Postcard from the edge #9

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Margaret Fielding is a GP at Queenstreet Practice in Wairoa and Clinical lead at Wairoa Hospital.

Seven weeks down the track and we are on our way out of Level 3 into Level 2.

A sigh of relief as we are itching to go fishing, hunting, cruise around Bunnings and Farmlands, have a meal in a restaurant and visit the pub in Mahia.

Living under Covid restrictions has not been easy but as we look back over time we marvel at the positive changes both in Wairoa Hospital and Queen Street Practice (QSP), who are housed together in one large building with the Laboratory, ward, midwives, outpatients, public health, mental health, District Nurses, the kitchen, all sprawled around like spokes of a wheel, also under the same roof.

Covid has been a great leveler in the community as we all queue together respectfully, keeping our social distance and chatting away with Mongrel Mob, Black Power and others while waiting to be allowed into New World to buy our groceries. The strangest masks and gloves hide people’s faces and hands.

The Mahia Dairy puts out free bread and milk on a Thursday and announces it is time to “come and fetch” on our social page. Young people run around doing Meals on Wheels as the elderly are at risk of performing this function.

People have been kind to each other in a myriad different ways.

We have all increased our awareness of Infection Control which will stand us in good stead coping with mundane things like the Flu and MRSA. Donning gloves, masks and funny looking gowns is now second nature and sadly we no longer hug and kiss our patients.

QSP and the Hospital have worked closely together, lending or giving each other PPE, depending on who is running out, ordering PPE from a common site. The CBAC has been manned by a team of hospital, practice nurses, and community dental nurses. There has been a blurring of Private and DHB boundaries and the Clinical Nurse Manager even has her own named coffee mug in the practice drawer as she meets frequently with QSP staff.

QSP and hospital nurses practice weekly emergency “sims” together along with all the doctors.

A trainee intern, who was here before Covid in the practice, and had her overseas elective cancelled, is coming back for 2 months to do her stint in Wairoa Hospital. Maybe a budding rural GP?

So – for us,


“Covid Time has rocked”.

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