ASMS

We are the union for salaried doctors and dentists.

We promote, protect and support the interests of our members in all aspects of their working lives. We are working for an equitable, accessible public health care system that meets the needs of all New Zealanders.

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A tribute to Canterbury health workers on tenth quake anniversary

22 February 2021 ASMS Media Release

The Association of Salaried Medical Specialists Toi Mata Hauora wants to pay tribute to the hundreds of health workers who worked tirelessly to provide immediate and long-term care to the victims of the Christchurch earthquake, as the region marks the tenth anniversary.

ASMS President and Christchurch gastroenterologist Professor Murray Barclay says the health response on the day, not to mention the weeks and months which followed, was nothing short of incredible.

“Our doctors and nurses, and other hospital staff didn’t hesitate in rushing towards the disaster. Many made their way through the chaos to the hospital and ambulance bays to help in any way they could, not to mention those who assisted the injured on the streets and in their own communities.

“We saw paediatricians suddenly doing adult amputations and doctors working completely beyond their normal practice, witnessing injuries and levels of trauma they had never seen before.

“So many put the health of their patients before finding out what had happened to their families and homes.

“That expert care and dedication was evident not only in the short-term, but also in the long-term with some patients facing months and years of recovery,” Professor Barclay says.

The earthquake has also brought years of disruption in terms of working conditions at Christchurch Hospital.

Professor Barclay says staff need to be congratulated for their spirit and their “get on with it” attitude.

“It’s been a tough working environment over the years with some departments having to shift four or five times, treating patients while navigating major building repairs.”

“I think Christchurch’s medical staff will reflect today with sadness for the people lost and the level of suffering witnessed, but they should also take time to recognise themselves for their efforts”.