Fighting the spread together

This article has photo gallery Published on LSIS Craig Walton (author), PTE Dustin Anderson (photographer)

Location(s): Cranbourne, Vic

Royal Australian Navy sailor Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Kirstie-Lee Hill confirms pathology information from a member of the public, at the Casey Fields COVID-19 community drive through screening clinic in Cranbourne, Victoria. (photo: PTE Dustin Anderson)
Royal Australian Navy sailor Seaman Maritime Logistics - Support Operations Kirstie-Lee Hill confirms pathology information from a member of the public, at the Casey Fields COVID-19 community drive through screening clinic in Cranbourne, Victoria.

Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to Victoria in support of the Victorian Government’s push to stop the spread of COVID-19 are working collaboratively with many other health agencies.

RAN nursing officer Lieutenant Commander Roneel Chandra led a triservice team that supported the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to conduct COVID-19 testing.

Lieutenant Commander Chandra highlighted the great work of his metro east team that supported seven testing sites, directly and indirectly.

Royal Australian Navy Nursing Officer Sub Lieutenant Monnique Innes writes down the pathology details of a member of the public, at the Casey Fields COVID-19 community drive through screening clinic, in Cranbourne, Victoria.

Royal Australian Navy Nursing Officer Sub Lieutenant Monnique Innes writes down the pathology details of a member of the public, at the Casey Fields COVID-19 community drive through screening clinic, in Cranbourne, Victoria.

“My team supported Monash Health and Department of Health and Human Services to achieve significant testing milestones,” Lieutenant Commander Chandra said.

“We are two different organisations who were learning and adapting to the dynamic clinical environment.”

Before conducting tests, Australian Defence Force members underwent three days of training with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) at Simpsons Barracks to ensure the mission of conducting accurate testing continues to be upheld.

Teamwork and communication between the ADF and Monash Health was fundamental to facilitating safe and accurate training.

“The training consisted of COVID-19 testing and infection-control measures, supervised shift COVID-19 testing and; independent COVID-19 testing with Metro East’s AHPRA clinician staff,” Lieutenant Commander Chandra said.

“Our team have learnt to adapt to the dynamic clinical environment that can be experienced in COVID-19 drive-thru testing tents.”

Claire Pierce, General Manager of Specialist Clinics, Health Information and Language Services, said the ADF joining Monash Health at the screening centres was paramount in ensuring there was maximum staffing capacity to serve the local communities.

“Having the ability to staff up at any given testing site to enable 1000 tests per site each day was a huge help in fighting COVID-19,” Mrs Pierce said.

“Working with the ADF has been an absolute pleasure, and the integrations have been a positive and rewarding experience for us all.”