With the increasing spread of COVID-19 in New Zealand, it's likely that the medical profession will soon be fighting to stay on top of cases whilst also keeping at-risk frontline medical staff safe. Newly established non-profit group, Home Guard NZ, is helping to make sure New Zealand has 'all hands on deck' and that they're put to use where they are most needed.
Home Guard NZ seeks to collect, assist, and match health care staff to areas of need as the situation evolves, and is tapping into currently latent medical capacity to do so. Home Guard NZ matches medical and allied health professions willing to offer up help with the organisations in need of them, while systematically tackling barriers to deployment, such as childcare needs.
Stay-at-home mum Dr Andrea Penman, initiated Home Guard NZ by putting the idea out there with the online forum, Women in Medicine, when she started seeing the impact of COVID-19 across the world.
The group launched just two weeks ago and has since signed up specialists in Public Health, Occupational Health, Emergency Medicine, Anaesthetics, Health Informatics, and General Practice, as well as allied health professionals such as nurses, radiographers, pharmacists and physiotherapists. As of Thursday afternoon, 1,293 people had signed up to the programme, including 373 medical students.
Those who have signed up to Home Guard NZ include medical staff who are currently on parental leave or working part time, and medically trained people who are not currently working in the profession, such as retirees.
Home Guard NZ is in discussion with The Ministry of Health, Public Health, Primary Healthcare Organisations, and the Aged care sector to identify ways to deploy resources as quickly and efficiently as possible.
The group is calling on further support as it enters its deployment phase. For more information, to donate or to offer up your services, please see the Home Guard NZ website here.
Russell McVeagh is proud to be providing pro bono legal advice to Home Guard NZ.