Yesterday was the second anniversary of the Whakaari (White Island) tragedy. Our thoughts and prayers continue with the survivors and we remember those who have passed. The National Burns Centre hosted at Middlemore was at the centre of the response along with regional burns units in Waikato, Hutt Valley and Canterbury District Health Boards. The teams worked tirelessly to help save lives and preserve the quality of life for the victims. The collaboration across the teams was extraordinary and the enormity of the effort and sacrifice by our people, and their whaanau, and my admiration for all involved will remain with me forever.
As cases of COVID-19 in the community continue to decline we have seen a decrease in hospitalisation of cases in the last week. We are cautiously optimistic the current trends will continue however the reality is we do not know the full impact of increased social freedoms as we embed the new protection framework across the nation.
The continued drive for first and second COVID-19 vaccinations, plus the availability of the booster shots, will continue to protect our community and staff. Any impact of the Omicron variant is not known, and we are liaising with the Ministry of Health and our overseas colleagues to monitor any emerging impacts.
Planning to manage services over the holiday season is completed with surgical electives confirmed as closing from 24 December 2021 to Monday 10 January 2022. Our summer planning and staff modelling is flexible so we can respond as we need to. We do not close Wards however we do monitor occupancy so our staff can be given leave when patient admissions are low.
Our people have done an incredible job this year, as they do every year, and the pressures on the health workforce during a pandemic cannot be underestimated. We have our plans in place to support our people to have a break and enjoy some fun times with friends and whaanau as we approach the festive holiday period.
Having fun and enjoying being away from work is important and I do hope all our amazing, talented and caring team at Counties Manukau enjoy their time away from work doing things that brings them happiness.
In the coming weeks we will be saying farewell to some clinical students, junior Doctors, and a few permanent staff who are leaving to commence new opportunities in 2022. I offer a heartfelt thanks and wish all those leaving us every success in the future.
Manaaki to hauora. Keep safe and well
Dr Pete Watson, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Medical Officer
Counties Manukau Health