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Director-General among those thanking COVID response health workers

Aotearoa Patient Safety Day
17 November 2020

Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is among those thanking health care workers for their compassion and commitment during the recent crises in the health and disability sector, including the COVID-19 lockdown and ongoing response.

To mark Aotearoa Patient Safety Day, the Health Quality & Safety Commission has released a video of consumers and health care providers acknowledging the extraordinary efforts of health workers. A second video focuses on the need for health care workers and their employers to look after their physical and mental wellbeing during times of crisis and stress.

‘To my colleagues, I want to thank you enormously for the work you do every day to keep our people safe,’ Dr Bloomfield says. ‘As you take care of others in our health and disability system, it’s very important that you also take care of yourselves and of each other. Remember, you can’t be kind to others unless you are being kind to yourself.’

The theme of Aotearoa Patient Safety Day is Getting through together – Whāia e tātou te pae tawhiti. The theme comes from Getting Through Together – Whāia E Tātou Te Pae Tawhiti, a national mental health and wellbeing campaign by All Right? – Community and Public Health (a division of the Canterbury District Health Board) and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. Saying thank you to health workers and encouraging them to take care of themselves, are key focuses.

Dr Janice Wilson, chief executive of the Commission, says recent events have been enormously stressful for health care workers.

‘The Whakaari / White Island eruption, Christchurch mosque shootings and COVID-19 lockdown and response have highlighted how essential it is that employers create environments where health care workers are able to talk about their experiences, and get support for their mental health and wellbeing,’ she says.

‘This involves making sure staff are aware of resources or initiatives available to them and that teams have open and supportive discussions with one another.’

Patient Safety Day is a World Health Organization initiative, held in New Zealand this year on 17 November. The day is coordinated by the Commission, with support from ACC and PHARMAC. It is marked by health and disability providers throughout the country.

The videos are available to watch below.

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