September 3, 2021

Message from the Chief Executive

Dear Northern Health staff,

As we continue through this extended lockdown, I am checking in with you to acknowledge the challenges we are all experiencing right now.

These include the ongoing disruptions to our work, new procedures, increased PPE measures and other constant changes.

Interactions can be more difficult as PPE can mean we don’t get to interact with our colleagues as much as we would like to and not seeing our patient’s faces, and them not seeing ours, makes communication harder. More work is being completed virtually rather than face to face.

For many of us, there have also been unexpected changes in our personal life such as no direct contact with and support from extended family, increased solitude, isolation, travel limits, and changed responsibilities such as home schooling.

The situation we’re in has changed how we live, work, and relate to others. It has affected everyone and in different ways.

If you’re feeling stuck, worn down and don’t know what to do, please reach out to someone you trust for help or a chat. This could be a family member, friend, manager, colleague, GP or our Employee Assistance Program.

Please remember that Northern Health’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to you and your family – it’s a free and confidential service that offers professional support for work-related or personal issues. The contact number is 1300 687 327.

However, if you or someone you know is in crisis and/or need urgent help, call emergency services (000) or Lifeline (13 11 14).

Other wellbeing resources specific to COVID-19 can be found here.

Finally, over the past couple of weeks it has been difficult to watch the events unfolding in Afghanistan. Victoria has a large Afghan community and we have people of Afghan descent working at Northern Health – many with their own ties to family and friends in Afghanistan.

Processing the news of a conflict such as this can be difficult – even if you are physically removed. Our thoughts are with those in Afghanistan and with the Afghan people who work with us and live in our community.

Please take great care of yourself at this time. Thank you for your wonderful work at Northern Health – for the care, kindness and compassion you show each day to our patients and to each other.