End of year message: From the Chief Executive
2021 was another challenging year for Northern Health and our community due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the uncertainty and challenges, I am proud of the dedication and professionalism of our staff in continuing to provide care for our patients. Whilst working under immense pressure, Northern Health staff exemplified our values of safe, kind and together in continuing to provide high quality health care for our community.
As the pandemic continued into 2021, our COVID-19 testing clinics at Northern Hospital Epping and Craigieburn Centre picked up throughout the year, supported by expanding testing capacity at Northern Pathology Victoria.
We commenced our COVID-19 staff and community vaccination programs and, at the peak, established a large-scale vaccination centre for the community at Plenty Ranges Arts & Convention Centre in South Morang.
Many staff temporarily changed their roles to assist with the response, for which we are extremely grateful.
Our innovative COVID-19 Community Monitoring Program coordinated care for people with COVID-19 not requiring admission to hospital, and our Virtual ED was an Australian-first for a public health service. Northern Health has marked many milestones across the year.
The Northern Hospital Stage 2 Expansion Project was completed, with four wards opening – including a dedicated pandemic ward. Shortly after, three new operating theatres, including one hybrid theatre, become operational at Northern Hospital Epping.
Building has commenced on new mental health inpatient facilities, with 30 new beds for Northern Hospital Epping and the new multi-deck carpark at Epping will open within weeks.
Planning is progressing rapidly on the new community hospitals in Craigieburn and within the City of Whittlesea. Building works on the Craigieburn Community Hospital will commence early in the New Year.
We also received formal notification from the Australian Council on Healthcare Standards that we had met all actions within the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards. I express my appreciation and thanks to all staff on this wonderful achievement. Well done.
In November, Ian Brand Residential Care, celebrated 30 years of service to the community. Congratulations to all who have been involved.
We recently commemorated Thank You Week with messages from our patients, volunteers and donors, as well as other prominent personalities from the Victorian community, showing their appreciation to all staff who have continued their great work to our patients and community during the pandemic.
I encourage staff to take some well-earned time off, so we can enter 2022 renewed and refreshed.
On behalf of the Board and Executive, I hope you and your family and friends have a safe and enjoyable festive season.