Published Thursday 26 Nov 2020

At this year’s Hutt Valley DHB Ngā Tohu Angitu | Celebrating Success Awards, Regional Public Health (RPH) received two awards, for their pandemic response to COVID-19. RPH were awarded with the 'Toa Ranga i te Tira | Champion of Collaboration and Integration award' and the 'Hutt Valley DHB Chief Executive’s award.'

As the Public Health Unit for Capital & Coast, Hutt Valley and Wairarapa DHBs, the team at RPH were “delighted and humbled” to be recognised for their achievements on the back of a demanding 2020. "Absolutely everyone within RPH stepped up during the initial COVID-19 response. To then keep this momentum and energy going throughout the year as we continued our preparations to improve and refine our processes in anticipation of further cases, has been a phenomenal effort from our team. I am so proud to lead this gifted and passionate group of people,” said Peter Gush, RPH General Manager.

Through a stream of media reports and daily media stand-ups, as a nation our collective knowledge of COVID-19 has grown immensely. It is hard to believe that the acronym ‘COVID-19’ didn’t even exist in January. Prior to New Zealand going into lockdown, similarly, there was a somewhat unknown element to what RPH staff might be confronting on any given day.

“We had staff meeting international flights at 1am, to health screen passengers and facing that unknown possibility that passengers from that flight may have COVID-19. It’s actually pretty inspiring when I think about the attitude and commitment our team displayed at that time – to prioritise the health of our communities above all else,” said Peter.

“The Awards are a credit to the whole RPH whānau and what we were able to achieve for our communities. I think it also allows us to reflect on how far we’ve come. We’re certainly enhanced our collaborative abilities as a workforce and strengthened our relationships with our communities and agency partners,” said Peter.

While most awards typically recognise past achievements, the team at RPH were heartened by the acknowledgements they received at the ceremony, that for them the work continues. While 2020 has been a year many may struggle to reflect on with much positivity, RPH can certainly take heart that the events of this year have bolstered their ability to respond to future events like COVID-19, and help protect the health of our communities in general.