midwest of WA.  Since March 13 2020, Chris has supported and delivered 9 specific COVID education and SIMS activities in the Midwest region.  This equates to over 31 hours of education. 

Wendy Young (Nurse Educator Emergency/High Dependency Unit, Broome Hospital, Kimberley Region)

Wendy is our staff educator in Emergency at Broome Hospital the largest and busiest hospital in the Kimberley region of  north WA. At the start of COVID in March, half our ED staff were in isolation, including our doctors. Just weeks  prior to COVID Wendy’s partner suffered a severe injury by a chainsaw while working as an arborist. Despite looking after her partner, and having to make frequent trips to Perth while he was having plastic surgery, Wendy co-ordinated a ventilation team of doctors and nurses to upskill our nursing staff, most have limited ICU or ventilation experience. This was all done also while our manager was in isolation. Together, Wendy and the team have upskilled all staff to look after a ventilated COVID patient and also assisted with the redesign of the Emergency department and orientation of staff to designated COVID and non COVID areas. While our staff were in isolation, a medical and nursing team were sent up from Perth. Wendy assisted them in reviewing our COVID protocols and making adjustments where needed. We now have a proper Ventilation education team because of Wendy’s leadership and are much more well equipped to deal with COVID  patients. She really deserves recognition!

Dr Pippa May (Public Health Physician, Kimberley Region)

Dr May is an exemplary leader who has been a critical figure in the Kimberley response to the COVID crisis. As the regional public health physician for a geographically isolated and extremely vulnerable population, Dr May has been a key representative for health across agencies, in the recognition of and response to a rapidly changing pandemic. She has been vital in strategic regional planning around state, federal and local biosecurity actions, whilst shaping the broader health sector response. This is demonstrated across the public systems of primary and hospital care, whilst working alongside local leaders of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations.

This advocacy and leadership is in conjunction with Dr May’s greatly expanded clinical commitments, including extensive after hours work, direct patient consultation including early positive coronavirus results, and state-wide liaison. Her contribution has been essential in rapid control of incipient local transmission outbreaks. She continues to provide medical leadership in ongoing communicable disease issues, including the intercurrent Northern Australia syphilis, shigella and other STI outbreaks, and rheumatic fever and post streptococcal kidney disease.

Dr May is a calm, responsive and decisive leader. Her strategic direction has been essential in the prevention of large numbers of cases, deaths and community trauma from coronavirus within the Kimberley.

Innovation and Development Team (Central Office)

What a team! What an 8 weeks! The learning and development team delivered COVID miracles - worked nights, weekends and Easter. The team were flexible and committed to protecting regional communities.  They delivered;

- New software so 3450 additional staff could work from home.

- Increased the State telehealth capacity by 45% which involved a global hunt for equipment and getting it to WA before lockdown

- New program enabled 1893 outpatient appointments delivered to regional patients online

-  Up to 500 % increase in total telehealth appointments with significant increase in at home consultations

- State-of-the art Emergency Operations Centre with electronic overview of WACHS operations

- Supported technical/data requirements for 7 emergency operations centres in regions and 2 COVID clinics

- Managed large changes to HIM systems to record patient activity

- New dashboards providing daily overview of critical issues for 80 sites in WA

- Expansion of Command Centre with 60 new virtual Meeting Rooms and 1800 Staff COVID line

- Moved to 24/7 IT helpdesk with 30% increase in calls

- Almost doubled videoconferencing with15,893 meetings in March

- Largest teleconference with 195 locations dialled in

- Significant (and ongoing) management of hundreds of patients needing medical care, but impacted by flight cancellations/isolation requirements

Melissa Vernon (Acting Chief Operating Officer, Central Office)

The remote town of Halls Creek was thrust into the terrifying reality of the COVID-19 pandemic in late March. Within days, 11 hospital staff were in isolation, jeopardising the hospital’s ability to remain open.

When WA Country Health Service Chief Operating Officer Melissa Vernon arrived in early April to provide support, she was confronted with exhausted, scared staff, angry community members, disgruntled local stakeholders and a hospital local people were afraid to attend. There was also a young palliative inpatient whose family wanted to remove from the ‘sick’ hospital.

Demonstrating calm, thoughtful leadership, Melissa set about re-grouping the staff, establishing new workflows and processes, engaging with the local police, shire and Aboriginal Medical Service. A ‘COVID clean’ of the hospital was undertaken and the local Aboriginal community held a smoking ceremony to promote wellness. Melissa worked sensitively with the palliative patient’s carer, ensuring appropriate outpatient care was provided. When the child required re-admission, the carer was confident the hospital was ‘safe’ and agreed to return.

Two weeks later, Melissa and the staff had returned the hospital to normal operations and prevented community spread of the disease. Melissa continues working with local stakeholders and has earned the respected of the community.

WACHS WINGS (Transport Services, Central Office)

The transport of essential workforce, pathology, equipment and patients was significantly compromised due to the sudden reduction in air transport in particular to the Kimberley and Pilbara, placing patients and health care at risk. WACHS partnered with Department of Transport and Mining Resource companies to create viable  transport options to enable essential health services to be delivered.  The WACHS WINGS service continues to coordinate ongoing transport of essential health products and patients.  A total of 106 patients, 18 staff and 30 packages have been booked or transported via WACHS WINGS. The ongoing support and contribution from the mining resource (BHP and Rio Tinto) and Department of Premier and Cabinet sector is highly appreciated and acknowledged, and was essential in making their air transport (jets) available to support this service.  Their staff have also gone above and beyond in assisting patients to navigate the covid-19 screening processes amidst the FIFO workforce .  The WACHS WINGS team worked over weekends, long hours and have rapidly had to learn the complexities of air travel, mining charters and have developed a dashboard to monitor and report.  Patients and regional services have expressed  appreciation of WACHS WINGS in providing this essential service in order to access and provide health care in remote areas.

Chloe Lawler (Communications Cell Lead - COVID-19, Central Office)

Country WA has unique communication challenges with seven regions requiring seven different communication styles to cater for differing audiences. Chloe excelled as the COVID-19 Communications Lead for the WA Country Health Service (WACHS), listening to people on the ground and continually developing and adapting communications so that country people could make informed decisions about their healthcare in the COVID environment. She effectively led communications for the 10,000 WACHS staff based across 2.55 million square kilometres, taking into consideration that some have clinical knowledge while others don’t and ensuring all understood vital information. She connected with numerous partners including Aboriginal Medical Services, local police, ambulance services and local shires to ensure messages were clear and shared throughout the community. At every step Chloe refined and improved her communications and showed true strength of leadership in her methods. She worked hard to ensure the 530,000 plus people living in country WA understood how to access healthcare during the pandemic and stay safe. The results of her leadership on the WACHS COVID-19 Facebook campaign (March and April 2020) saw a 355 per cent increase in engagement and a 407 per cent increase in reach across all pages as well as increased users and followers. Chloe also responded to more than 160 media enquiries throughout this period while continuing to motivate her Communications team during an unprecedented time.

Aboriginal Health Service COVID-19 Communications Team (Wheatbelt Region)

WAHS quickly recognised the risk COVID-19 poses to Aboriginal communities. Accessing timely, accurate information was vital. The communications team was formed to address the urgent need for strong, culturally appropriate messaging.

A communications plan was created identifying key messaging which was disseminated through a range of mediums; mail outs, brochures, signage, social media posts, phone calls, online meetings and internal staff upskilling. Senior Aboriginal staff and community were consulted during resource development and before submission to WACHS for final approval.

Key achievements:

Wheatbelt wide mail out to every Aboriginal household (1,287) and health service provider (340). Community survey, 95% had received and appreciated the resources.

Advocated for resources to be adapted locally, approved and disseminated - one of the only WACHS teams to achieve this in the state.

Connected with other WACHS teams to share 32 resources developed for regions to adapt.

Developed a suite of social media videos which were shared (where suitable) on all WACHS social media channels - Tens of thousands of views across Australia and the world.

WAHS team were quick to respond to an ever evolving situation and ensure the Wheatbelt Aboriginal community were empowered to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alexandra Irlam (Regional Infection Control Nurse Clinical Nurse Consultant, Great Southern Region)

Alex is an enthusiastic member of our team with a strong work ethic. She had not been in the role of Infection Prevention and Control Nurse for long when the COVID-19 pandemic started, however she stepped up to the challenge and took on the additional work with gusto.

Some of Alex’ key strengths are her approachability and her willingness to be flexible in order to reach all staff. She has made a point of meeting with people to reassure them when they have been worried and has worked closely with all employees across the region.

Alex is a true champion of infection control who continues to advocate for hand hygiene and other measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Not only did she work hard to ensure that education around PPE was provided to all staff, but has led her team to achieve the best Flu vaccine statistics that WACHS Great Southern has ever had.

And she does it all with a smile and a sense of humour!

Goldfields Learning and Development and Infection Control Team (Goldfields Region)

The Goldfields Regional Learning and Development and Infection Control teams have worked above and beyond expectation. They have planned, implemented and evaluated a schedule of education to meet the needs of staff and ultimately patients to ensure the impact of the COVID19 pandemic were covered.

In conjunction with the regional infection control team they included significant training and assessment to meet the required standards in the  correct use of  PPE , including donning and doffing , understanding and adherence to precautions prevention of transmission, and staff, patient and visitor safety. They enhanced the learning environment through experiential learning. They designed and developed clinical scenarios unique to each high risk area (ED, HDU, OT, Isolation Ward) enabling staff to relate to the circumstances. They enabled practice and the ability to rapidly manage all aspects of a likely presentation. They ensured that confidence and competence was gained in changing clinical status situations inclusive of resuscitation , the need for and instigation of ventilation and all associated monitoring and troubleshooting, and the efficient and effective planning for and transportation incorporating the care needs of a COVID positive patient.

The team travelled to the remote sites within the region to ensure staff felt able and appropriately trained to be able to deal with any COVID event that arrived in their emergency departments.

The team worked well with other streams including the Patient Care Assistant team to ensure consistency in practice, adherence to policy and procedure and the maintenance of a high quality service provision the Region is proud to provide.

Peter Tredinnick (Regional Director, Goldfields Region)

Peter showed tremendous leadership in the way he built the REOC structure required to address the COVID-19 pandemic. He very quickly set up the organisation to address the challenges and led from the front when implementing the Command and Control structure.

His foresight was exceptional and we were regularly ahead of the game with our preparations and plans. Peter introduced a weekly "Town Hall" with all the Region's employees to update them on COVID-19 and answer their questions.  This helped to allay fears amongst the staff and ensure they were always up to date with the latest information.

Peter's focus is always patient safety and the assurance that regardless of situation or circumstance, patients will always receive best practice quality standard of care in critical times. His consideration of not only the patients but their families were woven into planning and implementation processes , and provided a holistic approach to managing health issues.

The region was severely "stress tested" early in the pandemic and sailed through the difficult times due to the leadership shown by Peter and the structures he had put in place.

Rebecca Caporn (Clinical Nurse Manager, Public Health, Goldfields Region)

As the Clinical Nurse Manager of the WA Country Health Service (WACHS), Goldfields Public Health Unit Rebecca has been an instrumental front-line manager in the COVID-19 response in the Goldfields region.

This has included not only leading the Public Health Unit but the training of surge staff to be an essential part of the response. Rebecca has led the team with an exceptional level of thoroughness, accountability and professionalism that is often commented on at both WACHS and state-wide levels.

Rebecca has been a constant advocate for the safety and care of the Goldfields community and has led her team in the development of multiple clinical and governance resources that have been shared with other providers across the state without any hesitation.

Along with her team in the Public Health Unit, Rebecca has also provided ongoing clinical support to all of the confirmed cases and contacts in the region, and at many times their families, during a period of great uncertainty and stress.

Written words cannot demonstrate the personal commitment and the level of professionalism and front line leadership that Rebecca has shown during this period. 

Goldfields Public Health Unit (Goldfields Region)

The WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Goldfields Public Health Unit, that is both the permanent team members and the surge team members brought in from other areas, has been instrumental in the provision of a coordinated and effective response for COVID-19 in the Goldfields region.

The team has adapted quickly and acted without hesitation, during a period of great uncertainty and stress. They have coped with continual clinical and systematic updates and have provided clinical leadership and support to all other health service providers in the Goldfields region. At times this has required the implementation of difficult decisions that impacted on their colleagues and community, which the team have done with the utmost professionalism.

The Goldfields Public Health Unit have been in constant and direct contact with the region's confirmed cases and their close contacts and families, which has meant providing advice and support to people in an exceptionally vulnerable and isolated position.

At every opportunity, the Goldfields Public Health Unit has also supported other WACHS regions and the state-wide Public Health Operations team through assistance in case management and contact tracing and the development and sharing of multiple clinical and governance resources.

Dr James Harris (Regional Medical Director and Regional Emergency Operations Centre, Goldfields Region)

Dr James Harris is responsible for leading the REOC Operations Cell for COVID 19 and his significant leadership in this area has ensured Goldfields Region has been able to meet the requirements set out by WACHS Emergency Operations. Ensuring that regional planning was operationalised when required and with meticulously detail. Patient care and staff safety has been the top priority for James as the operations cell lead. The Goldfields suffered complexity in operations when a health worker tested positive and with the effect of staff having to isolate, Operations and the REOC team managed to ensure continuity of service for the community. Goldfields also has the BioSecurity zone to manage and James has led the planning both from a WACHS response perspective and other agency coordination including the Department of communities, WAPOL DFES,DPC and the Ngaanyatjarra Health Service to ensure our most vulnerable community members can be kept safe.

James has been an essential leader in ensuring COVID 19 plans are evidence based and culturally sensitive for all clients and staff employed in the Goldfields can use these when required which ensures operationally business continues. Due to this effective leadership, all Goldfields people receive the best care possible.

Trish Pavelka (Clinical Nurse Manager, Dongara Health Service, Midwest Region)

As the Clinical Nurse Manager at Dongara Health Service, Trish Pavelka has demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities throughout the COVID-19 preparedness and response period.

Dongara Health Centre includes an Emergency Department (which is busy in terms of the size of the site), Residential Aged Care, Palliative Care, residential respite care and provides services to a large number of Commonwealth Home Support Program clients.

During the rapidly changing environment in the earlier COVID-19 planning phases, Trish remained calm, kept herself well informed, and efficiently developed local processes to meet the needs of all the residents, clients and patients utilising the Dongara Health Service.  She ensured her staff were up to date and communicated well with all stakeholders.  This included regular communication with residents and their families regarding the need for Residential Aged Care visitor flu vaccinations and implementation of the visitor concierge processes for everyone entering the site.

Trish’s efficiency and dedication was evident as she was often the first to escalate any operational barriers in implementing directives that could then be considered by REOC, with the solutions then being able to be applied for other sites.

Trish has remained professional and provided leadership to her team and reassurance to the wider community throughout this challenging period.  She is truly a quiet achiever with exceptional integrity and someone who truly cares for the health and wellbeing of the whole Dongara community.  She is Dongara’s star of COVID-19.

Jane Brown (Coordinator Sub Acute Care, Geraldton Hospital, Midwest Region)

The team of the Day Therapy Unit (Geraldton Health Campus) would like to nominate our team leader Jane Brown who has gone above and beyond in supporting and leading our service, clients and staff through the COVID-19 Pandemic.

She has put many extra hours of work into planning and preparing our service for the pandemic, which has included supporting our staff and client group to explore using a new modality of receiving therapy via Telehealth (no mean feat when we live remotely and work with an aged population).  Whilst taking on extra responsibilities placed on her, she has continued to support her staff and their wellbeing so devotedly  through this climate of rapid change.   Significant planning and time went into the implementation of movement of staff to different locations, to avoid potential whole closure of service in the event of an outbreak and she was always readily available to her team who needed her and has provided the steady, reliable leadership we have all sought during such an unsettling time.  The team of Day Therapy Unit are truly grateful to her wise and unwavering leadership during this time and would like to congratulate her on an amazing job done!

Kaylene Tomkins (Operations Manager - COVID, Midwest Region)

Kaylene stepped up at a moment’s notice and placed her life and plans on hold to ensure the entire Midwest region was supported and prepared to respond to COVID-19 pandemic. She took on a newly created role, nothing was too much for Kaylene she pushed boundaries and  worked tirelessly in collaboration with both our staff and a variety of different agencies developing response plans that meet the needs of everyone in our community - not just health.  The respect for Kaylene in all environments is immense and a key reason why we have experienced such a cohesive and successful response within the region.  Kaylene has shown what can be achieved if you are prepared to be fearless and lead from the front in our organisation.    

Erica Huggins and Renee Gourgaud (Regional Emergency Operations Centre, Goldfields Region)

Erica and Renee ran the administration, communications and day to day operation of the Goldfields REOC.  This involved setting up the processes around a REOC and ensuring good communications between all participating parties both internal and external.

They both provided leadership and ensured all parties were engaged. They were proactive in providing administrative support and ensuring all allocated tasks were completed by members of the REOC and LEOC.

The region was severely "stress tested" early in the pandemic and sailed through the difficult times and this was in no small part due to the resilience and hard work of Erica and Renee.  At no time did we think the administration of the REOC would let us down and they lived up to expectations.

Alicia Michalanney (Director Population Health, Goldfields Region)

Alicia showed tremendous leadership in the way she ran the Communications Cell of the Goldfields REOC.  Her team were responsible for ensuring all health care providers in the region were kept informed on the COVID-19 situation and this was done with compassion and empathy not overwhelming them with numerous copies of the same information.

As Director Population Health she also led the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the Goldfields. Her team were in the front line of contact tracing and she led them to perform at the highest levels.

The region was severely "stress tested" early in the pandemic and sailed through the difficult times and this was in no small part due to the public health response and Alicia’s exceptional leadership.

Colin Crabtree (Regional Manager Infrastructure & Support Services, Goldfields Region)

Colin showed tremendous leadership in the way he ran the Logistics Cell of the Goldfields REOC.  This was an enormous task in which he worked closely with the Planning Cell to prepare all the plans needed to ensure there were sufficient supplies of PPE and our other logistical needs. His leadership was exceptional and the way he brought various members of the teams together and motivated them to produce regular accurate data on usage and supply of PPE.

The early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic placed enormous stress on the region and Colin’s exceptional leadership, ‘calm in the face of adversity’ support the Goldfields community through the difficult times.

Carol Erlank (Regional Director Nursing & Midwifery, Goldfields Region)

Carol showed tremendous leadership in the way she ran the Planning Cell of the Goldfields REOC.  This was an enormous task to prepare all the plans needed to ensure we were prepared in the event of a surge in cases of COVID-19. Her leadership was exceptional and the way she brought various members of the planning teams together and motivated them to deliver during times of stress.

Carol was able to design develop and provide extensive and detailed preparation and planning, ensuring that the Goldfields developed effective plans, that   offered a true reflection of the strategic and operational pathways for anticipated activity. Within this she ensured risk assessment management and mitigation were considered; inclusive of staffing contingencies, projected requirements of equipment that may be required in the event of a surge.

The region was severely "stress tested" early in the pandemic and sailed through the difficult times. This was in no small part due to the plans that she had put in place.

Kylie Ekins (Kalgoorlie Hospital, Goldfields Region)

I am nominating Ms Kylie Ekins for her significant contribution as the lead for the COVID19 planning cell for Kalgoorlie Local Emergency Operation Centre. She extended this role to be the "go to" contact person at the Kalgoorlie hospital.

Kylie's focus is always patient safety and the assurance that regardless of situation or circumstance, patients will always receive a high standard of care in critical times. Her consideration of not only the patients but their relatives who may be impacted by a patient’s issues were woven into planning and implementation processes and provided a holistic approach to managing health issues.

Kylie has shown outstanding leadership,  advocating for staff of all disciplines and ensuring that ground staff concerns or barriers were acknowledged and actions taken to ensure those expected to provide a service were fully aware and appropriately prepared to deliver exceeding expectation and ensuring standards were upheld.

Rhiannon Hosking (A/Operations Manager, Coastal, Southwest Region)

Rhiannon has stepped up to an Operations Manager position in a very difficult time. She has used her excellent organization skills to ensure that all areas of Busselton Health Campus felt supported. Her willingness to listen and escalate concerns have resulted in a work force that feels anything is possible. Her caring and can-do attitude has affected all levels across the campus resulting in a robust and collegiate response to all things COVID.

Moving forward we all are confident that Rhiannon has ensured that our COVID plan is complete. We are ready.

Local Emergency Operations Centre Coordinators (Gascoyne, Midwest Region)

I would like to nominate the coordinators of the WA Country Health Service (WACHS) Gascoyne Local Emergency Management Committee (LEOC), Rebecca Preston, Quality Coordinator, and Laura Higgins, Staff Development Nurse.  Rebecca and Laura have worked with the frontline staff across all occupations in the Gascoyne region, from cleaners and clerks to doctors and nurses.  The team coordinated COVID pathways, facilitated scenarios, answered questions, provided daily shout outs to acknowledge staff efforts in the daily Gascoyne, virtual huddle and (above all) maintained a sense of humour.  They made a dynamic duo combining Rebecca's calm, analytical and organised approach and Laura's clinical expertise and problem-solving style.  Throughout the state of emergency, the team pulled all the staff together and demonstrated grace, integrity, humility, innovation, resilience and compassion. 

WACHS Liaison Nurse Team (Central Office)

The WACHS Liaison Nurse (WLN) role was initiated 7 days a week as part of the public health workforce surge capacity to support the Regional Public Health Units in scaling up the public health COVID response for country WA. By forming strong connections with relevant health services and other stakeholders the WLN team were able to provide leadership and support to the seven (7) WACHS Public Health Units (PHUs).

The WLN is responsible for ensuring country people, in particular vulnerable populations who are suspect/positive cases of COVID, receive quality contact management services by the locally based PHU's.

One of their essential roles was the ability to provide real time data on the status of COVID-19 to the WACHS Emergency Operations Centre, Regional Emergency Operations Centre and Aboriginal Health Council Of WA. The regular information on current status of cases/close contacts and high-risk populations such as health care workers was essential for workforce planning and preparedness. The WLN also acted as the conduit for relationship management between a number of essential organisations.

Ros Thorncroft and Dave Thorncroft (Cleaners and PCA, Halls Creek Hospital, Kimberley Region)

Halls Creek had 4 positive COVID cases all health workers. It lost half the hospital workforce as close contacts for 2 weeks. 1 case was considered a possible phomite transmission. There was fear amongst staff & a high level of fear & anger in the community. Ros and Dave were deployed from Kununurra to deep clean. They left no part of the hospital untouched. Bed rails came off and tricky places were cleaned with toothbrushes. In a week, the hospital smelt and shone like a hospital. This lifted community confidence as no one wanted to come to the hospital. We used this in early soft communication to the community " Your hospital is safe, we smell & shine like a hospital."

They taught the orderlies & staff about deep and consistent cleaning; their standards were 100% faultless. After-hours they purchased food, cooked and delivered food to "elders" living alone out bush in humpies, checking in on them, making sure their health and nutrition was ok. They went about the community talking with locals, replenishing confidence in their hospital, talking to people about what was happening to make them safe, talking about how to keep themselves safe. They remained positive every day in the workplace, setting standards and contributing to a positive recovery culture in the hospital and community.   There was no ego-they were driven by service and kindness. The pair I want with me in a COVID acute response is Ros and Dave!

Wendy McKinley (Regional Emergency Operations Centre, Kimberley Region)

The RHEOC role was critical in a crisis and as the State and WACHS prepared for COVID the Kimberley was immersed in the real world of having COVID cases in 3 locations with an associated high level of anxiety across the Kimberley from both health workers and community members.

During uncertainty and chaos Wendy sought at all times to bring form and function to the emergency pandemic response that was tailored specifically to the Kimberley. Wendy worked from dawn to dark every day in the pursuit of supporting all Kimberley health sites to achieve optimum functionality, while enabling the Region to respond to State and WACHS preparation and planning requirements. During this time the death of a critical team member added to work required to recognise and live with grief while maintaining an urgent, on the ground COVID response. Wendy’ s resilience and compassionate leadership showed through in a time of crises.

Jodie Bennett (Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pilbara Public Health, Pilbara Region)

As the Pilbara Public Health lead for COVID 19, Jodie has provided steadfast leadership and support for the Public Health team, and reliable, timely responses to all WACHS Pilbara staff who sought them.

Her knowledge of public health, and methodical approach to developing workable solutions to issues that arise, when working in an ever-evolving situation, with no clear or simple answers has been invaluable. She has helped her team navigate the many changes that have come with working on a pandemic response in a remote and rural setting and worked tirelessly to ensure these changes worked for her region.

Jodie Morton (Regional Clinical Practice Improvement Coordinator, Pilbara Region)

Jodie's business as usual was decreased for a short period during COVID-19. She immediately put her hand up to help with other projects. Our clinical and planning cells eagerly accepted her offer and she then assisted in leading the development of all the COVID plans for the region, liaising with multiple people and negotiating a good outcome. This was a huge job and Jodie threw herself into it wholeheartedly working long hours until the job was done. It was a massive effort, much appreciated and very much deserves recognition. 

As normal business then began to pick up again, Jodie's ability to balance the return to that work, with the close out of her assistance to the REOC teams, is a great example of her readiness and willingness to apply her skills and experience wherever and whenever they are required to support the Pilbara teams and her community.

Karl Schradt (Clinical Nurse Specialist, Mental Health, Pilbara Region)

Karl demonstrated fantastic initiative, developing COVID-19 protocols for his team in community mental health. This helped to allay the fears and support his fellow clinicians to continue to deliver care in the community, he assisted in the development of a flowchart explaining when PPE was required. Karl then also created a kit for use on home visits so that clinicians had all the PPE they might require should a patient be COVID positive. These resources were then rolled out across the three main service delivery sites.

Kari McGrath (Clinical Nurse Manager, Pilbara Region)

Kari is the Clinical Nurse Manager in the Emergency Department (ED) at Hedland Health Campus. Since the start of the planning for ED, Kari was able to provide support and leadership to the ED team but was also able to take on the challenges of changing processes within the ED and ensuring transparent and open communication to the ED team, patients and their families. Her ability to maintain professionalism and also a sense of humour throughout was outstanding. She had a common sense approach when dealing with difficult situations and also support staff under stress. Kari is always part of the solution and never a barrier to change.

Yvonne Bagwell (Regional Director of Nursing and Midwifery) Margi Faulkner (Regional Director, Pilbara Region)

Like Batman and Robin or Morecambe and Wise, Buzz and Woody, this dynamic duo brought us sunshine and hope, leading the Pilbara executive team through COVID -19 with ease. Our caped crusaders have kept us motivated whilst working tirelessly to ensure that deadlines are met and plans endorsed. All of this achieved with a modicum of humour as well as a very large stick. We appreciate and respect our two fearless leaders who have spent long hours locked in discussion with internal and external stakeholders, always with community safety at the forefront of their minds. To infinity and beyond we couldn't have done it without you.

Theatre Team (Hedland Health Campus, Pilbara Region)

Mary is the waitlist clerk in theatre at Hedland Health Campus and Susie is the Clinical Nurse Manager for theatre. There were multiple changes required to the elective surgical waitlist at the commencement of Covid planning and is still continuing. Susie and Mary were unwavering in their diligence, attention to detail and patient focus when cancelling, rescheduling and reporting on the changes to the current waitlists to meet the new surgical guidelines. It was no mean feat; dealing with surgeons, who do require tender loving care when changing operating lists! Hats off to these diligent healthcare workers.

Clinical Nurse Specialists, Public Health Unit (Goldfields Region)

The entire Public Health team at Kalgoorlie Population Health are usually stars but have been working tirelessly during COVID-19 to ensure the safety of our communities. The work ethic and commitment from the team has shone. In a time of uncertainty, the ladies have adapted to ensure that they are prepared, focused and ready to face whatever comes their way. The quality of work in community preparedness, working groups, keeping up to date with policies and procedures, following up cases, answering (many) queries and attending meetings to ensure a suitable pandemic response has been outstanding. They have handled their response in a professional manner whilst still having a smile on their face. I continue to be amazed by the work of the Public Health team and am proud to work alongside such a great team.

    Rachele Ferrari and the Regional Emergency Organisation Committee (Trenton Greive, Karen Horsley, Jenny Menasse, Jenny Lee, Rex Milentis, Rachel Low, Sheldon Paice, Nancy Bineham, Dee Hollett, Russell Cockburn, Dr Peter Barratt, Regina Michel-Huessy, Belinda Robinson, Jo Hill and Janinne Gliddon)

Rachele Ferrari was new to the Wheatbelt, however managed together with the Wheatbelt Executive to set up a well functioning Regional Emergency Organisation Committee within days. Rachele provided clear leadership, with all Wheatbelt REOC members successfully taking on either their role/s in their REOC cell or Local Emergency Organisation Committee. The whole team worked well together in challenging and every changing times.  The team developed in a short time frame key local planning documents including a comprehensive overarching WACHS Wheatbelt COVID- 19 Emergency Management & Staging Plan and a variety of COVID-19 service plans. We also ensured strong communication to all stakeholders to enable coordination in a very changing environment. Rachele and her team performed especially well in engaging with other agencies through OASG and local government by utilising a variety of communication methods reflected in their communication plan and its implementation. For example, weekly virtual local government authorities forums and staff forums were held, a highlight was the specially developed local Aboriginal community resources which were creative in providing video clips and messaging for the WACHS My Healthy Wheatbelt Facebook page. 


Child and Adolescent Health Service

Victoria Stone and Talitha Halliday (Emergency Management Unit)

Victoria and Talitha provided amazing leadership in the Child and Adolescent Health Service's (CAHS) response to COVID-19. Being leaders in the emergency management space in WA, they were onto the escalating risk very early on and began preparing to allow our service to be ahead of the game by the time corona-virus impacted on WA. Once incidents began impacting on our service, they became a steadying influence on panicked staff from all levels by ensuring the robust emergency management policies and procedures they had developed were adhered to in managing the incident. As the severity decreases, they are currently running a program of Clinical Scenario Tests with our clinical teams to test possible scenarios and how we would manage these incidents within our environment should the situation flare up. The lessons learned from these tests allow us to respond more safely and effectively into the future. Often the unsung heroes during emergencies, Victoria and Talitha are a huge asset to our organisation and deserve recognition for a stellar job responding to COVID-19.

Child & Adolescent Mental Health Service Extended Leadership Group

The national and state measures introduced to delay the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have had a significant impact on both demand for and capacity to deliver support for children and young people with mental health needs. The impact on mental health and wellbeing will endure beyond the epidemic and be felt across the community.

The CAMHS leadership team came together and drew up a COVID-19 Response Plan that ensured staff and patient safety; the continuation of critical and essential services; and early adoption of digital technologies to support social distancing. CAMHS use of telehealth has risen from almost zero to hundreds of service events each week. This has been an enormous undertaking encompassing staff training, infrastructure and risk mitigation.

A major protective factor for many children and young people in this cohort is school attendance. The closing of schools required urgent action to mitigate the risk of self-harm, suicide and poor wellbeing outcomes for this cohort. Intensive collaboration and planning across WA with School Psychology Services (Public, Independent, Catholic); Non-Government Organisations (Headspace; Youth Focus); Youth Mental Health Services; WA Country Health Service; and Primary Care (WA Primary Health Alliance; Community Health) occurred with weekly meetings and sharing of information up to and during school closure. Communication exchange among this group continues.

Children and young people active with CAMHS where school closures posed the most significant risk were identified. This enabled CAMHS and stakeholders to put plans in place for each individual child and young person at risk to ensure they received the support they needed to stay safe throughout periods of school closure and social isolation.

The achievements of the CAMHS leadership group during the pandemic is a testament to their leadership, dedication and the commitment of all CAMHS staff to support the mental wellbeing of children and young people.

Julie Branley (A/Senior Coordinator Learning and Development, Community Health)

From the very beginning Julie demonstrated exceptional leadership by keeping our team informed and updated of all changes as they occurred. She was supportive of our individual circumstances and how they affected our ability to safely remain working during the crisis. Julie continued to be flexible, understanding, accommodating and encouraging and maintained her leadership through such an anxious and difficult period for everyone. I am so very thankful for her guidance.

Gillian Charlwood (Clinical Nurse Consultant, Infection Prevention & Control)

Gillian has done an exceptional job of providing advice and support to clinical and corporate teams for Community Health in relation to their queries and concerns. She has been available to speak with individuals and teams, formally and informally; provided clear guidance to managers, supported policy development   and has been an excellent link between Community Health and other CAHS teams.

Kate McKenzie (Coordinator Occupational Therapist)

Kate designed and implemented “COVID Kindness”. She gathers her multidisciplinary Child Development Service team weekly for 15 minutes during lunch via MS Teams to read out nominations from staff, of those who have exemplified CAHS values during this time. This has been a morale booster during a challenging time, and has encouraged staff to focus on positives at work. Kate is a respected colleague and fantastic representative of the CAHS Values herself.

Elizabeth Harding (Clinical Nurse Manager, Community Health)

Elizabeth Harding has made an exceptional contribution to the WA Health response to COVID. Liz’s organisation skills were invaluable in coordinating the redeployment of more than 30 Community Health Nurses to support the Public Health response to COVID-19 in the containment phase of the pandemic.

Acting as a liaison between Community Health Nurse Managers and the NMHS Public Health Team, Liz was able to rapidly identify the skill set required to support the contract tracing and management elements of the response and smoothly transition Community health nursing staff, including graduate nurses, across to new roles working within and supported by the Public Health Team.

Liz’s problem solving and interpersonal communication skills were put to good use during this time when rapid decision making and action was required. Staff involved made invaluable contributions and gained incredible experience and knowledge during their time with Public Health and have greatly appreciated the opportunity.

Nicola Palmer (A/Clinical Nurse Manager Initiatives)

Nicola has shown exceptional leadership and skill in coordinating resources for Community Health. Nicola took up this challenge on her first day in a new position and has used her amazing communication and organisation skills to ensure that the needs across all CH sites are clearly identified, prioritised and communicated to the COVID Procurement Team, resulting in optimal outcomes for the staff and clients.

Victoria Stone and Talitha Halliday (Emergency Management Unit)

The EMU team of two have done an outstanding job of maintaining business as usual and undertaking a significant body of work directly related to the pandemic.  Examples of their achievements, delivered consistent with the CAHS values include:

- arranging the pandemic cells for CAHS

- bringing our teams of IP&C, PMO, ICT kindly on the journey through effective collaboration and communication

- documenting the pandemic plan

- documenting the surge plan

- organising and completing multiple clinical scenario tests

Carrie Dunbar (Nursing C-Director, Surgical, Perth Children’s Hospital)

During a period of tremendous upheaval and change, Carrie helped provide an element of clarity to any situation that she was presented with. She consistently illustrated that honesty and caring towards colleagues and peers reaps the best rewards.  She continuously praised those who rose to the many challenges which had been set: changing the face of outpatient service delivery by increasing telehealth uptake by over 1000%; and successfully sourcing in-demand PPE and ensuring targeted distribution to the right places to support patient care and staff safety in a timely manner.

In a situation that required swift decision making, sometimes without having all of the information at hand, Carrie drew upon her wisdom and experience to communicate with transparency - providing honest and accurate descriptions of reality, led with empathy, provided staff with the confidence to deal with inevitable hurdles, and encouraged them to look ahead to continue to solve the next and most pressing problem. Carrie was the epitome of what good leadership looks like during this pandemic.

Samara Gardiner & Samantha Barba (Clinical Procurement Officers, Procurement & Contract Management)

The inclusion of the officer's in the Covid Emergency Response Team indicated the heightened pressure and reliance for CAHS to prepare and respond to the Pandemic. There were hourly, daily and weekly struggles to support supply of PPE, Clinical Consumables and Critical Supplies in an environment where demand outweighed the supply capacity.

In recognition of this challenging time both Samara and Samantha demonstrated an exceptional customer focus to support the clinical teams in the provision of their daily duties. They were resilient and dedicated, with a patient focus at all times to support and keep the clinical teams safe and negotiate delivery of critical supplies.

CAHS are so proud of the patient and client cantered approach they have demonstrated as they tirelessly worked to support the front line staff. Well done Samara and Samantha.

Newborn Hearing Screening Team (Perth Children’s Hospital)

The Newborn Hearing Screening team at Perth Children’s Hospital has shown exceptional leadership, flexibility and responsiveness during the COVID-19 pandemic so far. The team is responsible for coordinating the screening program across WA – ensuring all newborn babies have access to the free newborn hearing screen.

During the COVID-19 crisis, many women were choosing to have home births, and those who chose to attend the hospital were opting to go home soon after delivery to obey self-isolation recommendations. In addition, many women feared they or their baby could contract COVID-19 in the hospital and therefore declined to return to the hospital to receive the hearing screen as an outpatient appointment.

The Newborn Hearing Screening team responded to this situation by sending additional screening machines to maternity hospitals throughout the state so more babies could be screened soon after birth before the family went home. In addition, the team delivered innovative rapid online training to midwives throughout the state to equip them with the skills necessary to perform the screens. This meant that more staff were able to take on the role of screening babies, and less ’fell through the cracks’ due to COVID-19.

The team also maintained regular communication with all 39 birthing sites in WA - seeking regular feedback as to what their situation was regarding the virus, and ensuring consistency in messaging regarding best practice response strategies. The team demonstrated flexibility by modifying the screening process (i.e., allowing for babies to be screened sooner after birth) while maintaining consistent clinical standards across the state. Moreover, the team created a specialised database to keep a record of babies who missed out on the hearing screen due to COVID-19 related reasons, and sent the parents of all of these babies a letter offering follow-up appointments and explaining their options for future services.



St John of God Bunbury Hospital/Bunbury Hospital (Jeff Williams, CEO and Bunbury Hospital Executive Team)

Bunbury Hospital and St John of God Bunbury Hospital are collocated on the South West Health Campus.  Early on in the evolving pandemic it was identified by the leadership teams at both hospitals that the planning would be best achieved by developing a comprehensive plan that covered the whole campus and considered the capability of both hospitals. 

The two executive teams worked closely together to come up with a plan that ensured that there was an ability to respond to an impending influx of COVID patients whilst maintaining business continuity in key areas of the public and private hospital like surgery, obstetrics, paediatrics, sub-acute and the ability to create ICU surge capacity should it be required. 

Daily clinical operational meetings were held with key public and private hospital stakeholders to ensure both hospitals were fully prepared to respond should there be a need.  A series of plans, which showed business as usual, followed by a series of plans based on possible stages of the pandemic surge were created. A comprehensive campus wide plan was developed.  This early collaboration is an example of the public and private sector working closely together to deliver high quality care in regional WA.

Chloe Paterson (Executive Personal Assistant), Ashleigh Copson (Marketing Officer), Jill Carland (Manager Quality and Safety) (Bethesda Health Care)

Chloe Paterson worked tirelessly supporting the Bethesda Executive team; keeping on top of meetings, notes and many video conferencing set ups. Chloe has assisted with ensuring those working from home still feel connected to the office.

Ashleigh Copson has been preparing and facilitating regular and clear staff, visiting medical officer, patient and tenant communications and knowledge broadcasts throughout the pandemic. This has facilitated a high level of transparency between all hospital stakeholders and eased anxieties of the unknown.  

Jill Carland has done an excellent job leading the COVID Ready Team. Jill has often been the single point of contact for all Bethesda’s COVID queries and has managed and led the hospital through this pandemic while living up to the Bethesda values.

Prof Shirley Bowen (CEO, St John of God Subiaco)

Prof Shirley Bowen Infectious Diseases Physician (FRACP) and CEO of St John of God Subiaco Hospital (SJGSH), has shown outstanding leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic at SJGSH, as well as for the whole of SJGHC and the wider community in WA.

She has led her teams by using proactive and expert knowledge and communication to all levels of caregivers, SJGHC sisters, patients, doctors and visitors. Prof Bowen has used daily podcasts and weekly video updates to educate and reassure everyone about COVID-19. She has clarified several myths with short video presentations, and walks around the hospital day in and day out for 14 hrs a day, to meet people and reassure those who have been anxious, demonstrating her very passionate and committed visible and authentic ”Star” leadership quality.

Her “Captains Call” every day at every meeting she attends and the appreciation and respect she shows to all of the different subject matter experts involved, has always provided great reassurance and calmness to the uncertain situation that everyone has been dealing with. Prof Bowen focused on patient care and caregivers wellbeing at the same time, leading decision making processes and coordinating strategic and operational arrangements that needed to be in place to deal with a worst case scenario. Her style of leadership was very “infectious” for all of the executive leaders in the Subiaco Hospital management committee, enabling them to lead similarly with confidence and positivity.

Kathy Pedler (Deputy Director Clinical Services, Hollywood Private Hospital)

Kathy has led the COVID-19 operational preparedness planning for Hollywood Private Hospital (HPH). Her leadership in this process has been outstanding - she is calm, consultative, respectful and she gets the job done. She leads with integrity, communicates well, works hard, and always has a kind word for people in the process. Kathy's extensive emergency management expertise has come to the fore in this process. She is able to look at problems and challenges from a range of perspectives in order to develop holistic responses that fit for the organisation. Kathy is determined and dedicated, following through on actions until completed. Her ability to engage the team and bring them along with her in the myriad of changes that have been required due to the evolving nature of the pandemic situation is evident. Kathy is a unique and courageous leader - and this quote sums her achievements during this time well -'it takes a unique kind of leadership to push against the natural human tendency to downplay and delay' (Kerrissey and Edmondson, 2020).

Marie Murphy (Learning and Development Manager, Bethesda Health Care)

As L&D Manager at a smaller facility Marie has not had the luxury of a big team, but has led with integrity and developed and supported her team as they have negotiated ever-changing requirements.

She has institutional trust and respect due to her vast clinical knowledge, clarity of judgment, role modeling of excellence and use of common-sense. 

Marie has made a measurable impact as a passionate educator exhibiting a clear enjoyment of informing and empowering staff through knowledge, with her enthusiasm to ‘pitch’ to any audience evident in both subject and delivery. She demonstrates ability to develop education while simultaneously being adaptable to changing information and adjusting training accordingly. Her ability to engage at all levels has improved capacity and confidence of staff. Her phased programs have assisted employees to understand the complexities of, and overcome fear, associated with nursing patients with COVID-19 with simulation-based training offering opportunity to practice theory in a supported environment while managing the uncertainty of “What do we do when we get a positive patient?” She has challenged ideas of staff in a way that is constructive and respectful, thus quashing misinformation in relation to COVID.

Marie has made an important contribution to policies and protocols integral to COVID preparedness.

Joondalup Health Campus Staff and Dr Amanda Ling (Acting CEO)

On 29 March 2020 JHC agreed to take 30 COVID positive passengers from the passenger ship Artania. 12 On 29 March 2020 JHC agreed to take 30 COVID positive passengers from the passenger ship Artania. 12 hours later one of the biggest single intakes of COVID infected passengers arrived to the ward for initial assessment. While JHC had been planning for COVID, this immediate influx of patients was unanticipated. After assessment, it was identified that the patients were sicker than initially thought. Within 24 hours of admission, a further 2 patients presented to ED from other ships walk, both whom turned out to be COVID positive. Another 10 COVID patients arrived within days.

The JHC team had to work together in a challenging and dangerous environment. The situation was further complicated by a large number of the Artania passengers speaking little or no English. The team developed and implemented a number of new processes, showing remarkable resilience and team work. The majority of the Artania patients have now returned to Germany. To date, the JHC has had zero rate of transmission amongst staff and doctors, an amazing effort which demonstrates with the correct use of PPE, transmission is unlikely.  Well done team JHC and thank you for the strong leadership of Dr Amanda Ling, Acting CEO.

Libby Oakes (Manager Infection Prevention and Control, Bethesda Health Care)

Libby is an exceptional person and clinician. It is a privilege to work closely with her, especially during a pandemic. Her leadership has ensured Bethesda’s excellent management of COVID-19.

Libby is a leader with good judgement. She is approachable and supportive. She uses every opportunity to assist others to develop their knowledge, confidence and competence.  Libby identifies strengths in people and encourages them to excel. She has an amazing work ethic, going above and beyond.

As a content expert and patient advocate, Libby has utilised sound reasoning, broad knowledge and an evidence-based approach to problem solve. Libby has a talent for critical appraisal of information and identifying gaps. She understands relevant systems and informs change through appropriate channels, adapting recommendations to different clinical areas.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Libby takes ownership, completing tasks with energy and enthusiasm. Libby is a diplomat, and always knows what to say and how to say it mindfully! Communication is a key strength.

Libby’s spirit is infectious. She can have a laugh with the CEO, students, volunteers and everyone in between. She knows everyone’s name, and everyone knows Libby! She earns respect through role modelling excellence and passion in her work.

Julie Clark (QuEST Manager, Peel Health Campus)

Julie Clark was identified as the Covid Lead for Peel Health Campus in the early days of the pandemic. Julie has quality, education and infection control in her portfolio and very quickly used her expertise to ensure the organisation was prepared for the expected onslaught of patients.

Julie has worked tirelessly with staff at all levels, providing assurance to both the Ramsay and SMHS Boards of our COVID readiness. Working with staff,she has provided sensible advice and allayed fears of what might be coming through the doors. She provides a commonsense approach and makes herself available for questions at all times, going above and beyond to ensure patients and staff are safely managed.

Julie has a calm can do attitude and has used her expertise to engage staff both internally and externally to support the organisation in preparing systems and processes to ensure robust COVID plans are in place.

Julie is not afraid to challenge planning when not following national guidance, however she does it in such a way that gains the respect and collaboration of clinicians at all levels.

It has been a real pleasure to watch Julie grow in this role. She has gained confidence in her abilities and has been noticed by senior executives as a true leader in every sense.

Lucille Ridley (Infection Control Coordinator, St John of God Health Care)

Lucille’s expert knowledge of national standards and her strong focus on leading the SJoG compliance with standard 3 has been an integral part of the SJoG COVID-19 Emergency Response.

Lucille’s ability to apply her practical nursing knowledge of infection control techniques in clinical settings with her ability to lead and manage change has been outstanding. She has worked tirelessly to assess SJoG health care practices and implement necessary improvements and changes to ensure the best patient outcomes are achieved.

Lucille has provided leadership in developing and delivering consistent and reliable clinical education regarding infection control during the COVID-19 pandemic.  She has worked collaboratively across all SJoG hospitals and her commitment to our caregivers has empowered them to achieve best practice during this time.

Lucille has approached the challenges presented by PPE availability with innovation and enthusiasm, ensuring our caregiver, patients and community are protected to the highest standard.  She has given 100% throughout this crisis and has dedicated her days, night and weekends to ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our caregivers and patients., She is always available to offer support and advice when called upon.

Kristi Day (Internal Corporate Communications Manager, St John of God Health Care)

Kristi has been at the forefront of internal communication for SJoG Health Care during the COVID-19 Pandemic response.  Kristi is collaborative and innovative and her problem solving skills have been invaluable to the team. 

Kristi’s passion and dedication to the COVID-19 internal communications strategy has meant she has been available morning, noon and night, 7 days a week.  She consistently delivers practical advice.

During this worrying time, Kristi’s ability to deliver regular, consistent and engaging internal communication across the organisation has been key to relieving anxiety amongst caregivers, making them feel fully informed and empowered. 

Kristi has expertly executed the task of staying up-to-date and informed on the multiple sources of information during this time (state, federal, DoH etc) and has provided consistent and clear communication throughout.

Kristi has been crucial to the success of the SJoG COVID-19 Emergency Response Group, going above and beyond with her time and commitment to the group. 

We believe her ability to develop relatable, clear and caring internal communications has spoken from the heart of our business and has improved the morale of our caregivers during this difficult time. 

Patient Experience and Clinical Excellence (PEaCE) Team (St John of God Health Care)

The multi-disciplinary PEaCE team have utilised its leadership and crisis management skills to navigate SJoG safely through the coronavirus pandemic. PEaCE team has been outstanding and unwavering in its commitment to SJoG patients during this time. PEaCE has worked and continues to work, 7 days a week ensuring the safety of caregivers and patients.

The PEaCE team have faced many challenges in an unchartered landscape and the team have risen to the challenge every time.  Examples of their achievements include: implementing and operating the COVID-19 Emergency Response Group (CERG), implementing the caregiver hot-line to support all of SJoG, procurement, testing and implementation of safe PPE during a time of global shortage, and communicating effectively and consistently across all hospitals to foster a spirit of trust, support and unity.

The team have been proactive in meeting the needs of SJoG patients and has empowered SJoG leaders to make informed decisions.  The team has created a positive and reliable culture, not allowing problems or difficulties to stop their momentum.

The commitment, expert knowledge and amazing team work shown by the PEaCE team has enabled SJoG Caregivers to continue to provide patients with best practice health care during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

Joondalup Health Campus COVID Response Team

In March 2020, JHC was requested to take 30 COVID positive patients directly from the Artania cruise ship. With less than 24 hours’ notice a plan was put in place to safely manage the arrival, assessment and ongoing care of these patients. They were mostly non-English speaking, anxious and unwell. Within the first two hours of arrival, two patients required intubation and transfer to ICU. We were able to manage this very challenging situation through collaboration and teamwork across specialties, disciplines and departments; including nursing, infection control, housekeeping, Infectious Diseases, Respiratory and Anaesthetics. Several innovations assisted with safely caring for these patients with no further transmission of COVID. This included a PPE buddy system, rapid response to set oxygen requirement parameters, and an anaesthetic intubation team. Twice daily ward rounds occurred with Respiratory, ID and senior nursing staff. The PM round was attended by German speaking medical and nursing staff who volunteered to assist with translation. Nursing staff and social work assisted contacting families and relevant consulates, purchased clothing and essentials items, and provided emotional support during this time. Two more Artania patients were admitted,with 29 patients now being discharged,  and repatriated. Sadly we had 2 deaths. One patient continues to undergo rehabilitation with us.



COVID-19 Response Team (WA Primary Health Alliance)

Our COVID-19 Response Team was established and led by general manager Bernadette Kenny and primary care manager Lucy Patel.

Our initial remit was to develop a logistical strategy to distribute masks to general practices and pharmacies across WA, with over 200,000 masks distributed. Demands for our services have changed daily and come at us with rapidity and complexity, requiring our COVID-19 Response Team to expand to include multiple skills and functions.

Our Practice Assist team quadrupled to deal with requests for help. At the height of the pandemic, enquiries increased 500% month on month and website visits 77% year on year.

We negotiated an unprecedented partnership with five medical and health agencies to produce a daily GP newsletter. Webinars, a virtual GP information pack and extensive FAQs provided further support.

With the introduction of universal telehealth, we rapidly established a telehealth platform, with over 140 general practices registered.

As part of the national primary health response to COVID-19, we facilitated the establishment of six GP Respiratory Clinics and counting.

We advocated on behalf of primary care on influenza vaccine supplies, private pathology providing COVID-19 testing, inclusion of GPs in COVID-19 patient discharge pathways and improved communication between hospitals and GPs.

Cherie Braden (Practice Manager, Wembley Medical Centre)

Cherie Braden is the Practice Manager for a primary Health Practice in Perth, Western Australia (WA). Cherie has been proactive in consulting with subject matter experts to ensure staff and patient safety in the Practice, putting in strategies to ensure compliance with WA policy since the onset of the COVID-19 response.

Cherie rapidly ensured the practice risk register was updated and local actions put in place to manage and ensure patient flow inclusive of waiting areas, appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning regimes and training for all staff. This has included a process for assessment of patients on arrival and a safe place/process for patients with identified respiratory symptoms to be assessed and managed.

Cherie has been instrumental in the management of Practice influenza vaccinations, leading the Practice Nursing team to establish vaccination clinics to enable large volumes of at risk community members to access vaccinations in a timely manner. Cherie has led four clinics on consecutive Saturdays with medical and nursing supervision to vaccinate up to 80 individuals in a four hour period. This initiative has been recognised and reported in the local media as a significant community support.

Eaton & Australind Medical Centres Administration and Clinical Staff

As information changed hourly, this organisation setup administrative and practical solutions to problems that were facing all health services. Planning for patient services and staff safety were undertaken with an inclusive management style, allowing all levels of staff to have input to how changes were being made. Although senior management made the final decision, inclusiveness of all opinions was seen throughout the decision making process. This promoted a calm approach to very rapid change, ensuring that patients were not frightened to contact the practice and ensuring they were receiving appropriate information. New channels of communication with the community were instigated. GPs setup explanatory videos, changes to item numbers were completed seamlessly and telehealth was setup. . Each challenge was addressed and answered. The Obstetric qualified GPs worked with the local health service to plan how antenatal services could be transferred to Eaton & Australind Medical Centres, relieving stress from their organisation.  This occurred following 12 months of organisational change with a number of staff being made redundant within 2 weeks of the start of the ‘crisis’.

The staff of Eaton & Australind Medical Centres have risen to face the challenges of the COVID 19 crisis. They were still in the midst of organisational change, including reduction of staff, but rose up to meet the challenges of the crisis. This demonstrated all that is good in people within the health industry. They focussed on the needs and safety of the patient, with selfless attitudes, and were ready to change service delivery models within hours. This has included the undertaking to continue bulking billing of clients well past the parameters given by the Department of Health, to ensure the community will consider its health before wondering if they can afford it.

Everyone has worked ‘above and beyond the call of duty’, and I believe this recognition is a fitting outcome for their selflessness to the community of Bunbury. I could not be any prouder of any other group of individuals that I have worked with in a career spanning 40 years in the health industry.



Adrian Bautista (CFO, PathWest (Acting CEO of PathWest during COVID-19))

During the COVID-19 crisis, amidst the pressure of PathWest being the only State laboratory to test COVID cases in the whole of WA, and with the challenges of being a new acting CEO, Adrian worked diligently (sometimes over the weekends without complaints). He secured various contracts to meet the need for machines, reagents, test kits and all emergency consumables required to enable testing for Western Australians. Due to his relentless efforts, we were able to provide testing as needed without running out of essential materials whilst maintaining a safe workplace for all those involved.

He has demonstrated inspiring leadership and encouragement throughout . He was on the grounds of COVID clinics along with our Phlebotomists to oversee and ensure safe experiences for both patients and staff members. He was constantly checking in with all his staff members,in the lab and in the office, for their well-being in the face of uncertainty. He promoted transparency and reassurance for all team members with regular catch ups, updates and insights on the cases and progress. He even started PathWest Helping Hands Initiatives to assist Microbiology team who were working around the clock. He has been positive, supportive, encouraging and leads by example. Along with admiration for him, we have also been greatly inspired by his leadership during this crisis.

Raymond Brockenshire (Medical Scientist In Charge, Broome PathWest)

Ray has been leading the Broome Lab since the beginning of time – well it feels like it anyway!

He has resided in Broome most of his life and has always been truly committed to his community.

Ray has had to face many dramatic changes within the little, humble Broome lab since March 2020 and has done a marvellous job.

He has had to get a very special machine up and running to test the COVID-19 samples in Broome with our vulnerable population. Ray has trained the scientists to utilise this machine, troubleshoot and release results within the hour. Super handy for keeping the Kimberley region safe :-)

Ray has had the added pressure of maintaining staff during this period, ensuring stores arrive, ensuring the samples are sent to Perth in a timely manner as well as running the lab as per usual.

Broome, and further Kimberley communities, are very lucky to have Ray as our MSIC.

Jo Montgomery (Senior Medical Scientist in Charge, Molecular Diagnostics, PathWest QEII)

Senior Medical Scientist in Charge of Molecular Diagnostics at QEII Jo Montgomery has worked at PathWest for 24 years, managing the Molecular Diagnostics lab for the past 15 years.

Jo has been instrumental to the PathWest COVID-19 response, overseeing the scientific operations at QEII to rapidly provide a diagnostic COVID-19 PCR test for WA long before commercial tests became available. The speed of production of the COVID-19 test is likely to have contributed to the strong outcomes achieved in WA. Jo also played an integral role in PathWest’s response to the 2009 Swine Flu pandemic, so she was well placed to provide expertise and guidance through this unprecedented health crisis.

Her work has also involved a complex operation of reconfiguring COVID-19 PCR workflows to improve turnaround times for test results while enabling increased testing capacity seven days a week. All of this work was completed within a few weeks. Processes were continually assessed and adjusted to keep pace with the changing landscape of testing.

Jo achieved these outcomes despite facing significant challenges such as global shortages of supplies and splitting staff into separate shifts in order to meet physical distancing requirements.

Elaine Toogood (Manager of Specimen Collection Services)

Extensive COVID-19 testing within a rapidly changing environment created enormous work for our phlebotomy team at PathWest. Manager of Specimen Collection Services, Elaine Toogood, a 20-year veteran of PathWest, has overseen this process with skill and perseverance.

Elaine manages the training and education of all collection staff and oversees management of the collection service in the metropolitan area. 

As part of the COVID-19 response, Elaine spearheaded the establishment of the PathWest COVID collection points and a dedicated COVID domiciliary service which involved recruiting phlebotomy staff and training them in strict infection control procedures. In parallel, Elaine coordinated the establishment of two new collection rooms for oncology patients to reduce their risk during the pandemic. 

Her herculean effort has involved around-the-clock coordination to ensure any urgent collection requests for COVID-19 testing could be met – including in hotels and on ships. Every request posed different challenges such as ensuring trained staff were available at different locations, establishing a process for testing and securing the safe transport of specimens to the lab. Supporting her frontline staff at every stage of the process has been an absolute priority and has contributed to the high standard of collection service throughout this period.

Dr David Speers (Head of the Microbiology, PathWest QEII)

As Head of the Microbiology at the PathWest QEII, Dr David Speers has been instrumental in leading PathWest’s laboratory response to COVID-19. His involvement overseeing and guiding the rapid development of new tests, has ensured PathWest had the capability to process thousands of COVID-19 tests within a short period of time. In the face of challenges with staffing capacity, equipment and reagent supplies, Dr Speers’s outstanding leadership ensured PathWest maintained a gold standard testing service.

David provides a vital link between the laboratory and public health and others in the WA Health Department on COVID-19 testing. He has also worked closely with interstate counterparts to provide advice to colleagues in other public and private sector laboratories.

In addition, David has advised Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital (SCGH) and public non-teaching hospitals on their COVID-19 response strategies and provided laboratory support to health services in regional and remote areas. His other roles as Infection Control Officer and an Infectious Diseases Consultant at SCGH have placed further demands on his work. He has worked seven days a week for the past three months to complete the massive volume of work to meet requirements which he has done with humility and humour.


Joanne Tracey (Customer Service Officer, HelpingMinds)

Joanne works on our busy switchboard and reception desk. When COVID-19 restrictions came into force and we transitioned to working from home, Joanne showed outstanding leadership as our first point of contact., She ensured the transition was as smooth as possible, so our clients did not miss out on valuable supports. HelpingMinds supports include counselling, school holiday programs and health promotion events - all of which had to rapidly move online. Joanne adapted very quickly to the change in registration processes and responded to any issues our clients may have encountered. Joanne was flexible and solutions-focussed, leading the way in welcoming clients to our service and helping them navigate our new way of working in a very short time frame.

Debbie Childs (Chief Executive Officer, HelpingMinds)

Debbie Childs, CEO of HelpingMinds, has displayed outstanding leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. With her Leadership Team, she crafted a way forward for the organisation when COVID-19 restrictions came into place affecting the mental health sector. Her intention was to ensure all clients continued to receive the best possible supports in adjusted format, keeping both clients and staff safe.

Within a week, all 90 plus staff were mobilised and equipped with the necessary technology to move into their home office with a business contingency plan in place, enabling the continuance of support to clients remotely via online video, phone counselling and webinars. She extended our service offer to make phone counselling available to anyone in WA who needed support.

With her Leadership Team, she developed and implemented new policies, procedures and practices to ensure all our staff could continue their work and make it through this difficult phase together as a team. There was a great sense of solidarity felt by staff across our organisation and for this we would like to nominate Debbie Childs as a leadership STAR of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Aviation Department (Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

Royal Flying Doctor Service Pilots take on a special role and each day never know where their aircraft and expertise will be needed the most in WA - the world's largest health jurisdiction.

The Aviation Team for RFDS Western Operations is a unique team of pilots, engineers and support staff who travelled 7.8 million kilometres around WA to retrieve and treat 8,682 patients in the past financial year. With five bases at Jandakot, Kalgoorlie, Broome, Meekatharra and Port Hedland, the Aviation team fulfils a demanding role everyday, which has been further challenged by COVID-19.

The Aviation team has responded to the pandemic by increasing its people power by 30 per cent to prepare for possible surges in flights in response to potential COVID-19 outbreaks. This has been achieved by cancelling planned leave, being even more flexible than usual in rostering and taking on extra duties to assist operational crew before and after COVID-19 suspected flights

The need to wear appropriate PPE has added to challenging operating conditions for pilots. Aviation Training and Checking requirements, which ensure the safety and professional operation of RFDS WO aircraft, have also been modified by the team to accommodate the State Government's regional travel restrictions.

Andrew Hooper (Head of Medical, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

Dr Andrew Hooper is a Royal Flying Doctor Service WA COVID-19 pioneer - having been the very first WA doctor on the inaugural suspected COVID-19 transfer on 3 February. Onboard the flight were two suspected COVID-19 patients on a repatriation flight for Australian residents from Wuhan, China.  

This retrieval was particularly significant for Andy as he was able to put into practice the clinical protocols he had been developing weeks earlier in response to the emerging pandemic.  The mission saw him feel the heat of working in full PPE, understand the dynamics of a COVID-19 transfer and empathise with staff on the frontline.  

Andy was instrumental in developing the initial Clinical Guidelines for COVID-19 aeromedical retrievals and he co-authored the RFDS COVID-19 Master Clinical Manual. He has been a critical member of RFDS's COVID-19 Emergency Management Team and led the clinical education team to create and implement effective new infection control and PPE processes.

Andy's aeromedical expertise and tireless energy in establishing the RFDS clinical response has meant the service was response ready and frontline staff were kept safe.  Andy continues to innovate and is now trialling new telehealth platforms for RFDS video consultations with isolated patients.

Engineering & Stores Department (Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

The Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations Engineering team has demonstrated innovation and personal commitment to our response to COVID-19 and to ensure our aircraft are response ready for aeromedical retrievals across WA's vast regions.

The team continues to provide 'round the clock' support and voluntarily spread their shifts out to start as early as 5am and late as 10pm (outside normal working hours) and without additional pay, to abide by physical distancing protocols, and to ensure RFDS aircraft are online at all times.

Many staff have worked five weeks straight and taken on extra weekend work in addition to usual on-call duties. They have worked tirelessly!

In addition to their usual servicing schedules, the team has innovated to refit bags inside the aircraft that are easier to decontaminate; installed specific power supply for aircraft fumigation following COVID-19 transfers  and installed new infection control curtains between the cockpit and cabin.

The engineering role is critical to ensure aviation safety, COVID-19 equipment and protocols are seamlessly embedded within the aircraft and that the medical crews and pilots can quickly take off for COVID-19 retrievals. These unsung heroes literally keep us flying!

Jonathan Moore (Facilities Manager, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

Every organisation has a 'magician' working behind the scenes ensuring the uninterrupted daily flow of the business.  Jonathan Moore, Facilities Manager for the Royal Flying Doctor Service WA, is one of these people.

Jonathan has kept everyone safe at RFDS, playing a critical role in achieving widespread physical changes at RFDS's five bases. Jonathan worked with base administrators and multiple disciplines across the State to implement new physical segmentation to minimise risks associated with staff interaction, particularly for critical medical and aviation employees.

The changes saw additional kitchen and bathroom facilities quickly installed in Jandakot, Port Hedland and Kalgoorlie to achieve staff separation and ensure daily coffee kept brewing and staff could respond to COVID-19 without inconvenience. Jonathan coordinated new entry points and access routes for staff to move in and around buildings, along with new security access. For example, a new entry point has provided pilots with separate access to their work, sleeping, recreation and kitchen facilities.

Importantly, Jonathan has overseen the introduction of new decontamination zones at all bases for flight crew after COVID-19 retrievals. In additional to physical changes, new cleaning, hand hygiene and laundering regimes have been set up.

Kieran Hennelly (Acting General Manager Clinical, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

When Dr Kieran Hennelly agreed to move to Perth from tropical Broome at the start of 2020 for the Royal Flying Doctor Service, he planned to find a new work life rhythm amid the city.  Little did he know this rhythm would in fact be as a 'round the clock' clinical lead for an unprecedented pandemic!

As Acting General Manager Clinical for the RFDS Western Operations, Kieran is fulfilling a critical role in coordinating the RFDS response to COVID-19 with our team and service delivery partners.

As WA declared a State of Emergency, Kieran stood up as the COVID-19 Lead overseeing the RFDS Emergency Response Team in partnership with the Department of Health, WA Country Health Service and other integral agencies.

Critically, he was instrumental in developing processes to ensure ongoing PPE needs are met and our organisational response was integrated with robust clinical governance.

Kieran's knowledge and connections in regional WA have paved the way to ensure remote Aboriginal communities with poor access to health services are prioritised in a COVID response through his ability to facilitate links with other support organisations. 

Kieran's attention to detail, good humour, collaborative nature and clinical expertise make him an RFDS COVID-19 star!

Paul Ingram (Head of Nursing, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

Paul Ingram has become a super sleuth in sourcing decontamination and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supplies to keep his frontline teams safe and response ready during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Head of Nursing and the Infection Control Lead for the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations, Paul spent countless hours sourcing TGA standard PPE gloves, masks, gowns, alcohol rub and other critical crisis response equipment to ensure all frontline staff across all five RFDS bases had ready access to the highest standard of supplies when needed to transfer and treat a COVID-19 patient.

To ensure consistent PPE supply, Paul implemented a daily stock level report noting minimum stock requirements and projected need. 

Paul worked with independent Infection Control consultants to ensure continued best practice in the evolving COVID-19 situation and to test new aircraft decontamination procedures following suspected or confirmed COVID-19 transfers.

Importantly, Paul's warmth and genuine care for his team has seen him reassuringly communicate and lead his staff through the uncertainty of this pandemic.

Rebecca Tomkinson (CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service WA)

Leading an emergency hospital, an 18-fleet strong airline and five regional bases across the world's largest health jurisdiction is no easy feat at the best of times.  This is all in a day's work for Rebecca Tomkinson as CEO of the Royal Flying Doctor Service Western Operations.

Rebecca's leadership of the aeromedical charity through the pandemic ensured the Flying Doctors collaborated with key health agencies and lived up to its promise to provide the finest medical care whenever and wherever Western Australians most need us.

Rebecca mobilised her Leadership Team, stood up the RFDS Emergency Response Team and activated the Business Continuity Plan to ensure the service didn't miss a beat and was response ready.

Importantly, Rebecca's care for the RFDS staff saw swift and decisive action in segregating the workplace to minimise risk of infection, implementing work from home practices and clear and constant communication to update staff with the ever changing COVID-19 situation.

She ensured all frontline staff and patients had supplies of PPE, innovative decontamination solutions were explored, training was developed to keep up with changing protocols, the aircraft fleet was enhanced to provide mass emergency response, and critical capital and operational supplies were available.

Jonika De Jonge (Clinical Lead, Brightwater Care Group)

Jonika DeJonge is the Clinical Lead on Brightwater's Pandemic Response Team. Jonika has worked with Brightwater Care Group since 2008 and her considered and careful approach during the COVID-19 pandemic has ensured Brightwater has been well prepared through each stage from a clinical perspective. Jonika has clinical responsibility over the entire organisation of 3000 clients and 2200 staff within diverse care environments and complexity.

Her calm and insightful advice to our Pandemic Response Team, Leadership Team and Operations teams has had a positive impact on all areas of our business including residential aged care, disability and corporate services.

Jonika’s clinical expertise and insight has resulted in being able to rapidly implement new clinical procedures at our residential sites including amending outbreak guidelines, PPE training and stock management specific to COVID-19, increased infection control training and acted as a conduit between State Health and the business.

Jonika has been a strong leader, particularly for our site based teams (residential aged care and disability houses), providing clinical governance and foreseeing the ever changing requirements needed by our business during the pandemic. Her adaptability and calm head have been outstanding leadership qualities.

Villa Terenzio Pandemic Response Group (Italian Aged Care Incorporated)

The Pandemic Response Group has displayed outstanding leadership to residents, relatives and colleagues and achieved excellent outcomes by coordinating:

• Regular, clear and transparent communication and updates to all stakeholders;

• Proportionate and evidence based visiting restrictions balancing risk of transmission against holistic needs;

• Innovation through technology and social media allowing ongoing connection for residents and relatives, and access to streamed church services;

• Refurbishment and equipping a recently decommissioned area to create an isolation ward suitable for residents, community clients or to alleviate hospital pressures;

• Proactive advocacy for residents and retaining a consumer focus e.g. initiating COVID-19 testing to reduce time residents spend in isolation;

• Provision of peer support for colleagues who were concerned or affected by COVID-19, including those who had relatives die overseas (particularly Italy);

• Safe reopening of a chapel on-site for residents; 

• Commitment to a bonus scheme for staff who do not qualify under the aged care retention bonus. This includes laundry, administrative and catering staff who have provided ongoing support services since 1 March 2020, with the sum being equivalent to the retention bonus; and

• Positive multidisciplinary involvement of nursing and medical officers, lifestyle and therapy, procurement and property, catering and other services including spiritual support.

GP Training - Program Delivery Team (Western Australian General Practice Education and Training)

WAGPET educate and train over 550 GP registrars who work in hospitals and medical practices across WA. During COVID the WAGPET team showed the highest level of support, flexibility, responsiveness and resilience to keep these vitally important doctors working.

The COVID Command team met daily, tracking actions against a response plan.  Operating hours were extended 7am - 7pm, and a 24-hour hotline provided. Telehealth was put in place with the shortest lead time.  Education sessions adapted to virtual delivery overnight.  Government and GP college policy changes were implemented to ensure registrars and their patients were safe.  Unprecedented communication and contact occurred with the registrars and their 600 supervisors across 250 accredited practices to assist and address evolving issues as they arose.

The outcomes were outstanding.  Over 100 actions were taken outside of the Australian General Practice Training (AGPT) policies to ensure continuity of care to patients at a time when GPs were needed most. No registrar left the WAGPET training program due to the impacts of COVID.  The WAGPET team has safeguarded the next generation of GPs through their COVID actions.  Our responsive work culture put us so far ahead of the curve that impacts were way less than predicted.

Andrew Strunk (Senior Firefighter, DFES) and Graham Jones (Paramedic, St John Ambulance WA)

Andrew and Graham were part of the SHICC team sent to Halls Creek to support Halls Creek Hospital following the identification of 4 positive COVID cases amongst clinicians and nearly half the hospital workforce deemed close contacts and in isolation.

Fear, anger and a significant clinical support needs existed when the SHICC team arrived. The Halls Creek ambulance service is provided by hospital staff (an orderly and nurse) attending the call out 24/7.  For 6 weeks, Andrew & Graham worked the day shift and were on call the remaining hours of a 24 hour service 7 days per week.

Diligence, stamina, professionalism, skill, considered communication, engagement  were demonstrated consistently throughout the term in Halls Creek. Above all their respectful, culturally sensitive manner was beyond what I have ever witnessed on a continuous basis. Cultural respect was at the centre of every interaction regardless of the situation. With staff they communicated calmly, professionally and effectively, often in anxious situations, providing sensitive support and education. They sought opportunities for education and learning carefully going through COVID precautions and ambulance processes with orderlies, cleaners, nurses and doctors to ensure well before they left Halls Creek that all staff knew what was needed to resume responsibility for the service.  In addition as a team we did yoga each morning before starting work and invited everyone along providing the basis for communication and engagement of new and temporary staff. As well they checked on staff that were isolated, providing food, coffee and a friendly face outside of the hotel room.  Did I mention fixing a palliative care child’s pram and always being there for this family day and night.



East Metropolitan Health Service


Armadale Kalamunda Group


Royal Perth Hospital


Royal Perth Bentley Group


North Metropolitan Health Service


Sir Charlies Gairdner Hospital


South Metropolitan Health Service


Fiona Stanley Hospital


Fiona Stanley Fremantle Hospitals Group


Osborne Park Hospital


Sir Charles Gairdner Osborne Park Health Care Group


King Edward Memorial Hospital


WA Country Health Service


Child & Adolescent Health Service


Perth Children’s Hospital


St John of God Health Care


WA Primary Health Alliance


State Health Incident Control Centre



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