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Over the last 18 months, Great Ocean Road Health has experienced a great deal of immense change, from working tirelessly to transform primary care during a pandemic but also to improve health services to our growing catchment area.

As a newly amalgamated organisation, we have achieved great results and staff have been instrumental in supporting one another through a challenging and every changing landscape.

Our newly formed board members and CEO, Sandy Chamberlin have also ignited a welcome change both internally and externally, providing a platform for future growth and sustainability. We have streamlined many aspects of our health service, from website, telehealth, software to infrastructure.

However, the most significant health care challenge of all, is managing the COVID pandemic. Our initial response was to protect our staff, patients, aged care residents and community from the virus (stay home, stay safe and stay connected). As the pandemic evolved, implementing the COVID-19 Department of Health policies and procedures has become part of our landscape (get vaccinated, get tested, stay safe).

As we head into the COVID-peak period, especially during our summer months, we ask our community to please get tested if you, your family or your visitors develop any symptoms, no matter how mild. Testing is the key to understanding how much COVID is in our community and managing any spread. The community has been incredible at responding to our call to get vaccinated, with the surf coast now over 95% double vaccinated.

Whilst we welcome visitors back to our region, now more than ever we need to practise our COVID safe policies and procedures. To assist our catchment area with their COVID-19 preparations, we have put together a business COVID response package that will be distributed over the coming weeks. This package will contain promotional material for display and step by step instructions on managing exposure sites.

We would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for your commitment to keeping our community COVID safe over the last 18 months. With the implementation of QR codes, social distancing and hand hygiene measures in place, our exposure sites have been well managed and contained.

Moving forward, in 2022 Great Ocean Road Health will focus on the pandemic recovery. This will include protecting and improving the health of our community and staff by promoting health behaviours to prevent environmental and lifestyle disease. Due to COVID restrictions, many people have neglected their health status, such as yearly health checks or specialist appointments.

As we all learn to live with the virus, we must continue to remain vigilant so we can be well placed to face the challenges of future pandemics and weather the long term effects of the COVID storm.

If you would like to hear more about our 2021 achievements join Board Chair, Joy Humphreys and CEO, Sandy Chamberlin to hear about our exciting plans for the future, plus special guest Nurse Unit Manager, Jason Phieler about working internationally on the COVID frontline.

When:  Monday 13 December

Time:     2pm – 3pm

Registration link:  http://greatoceanroadhealth.hippomedia.net.au/