Welcome to the WAPHA Staff Corner

Stay connected while physically distant with the Staff Corner, accessible anytime, anywhere.

  • Are you a movie buff? Tell us your favourite genre and help us pick the first movie via our Quick Poll
  • Looking for ways to establish a routine and support the transition to working remotely? Check out the Resources section.
  • Looking for the latest information on COVID-19? You'll find it under Staff Updates below and Important Links

Stay connected while physically distant with the Staff Corner, accessible anytime, anywhere.

  • Are you a movie buff? Tell us your favourite genre and help us pick the first movie via our Quick Poll
  • Looking for ways to establish a routine and support the transition to working remotely? Check out the Resources section.
  • Looking for the latest information on COVID-19? You'll find it under Staff Updates below and Important Links
  • Update on new meeting and event log process - 1 September

    Update on new meeting and event log process *now effective immediately*

    WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) is now in COVID-19 Recovery Phase 4, which means there is a new WAPHA Meeting & Event Log process.

    As mentioned in previous communications from our Executive team, with the WA Government progressing to COVID-19 Recovery Phase 4 (current easing of restrictions) and with the support from external experts (Aurata Safety), WAPHA is now in a position to reopen our office locations to staff.

    This exciting news comes with some parameters to ensure all staff remain safe while the risk is still present. To ensure our office locations are prepared to receive you, the face to face meeting form has been upgraded. The new form has been created to allow flexibility as we move forward with the easing of restrictions or if we are required to move back a phase (e.g. an outbreak were to occur in WA). Each phase has been configured to include the approval process as required (e.g. GM approval during Phase 2, Line Manager approval during Phase 3).

    This form is to be completed by all staff who wish to visit a WAPHA office location or a Third Party Facility (e.g. PHL visiting healthcare facility).

    Access the WAPHA Meeting & Event Log Process Map here

    Access the WAPHA Meeting & Event Log Form here

  • Update on remote working and face to face meetings - 25 August

    Following the announcement last week of our decision to adopt a hybrid or flexible model of working, relaxation of meeting requests and the resumption of face to face meetings at external locations, here is the link to the questions and answers from the all staff briefing and managers’ briefing held last week.

    These changes will be communicated in the coming days and weeks via our various channels to our stakeholders, including commissioned services and general practices. There is therefore no need for you to send a specific communication to your stakeholders. Instead, when the opportunity comes up in the usual course of business or in conversation, you can let your stakeholders know about these developments using the short messages below.

    You may also be interested in reading our more detailed stakeholder FAQ here.

    If you have any further questions, you can either ask your line manager, send an email to covid19response@wapha.org.au or submit your question via Ask the Boss.

    Messages for staff when speaking to stakeholders

    • After significant consultation and discussion within our organisation, we are moving to a hybrid or flexible way of working.

    • While the majority of our staff will continue to work remotely, from September, we will be opening our metropolitan and country offices for meetings, collaboration and other tasks.

    • We will also resume face to face meetings when it would be beneficial to meet on a stakeholder’s premises rather than meet virtually.

    • However, we will continue to engage virtually with our stakeholders where this is practical and useful, for example where people are located in multiple places.

    • While we are still working through the final details of these arrangements, we will put in place a number of safeguards to protect our staff, our stakeholders and their clients/ patients.

    • Safety has always been and will continue to be our highest priority.

    • These safeguards and our other systems and processes will mean we can quickly respond by walking back our strategy and implementing tighter controls, if community spread of COVID-19 arises in WA.
  • COVID-19 Staff Update - 11 August

    Plan Ahead Update

    The Executive Team met on Friday 7 August for a facilitated discussion which aimed to:

    • Establish an Executive position on the ambition for WA Primary Health Alliance's (WAPHA) workplace, work form and work function of the future
    • Achieve a consensus on the appetite for change
    • Determine where to from here

    The Executive Team grounded their conversations in the expert advice from Aurata Safety, observation of how other organisations are adapting and in the valuable insights staff have provided through the 2x2 Matrices and staff surveys.

    Discussions explored the pros and cons of fixed ways of working against fully flexible arrangements and where, on a sliding scale between the two, WAPHA aspires to be.

    1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 5 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 10

    The Executive Team was in agreement on a shared ambition for WAPHA to be around an 8. At an 8 there are agreed degrees of flexibility and a hybrid model of remote and office based working. The workshop discussions began to shape up what this would mean and look like for WAPHA. Learne looks forward to sharing more around this in the All Staff Online Briefing on Wednesday 19 August.

    There have been many opportunities created by the disruption of COVID-19, but also some challenges that need to be considered as we move forward. The next steps will be to continue to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of our people by balancing the risks associated with COVID-19 transmission, with the risks of prolonged physical disconnect from our teams.

    Some changes will be made to the way face to face meetings are recorded and revised advice on how to access WAPHA office spaces. Please continue to use the current processes and stay up to date with the latest information through the COVID-19 Staff Update, Waffle and the Wallace COVID page.

    If there are particular question about the Plan Ahead strategy, please send them to covid19response@wapha.org.au or raise a question with Learne in advance of the All Staff Briefing through Ask the Boss.

  • COVID-19 Staff Update - 4 August 2020

    All Staff Online Briefing

    The next All Staff Online Briefing will be held on Wednesday 19 August from 11am to 11.45am.

    It will follow a similar format as previous sessions, with the opportunity to hear from our CEO, Learne Durrington, and ask questions through the chat function in Teams.

    Questions can also be asked in advance, through the Ask the Boss form, the link to which also appears in our weekly Waffle newsletter.

    At the session, Learne will talk about the activities being undertaken to operationalise the Strategic Plan and present an update on the latest Plan Ahead work, following the Executive Workshop on Friday 7 August.

    Thematic Analysis of the Insights gathered through the 2x2 Matrix

    During June, teams contributed the 2x2 Matrix exercise, helping us to reflect on what we could let go of, stop, restart and amplify as we moved beyond the immediate crisis response to COVID-19. The completed matrices have already supported the work of the Plan Ahead Team. They have also given the Executive Team specific areas of focus for their portfolios, as we have evolved our ways of working in response to the changing environment.

    The Plan Ahead Team made a request through the WAPHA General Teams channel, for support to collate the key themes from across all teams. Thank you to Brooke Jones for providing a critical and objective lens to this Thematic Analysis.

    Five common themes emerged around:

    • Meetings
    • Information technology
    • Communications
    • Office
    • Ways of working

    This information forms part of the package supporting the Executive Team as they consider how WA Primary Health Alliance will develop as an organisation as we move forward.

  • Update on Plan Ahead work - 21 July

    Thank you to everyone who has spoken to Aurata Safety in the past few weeks. These specialist infectious disease risk consultants are working with us to assess risks and recommend management strategies for WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA). Their advice is expected by the end of July.

    This is part of a range of information and advice being collated and presented to the Executive Team over the coming week, ahead of a workshop with the Plan Ahead and Executive Teams on Friday 7 August. This workshop will set out the roadmap for WAPHA and will draw on the input you have given through the regular staff surveys, the themes you raised in the 2x2 matrix, relevant published literature and advice from experts such as Aurata Safety. The Plan Ahead Team looks forward to sharing the outcomes of that workshop by the end of August.

    With around 80% of the current transmissions in Victoria linked to workplaces (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-19/workplace-coronavirus-transmission-in-victoria-in-aged-care/12470704), working remotely continues to be the safest option for WAPHA and our stakeholders.

    Small, careful and considered steps such as opening our meeting rooms and establishing registration and approval processes for attending face to face meetings, are incremental ways of setting new behaviours for the organisation and our stakeholders.

    In line with these changes, we will begin to publicly support our partner organisations with face to face events, by co-branding and promoting activities such as the forthcoming Pilbara Health Professionals Network. We will also consider how we can support other sponsored activities run by partner organisations. We will be seeking assurance that our partners in these activities are meeting COVID-safe requirements and will share the advice we are receiving from Aurata Safety to inform their practice.

    The evidence emerging around working in a world with COVID-19, alongside the ease with which we have seen Victoria move from contained to community transmission, supports WAPHA’s intention to remain cautious. This caution is in balance with establishing new ways of working and placing reciprocal obligations on others to manage risks, rather than trying to manage all risks on behalf of others.

    The Plan Ahead, Emergency Response and Staff Productivity, Wellbeing and Engagement working groups are collaborating to ensure we have a clear vision and implementation plan for the future of work at WAPHA, supporting a safe work environment and one in which we provide a solid foundation for our people to thrive in new and different ways of working. We are focussed on developing online mental health, health and wellbeing resources, management tools and advice, and social connections within and across WAPHA work teams.

    The most recent staff survey results continue to show strong staff support for the way in which the Executive Team and managers are supporting remote working and the way the organisation is looking after the overall wellbeing of our people.

    Themes and comments from the last survey have:

    • informed specific information and training opportunities for managers as we continue to work remotely
    • supported the case for enabling face to face meetings
    • shaped the way in which approvals for face to face meetings are requested
    • ensured ongoing attention to providing mental health and wellbeing programs and initiatives.

    It is clear from the survey results that our staff are seeking regular and detailed communication about WAPHA’s approach to the safety and wellbeing of our staff and how we are moving towards new and innovative ways of working. The Plan Ahead Team is committed to responding to this and we encourage all staff to take the time to read, watch or listen to the information provided.

    The recent cases connected to the Casula Crossroads Hotel, NSW offer an interesting case study on how easily COVID-19 can be spread. It is a reminder of the nature of the virus and our responsibility to protect ourselves and others.

    CASE STUDY: Casula Crossroads Hotel, NSW
    On 3 July 2020 a Victorian man shared a meal with six of his colleagues at Crossroads Hotel in Casula, NSW. The gentlemen works in the freight industry, though is not a truck driver, and when he crossed the border on 30 June 2020, showed no symptoms and felt well.

    On 10 July the Crossroads Hotel was ordered to close after two people who visited the venue on Friday 3 July tested positive for COVID-19. A pop-up testing clinic was put in place in the hotel car park that afternoon.

    On 12 July the Queensland Government issued a public health alert urging Queenslanders who visited the named hotel between 3 July to 10 July inclusive to be tested and isolate immediately. Twenty-one cases were confirmed and linked to the hotel by 12 July and as of Wednesday 15 July, 37 cases were confirmed from almost 23,000 tests. At least 21 of the 37 known cases in the cluster were hotel patrons.

    On 20 July there were 48 confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to the Crossroads Hotel outbreak in Casula including a woman in Wollongong NSW. This includes 14 people who attended the hotel on 3 July, one who visited on 5 July and 33 other cases who are linked but did not visit the venue. "This highlights the rapidity and spread [with which] this virus can move through the community," NSW Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said.

    With extensive interviews over multiple public health units and genomic testing confirming the COVID-19 strain was the same one being spread in Melbourne, epidemiologists have confirmed this one person is the most likely link to the community outbreak in Sydney’s south-west. Six of the Victorian man’s colleagues have since tested positive for COVID-19.

  • COVID-19 Staff Update - 14 July

    Whilst COVID-19 has impacted our current ways of working, many organisations worldwide and in Australia are seizing this opportunity to reimagine the way they work.

    The movement to mixed models in workplaces seems to be the trend and the last three months have shown us that working remotely has presented some opportunities for further consideration for our future ways of working.

    We are focused on shaping WA Primary Health Alliance as a stronger organisation and on holding a space for innovation and opportunity that can lead the WA primary care sector through the new normal and into the emerging future.

    At the start of this pandemic, we acted quickly and decisively with the safety of our stakeholders and staff in mind, adapting well to working remotely while continuing to effectively support our commissioned services, general practices and other organisations.

    The current outbreak in Victoria is a salient reminder that, whilst we have a low rate of COVID-19 infection in WA, we still need to be diligent and take a cautious approach.

    As such, we are working towards a phased approach as we transition to a mixed model for remote and face to face interactions. As you know, the first step in this roadmap includes resuming some face to face meetings at our Rivervale and country offices.

    Our approach is based on expert advice and with the safety of staff and stakeholders as our priorities, particularly those on the front line of health care delivery.

    Read more in our recent COVID-19 Stakeholder Update

  • Making the transition to increased face to face contact with our teams and stakeholders

    From Wednesday 8 July, WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) staff will be able to use WAPHA office meeting room facilities (Rivervale and Country locations) to hold face to face meetings with their teams and external stakeholders in a structured manner. This transition to increased face to face contact responds to the changing environment here in WA and acknowledges the requests from our teams and some stakeholders.

    Based on evidence and expert advice, WAPHA still considers virtual meeting solutions to be the safest option.

    Face to face meetings are only to be planned or undertaken where it is not possible or practical to use a virtual solution. Taking this cautious approach now aims to set us up for some of the increased processes and risk management approaches we will all need to adopt as we go forward.

    EVERYONE must follow the request process before booking a room, visiting a WAPHA office (including fixing equipment with Netlink) or accepting an invitation from an external stakeholder.

    These processes are likely to change over time, but they will remain in place until we have received expert advice on the risk profiles and risk management specific to our organisation. Consultation to inform that is being undertaken at the moment by Aurata Safety. Recommendations from their work are expected before the end of July. Practice visits are not included in this stage of our transition to increased face to face contact.

    Requesting approval to host or attend a face to face meeting

    An updated decision framework has been developed to map out the request and approval process:

    COVID-19 Decision Framework for WAPHA Staff Face to Face Contact

    When you have reviewed the framework and considered the need for a face to face meeting, make your request through this smartsheet form

    All members of staff can request approval to hold or attend a meeting face to face. Managers receive requests via email for all meetings to be held in WAPHA offices. General Managers receive requests via email for all meetings that take place away from WAPHA offices.

    Managers and General Managers can approve or decline the requests they receive.

    Guidelines for the use of WAPHA meeting rooms

    The Office and Facilities team have established guidelines for managing and using WAPHA meeting rooms. They are there for the safety of you, your colleagues and our stakeholders. Make sure you and your meeting attendees (including external stakeholders) are aware of the expectations.


    The Corporate Services Administrators will not accept bookings for Rivervale meeting rooms without the approval of the relevant Manager. This approval is emailed directly to the Administration team as part of the automated notifications sent when a Manager approves the request


    Country Offices


  • All Staff Meeting (25 June 2020) recap and Q&A

    WA Primary Health Alliance's (WAPHA) Executive team, supported by the Board, will continue to take a cautious and thorough approach to returning our staff to WAPHA offices. The outbreak in Victoria is a reminder that, whilst we have a low rate of COVID-19 infection in WA, we still need to be diligent and take a cautious approach as we move forward. Our focus is to support staff and stakeholders, communicate regularly and clearly and to take our next steps in a planned and strategic manner.

    Executive received the applications for the priority group to return to the WAPHA offices and will continue to progress this in order to meet the needs of staff whilst keeping them safe. We are also considering the next logical steps to follow the processes for the return of the priority group and how we can enable both face to face meetings and a phased return to our office spaces.

    The recent staff survey focused on what is and isn’t working in a remote working environment and how we are feeling about the future. This will help shape WAPHA’s future working environment. WAPHA will continue to engage staff well and often through a range of mechanisms to prepare for our new and emerging future. Staff are always encouraged to provide feedback and contribute to our future planning endeavours. Staff can email covid19response@wapha.org.au or speak to their GM.

    The movement to mixed models in workplaces throughout WA and Australia seems to be the trend and the last three months have shown us that working remotely has presented some opportunities for further consideration for WAPHA’s future ways of working. Teamwork, productivity and trust have been obvious, and we want to build on that and not reduce it. The Board supports this view.

    The feedback provided in the 2x2 matrix will inform our emerging workplace strategy, procedures and practices. We have already implemented a range of procedures such as DocuSign, Jira and Teams meetings - and we will now realign and tweak appropriately.

    Questions to the CEO
    How do you think primary care needs to be adapted into the future?
    We have seen a rise in digital health and telehealth, so prioritising continuity of care and a review of our support structures to enable primary care practitioners and their patients to use telehealth will be a focus. Data shows primary health care providers are led by their peers so peer leadership in communities of practice is an important space for us to explore. MBS data shows most providers and their patients are using telephone, not video, calls so we will incorporate ongoing support for video calls. What has been evident is that the role primary care plays in a disaster is paramount. We will look at what we can do to further equip primary care to respond optimally in the future.

    Is there some messaging you can provide to our practice support staff to deliver to the practices who are asking us for face to face meetings?
    How we engage with general practice in the future is a key priority and concern of the Board and Executive team. Our past approach of moving from practice to practice to provide information and support will be reconsidered. This will be assisted by the provision of scripting and key messaging to support staff.

    Has WAPHA’s work to support primary care in the pandemic been well-regarded? Do you think it has increased our standing in the primary care space?
    Feedback from General Practice to WAPHA regarding our COVID response has been fantastic. A recent survey of GPs showed that 60% thought PHNs had been supportive during the pandemic. There is a sense that this has firmed up relationships and partnerships with our regional teams, facilitating connections and trust. GP Respiratory Clinics are now responsible for 10% of the national testing and the Commonwealth has acknowledged that this is an outstanding result.

    The opportunity here is in maintaining and building these relationships, leveraging a captive audience. Our emerging Digital Health strategy will be a key enabler in achieving this.

    What are the views from the Commonwealth Department of Health, and are they supporting decisions made by individual PHNs?
    Overwhelmingly, the Commonwealth has advised us that across the board PHNs’ capacity to respond quickly and comprehensively has cemented the place of PHNs in the health system. For example, mask distribution, communications, resources to general practice and stakeholders and support of GP Respiratory Clinics.

    The WA State Government met recently to discuss the planning for the innovations informed by the State’s COVID response that we need to take forward. WA Health is still coming to terms with the magnitude of the Statewide response. There is a sense that there is so much more that primary care stakeholders can contribute in disaster and emergency preparedness and response. Moving forward we need to strengthen our relationships post crisis control and go back to a collaborative approach in planning and strategy development.

    NAIDOC Week has been postponed to November. Do you think we will be able to engage in face to face activities?
    We are hopeful to be in a position to network and meet with various stakeholders. Our next priority in WAPHA’s Plan Ahead group is to enable face to face meetings in a safe and considered approach.

    Your biggest lesson learnt in the last three months?
    That we can adapt rapidly to new ways of working. This notion of moving to a mix of working remotely and from our office spaces has freed up our thinking. We have previously restricted working from home arrangements but can now consider alternative workplace design and constructs. This needs to be balanced with the implementation of appropriate safeguards for team collaboration. Feedback from new starters has been that it can be tricky to bond with colleagues and learn their new role, so feedback like this needs to be part of our forward planning. We want to support staff to have a good work/life balance, for example in reducing commute time, and this has been a great opportunity to improve that.

    Might we start to see traditionally metro based roles open to candidates located around WA and vice versa?
    We should be open minded as we consider our future workplace strategy, but this will depend on the specific requirements of the roles under consideration. The connection between Country and Metro staff has been outstanding in this crisis and I think we all have a new appreciation of how working remotely has brought our teams together in new and innovative ways.

    Has this crisis shown that maybe regional activities could be managed centrally?
    Again, this is one of the many options open to consideration as we strategise our future work design. The pandemic has demonstrated the important role of our place-based teams in supporting private practice and primary care in the regions. The regional teams (and our metro teams) have taken on a critical role in supporting general practices and commissioned services during COVID.

    Strategic Plan and next steps
    The Strategic Plan has been presented to the Board and endorsed, pending a few minor changes. Once finalised we will have a designed version of the Strategic Plan ready for circulation to our staff and key stakeholders. Following that we will develop business and operational plans that will enable implementation of the strategic plan. The Strategic Plan provides clear direction for WAPHA and gives our stakeholders a good perspective of what we will and won’t do and our vision for the future.

    Black Lives Matter
    The Board has agreed that we should provide a position on Black Lives Matter. Board member Rhonda Marriott is consulting with stakeholders to determine what they would want to hear from us from a primary care perspective. We will then share a statement on our website, linking to WAPHA’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

    Face to face contact update
    In response to the changing environment here in WA and in acknowledgement of the requests from our teams and stakeholders, the Executive Team has agreed the next steps to increase levels of face to face contact:

    • From Wednesday 8 July, WAPHA staff will be able to use WAPHA office meeting room facilities (Rivervale and Country locations) to hold face to face meetings with their teams and external stakeholders.
    • Processes to seek approval and to book face to face meetings in WAPHA offices will be in place by Tuesday 7 July and will be communicated to all staff in the planned communications on that date.
    • Staff must continue to follow the face to face meeting approval process with their manager, and consider if the meeting can be held by a virtual alternative.
    • Room bookings cannot be made before Tuesday 7 July and invitations to stakeholders should not be sent until bookings are confirmed.
    • The Plan Ahead, HR and Office and Facilities Teams are working on a number of processes and protocols to ensure the use of meetings rooms meets the requirements of a COVID-safe workplace. These are being carefully considered for the health and safety of both WAPHA staff and our stakeholders.
    • Requests to conduct any face to face meetings at a location away from a WAPHA office must be made through the current face to face meeting request process. These still require approval from a General Manager.
    • In the coming week, all staff will receive further information on the room booking processes and the details of the protocols all staff will be required to follow when meeting face to face with colleagues or stakeholders.
    • The Plan Ahead Team is taking advice from a specialist risk consultant to profile the health and safety risks for our teams. This work will inform the appropriate management considerations needed as we transition to a mixed model for remote and face to face interactions.
    • Practice support will continue to be only provided remotely. These key messages and communications templates can assist in conveying this to our stakeholders.

    The Executive Team will continue to monitor the rates of infection in WA and the changing environment we are in. If changes to these plans are required, these will be communicated quickly and clearly to WAPHA teams and stakeholders.

  • COVID-19 Staff Update - 23 June

    Whilst COVID-19 has impacted our current ways of working, our Executive and Plan Ahead Team have been working towards shaping WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) into the future as a stronger organisation.

    Our approach is to pause, reflect and respond in a purposeful way as we consider what the future might look like for WAPHA and move towards different ways of working. Consultation with our staff is an important part of this process, and we have undertaken a number of engagement activities to explore the strengths, weaknesses and opportunities of working remotely and the new ways we are delivering our required organisational outcomes. We are now analysing and responding to the findings of our staff survey that explored how our people are managing working remotely, considering the results of the 2x2 matrix exercise undertaken by each portfolio to identify areas of our business that we can amplify, re-start, re-shape or cease, and looking at case studies from other organisations that are implementing new and innovative ways of working. All of our work will be supported by processes and protocols that balance what is right for WAPHA and what has been working for our people during the COVID-19 response.

    Later this week, the Waffle will contain detail of the outcome of the work to support priority members of staff to return to working from their WAPHA offices, details of WA’s Phase 4 COVID-19 restrictions that are in place as of Saturday 27 June (and what this means for WAPHA) and how we will phase an approach to allowing identified groups of staff to resume face to face meetings with stakeholders, underpinned by mitigation strategies for any health and safety risks associated with this. Learne will talk about these further at Thursday’s All Staff Update and will give you the opportunity to ask those burning questions that have been on your mind. Questions can also be submitted in advance via Ask the Boss.

    As you can appreciate, there are many complexities to consider in this Plan Ahead work. We are acutely conscious of the risks to community safety as some borders re-open and restrictions are lifted. The World Health Organisation this week reported the largest single daily increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with total cases worldwide standing at 8.7 million. As this Grattan Institute Report says, “It’s dangerous for people to think this fight is over. The nature of the virus hasn’t changed – our behaviour has.” Both are timely reminders of the importance and effectiveness of social distancing, personal hygiene and having the COVIDSafe app, neatly captured by the tagline “Stay COVID free – do the 3”.

    The Executive Team will therefore continue our cautious approach in considering the future stages and scenarios for our organisation. We will keep our staff informed and engaged throughout this process and encourage you to remain involved through the various mechanisms via which we are seeking your feedback.

  • All Staff Online Briefing Summary - 22 May

    All Staff Online Briefing Summary

    Thank you to all who dialled in to the All Staff Online Briefing on Friday 22 May. Over 150 staff came together online, a range of relevant and pertinent questions were asked and it was lovely to see different faces popping up on the screen from all across the state.

    The meeting was a great opportunity to touch on some key points and provide clarity on WA Primary Health Alliance's position at this time. As we know, the landscape is changing and evolving often so we will repeat the all staff meeting in a few weeks’ time. You can submit questions at any time using Ask the Boss here or in Waffle.

    Here is a summary of the key points covered in the meeting.

    • In WA there is a softening of restrictions earlier than other areas in Australia. The Australian Government’s direction takes a much more cautious and staged approach and encourages continuance of work from home arrangements where these work for the employer and employee.
    • The Board and Executive continue to keep safety for our staff and stakeholders in the forefront of their decisions.
    • We will not be rushing to reopen our office spaces. This is to allow proper time to complete a COVID Safety Plan and obtain a COVID Safety Plan Certificate for display in all our premises.
    • A Plan Ahead team has been established, led by Chris Kane, to inform, shape and drive the strategy and tools required to enable WA Primary Health Alliance (WAPHA) to sustain core operations, contain potential impacts and threats, and maximise the opportunities open to us in the current and evolving environment. The plan ahead team will be guided by the following principles:
    1. Does this protect the safety of our team and stakeholders?
    2. Does this prioritise the wellbeing of our team and stakeholders?
    3. Does this maximise the opportunity to see and do things differently?
    4. Does this set us and our stakeholders up for success in the emerging future?
    5. Does this demonstrate our leadership?
    6. Does this manage the risks and potential consequences of our actions?
    7. Does this inform and engage the right people in the right way at the right time?
    8. Does this enhance our ability to deliver on our commitments in a timely way?

    • We must continue to support our staff. The Staff Productivity, Wellbeing and Engagement COVID-19 workstream will continue to lead initiatives and encourage the use of our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and other remote support channels.
    • Recognition to everyone for adapting well and going above and beyond to make this work across the organisation.
    • We recognise that working remotely is not easy for everyone and priority is being given to how, who and when we can transition some staff back to their office. We owe it to everyone to help maintain the flattened curve, keeping the rate of infection low so our health system, hospitals and primary health workers can continue to care for those affected. Weighing all the evidence means that, for now, we are continuing to restrict face to face interactions with colleagues and/or stakeholders, except under exceptional circumstances. If you have concerns, then you are encouraged to speak with your manager and contact Benestar EAP for guidance

      Frequently Asked Questions

      How long will this continue?
      We do know that COVID-19 runs in a two-week infection cycle which we foresee will provide us with markers around how the easing of restrictions will impact on active case numbers. As there remains a lot we do not know, the length of time will be for the intended future until we are able to guarantee a safe work environment for our staff. We do not know how long we will need to practice physical distancing and have 4sqm for each person. At present this means, for example, that we cannot fit everyone into the Rivervale office. Space and cleanliness considerations for all offices require us to explore alternative strategies to ensure we are able provide a safe workplace.

      Do the same rules for the Rivervale office apply for the regional offices?
      Country offices have the same obligation as Rivervale and need to adhere to the 4sqm rule. Kevin Franse is working on floor plans for each regional office base to safely implement strategies for WAPHA to meet Safe Work requirements. Should the 4sqm guidelines change we will review and adjust our work plan accordingly for all locations.

      Does flu season have an impact?
      As we are transitioning into our colder months, we are also approaching the flu season. Influenza and COVID-19 share similar symptoms (cough, sneeze, fevers, etc) which does pose an additional challenge in our ability to manage everyone’s safety in the workplace.

      When can Practice support staff go back to practices?
      Primary Health Liaison (PHL) staff have expressed a concern in the difficulty they are experiencing in not being able to undertake physical practice visits. Whilst there are many elements that can be done remotely, we do acknowledge there is some difficulty still being experienced. We are exploring technology options to assist in addressing these challenges (i.e. difficulty in not being able to see what practices are doing which has limited the PHLs ability to provide guidance and direction). Overall, we have received feedback from general practice which indicate they are currently feeling supported.

      What will the future of working at WAPHA look like? Will some staff continue to work from home permanently and will WAPHA consider offering a split for staff?
      We are aware some roles are better suited to working from home, but we will be taking a careful, considered approach. This is something the Plan Ahead group will be focusing on over the upcoming weeks. Yes, WAPHA is considering a part time split but first there needs to be a piece of work around what works for the role of the function and what works for the person in the function. The Emergency Response Team with the Plan Ahead group will be identifying critical functions to inform these decisions.

      When will staff be able to collaborate face to face with each other and external stakeholders?
      We appreciate people are expressing wanting to go back to business as usual however, the health and safety of our staff and stakeholders is first and foremost. In the case a staff member wants to seek an exception there will be a decision-making flowchart to follow

    Whilst WA is in a good position the AMA says we cannot be complacent. What does this mean for our families and WAPHA staff who want to meet socially?

    Exactly right, we cannot become complacent. All we can do is continue to encourage people to apply every caution and reiterate the message not to be complacent. We need more time for evidence and patterns to emerge to be able to make informed decisions, but for the moment we are all still able to work remotely and are fortunate to be able to continue to do so.

    Will we continue to support charitable causes while working remotely such as the Biggest Morning Tea?

    This is something we need to continue doing because it is part of who we are. The Staff Productivity, Wellbeing and Engagement team are currently planning a virtual morning tea for this exact event so stay tuned!