Lakes DHB thanks MIF staff for hard work and sacrifice


Lakes DHB acknowledges and thanks its staff for their hard work and sacrifices working at the managed isolation facilities (MIFs)

Lakes DHB acknowledges and thanks its staff for their hard work and sacrifices working at the managed isolation facilities (MIFs) these last two years.

Chief Executive Nick Saville-Wood says the DHB and its communities are very thankful to DHB staff that have provided excellent care and managed health services in the three local managed isolation facilities.

He also acknowledges the work of iwi, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, New Zealand Police, the New Zealand Defence Force, hotel staff, local security companies and community groups for their support.

With the Government’s announcement this week that managed isolation is now not necessary in the same way, these facilities will be scaled back significantly in the next few months.

About 60 staff members have worked over the two years in the local MIFs which includes; administrators, health care assistants, nurses, welfare navigators and managers. About 17,000 returnees have been through the Rotorua facilities since July 2020.

Nick Saville-Wood thanked them for their significant work in helping protect our country and our communities.

“Our MIF staff have been real heroes. They faced, and conquered, the multiple challenges of a new venture in the political eye, selflessly experienced personal health risks with the early highly virulent strains of COVID, and were exemplary performers across the national MIF system.”

MIF staff took the biggest personal risks of us all, working daily with people with COVID and acting as the barrier between returning Kiwis keeping the country safe and the health system functioning, Nick Saville-Wood says.

Most of the MIF staff members have now joined the staff in Rotorua and Taupō Hospital with further work continuing to redeploy those who wish to come back into the health system.

Surgical Service Manager Greg Vandergoot took on the Service Manager for Lakes DHB Isolation Facilities role and recalls being called to work on a Saturday by Nick Saville-Wood and the Ibis hotel was opened that night.

“The team pulled together and were focused from the start on pulling together a plan that was collaborative as the only other group involved at the time was NZ Defence who had also been thrown in at very short notice.

"There was no book on how or what to do so we just had to pull it together from our collective knowledge.”

Greg Vandergoot says there were many challenges along the way as health teams had to work with groups of staff that were not familiar to health.

“But we were all focused on ensuring we protected the border and thus New Zealand. There were daily changes to documents and processes but everyone adjusted to the flow and worked together.”

He says the three facilities in Rotorua were supported by Te Arawa in particular its representatives Ngāti Whakaue kaumatua Monty Morrison and Te Roopu Hauora o Te Arawa Chair Aroha Morgan who attended multiple meetings.

“From a personal note I am very proud of the work that everyone contributed to make our facilities successful.

"I believe everyone involved should be extremely proud of what has been achieved and the service they have provided to our community and New Zealand as a whole. “