The strength of our workforce has been a hallmark of the public health response to COVID-19.

A dedicated Workforce Operations team was set up within the State Health Emergency Operations Centre (SHEOC) in August 2020, to further support workforce needs.

Using the emergency management approach – alert, standby, response and stand down – the team puts workforce strategies into action.

Collaborating with local health districts and specialty health networks, ensures staff can be rapidly deployed as required.

Workforce Coordination Manager Tessa Hermens, said, the collaborative approach within the SHEOC means they are ready to respond to the ever-changing demands of the pandemic.

'It is inspiring to be part of such a dedicated team of professionals, all working tirelessly to ensure we are prepared for any COVID-19 related challenge,' Ms Hermens said.

'I enjoy learning from others in SHEOC and using my own experience from within the Ministry and Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) to support the translation of strategy into operations.'

SHEOC Workforce Operations Director Cassandra Walton, praised the versatility of all members in SHEOC.

'It is a privilege to lead a team of health, policy and workforce professionals as we navigate the response to COVID-19,' Cassandra said. 

'My substantive role as the Director of Rostering Best Practice within System Performance Support, has provided me with a wide network of stakeholders across the state who will assist in SHEOC's operational workforce response.'

This small team of five people, aligns local and state-wide workforce surge planning, collaborating with the Ministry of Health to move key strategies from the planning/preparation phase, to the operational pandemic response phase.

The team is available to provide advice and guidance on workforce surge requirements and can be contacted via email at

Current as at: Thursday 10 December 2020
Contact page owner: Health Protection NSW