Managing the healthcare challenge of COVID-19
Group Manager, WHS,
Mercy Health Australia
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When the Covid-19 crisis arrived, organisations everywhere were hit with a massive task without warning and precedent. The healthcare industry faced significant challenges in managing and implementing new and complex requirements.
Alison Hunt-Sturman, Group Manager, WHS, at Mercy Health Australia, presented a compelling account of what happened across the healthcare industry as well as within her organisation. Mercy Health manages four public hospitals, 30 aged care homes, in-patient and outpatient mental health services, and home care services around Australia.
“We are serving some of the most vulnerable members of the community. We couldn’t just shut down,” said Alison. In addition to the many thousands of clients in its care, Mercy Health has a workforce of 9,000 people.
There was a great deal for Alison's team and other sections to care about, learn, plan, organise and manage carefully to ensure everything was kept functioning safely, all the while dealing with the impact of the unknowns. Alison discussed the issues they faced, how it affected their operations and people, and how they responded.
Alison Hunt-Sturman is a safety professional with more than 25 years' experience in leadership and strategic oversight of health, safety and workers compensation. She started her career at the University of Melbourne where, after working for almost 10 years in a research capacity, she moved into the role of Environment Health and Safety Manager for the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences, which she held for 9 years.
Alison was Manager of Safety & Wellbeing at the Department of Justice from 2011-2017, before joining Mercy Health Australia in 2018.
Alison has a Masters Degree in Occupational Health and Safety, and an undergraduate Diploma in Medical Laboratory Science.