Monday, April 22, 2024

Delta review finds room for improvement on response coordination

An independent Delta Response Rapid Review, released today by the Ministry of Health, has identified several areas for improvement.

The review drew on feedback from across the health sector to provide an overview of the Incident Management response by the Ministry of Health to the Delta outbreak, in the period August to December 2021.

The three main areas identified for improvement were:

  • an equity first approach for Māori, Pacific peoples and the disabled community;
  • being more coordinated in our response;
  • and maintaining the COVID workforce into the future.

“While in the first month the outbreak was largely contained, it began to spread in hard-to-reach populations, and by mid-September community cases had reached over 1,000,” the review states.

“Systems and services to support contact tracing and case investigation were scaled at pace and new public health measures were implemented to suppress transmission. Cases continued to rise into October and Public Health Units (PHUs) were straining to meet the needs of people who became infected with Delta, and Managed Isolation and Quarantine availability (where community cases had almost exclusively been managed) was nearing capacity.

“It quickly became apparent that we needed a new model for managing Delta.”

The review was undertaken by Dovetail Consulting Limited who assembled a team of senior researchers and evaluators with backgrounds in health policy and planning, Kaupapa Māori and social research.

To inform the review, the researchers conducted a series of interviews with senior staff within the Ministry who were directly involved in the Delta response, as well as senior stakeholders from across the health sector including DHBs, PHUs, and the NRHCC.

The review also includes Ministry of Health data on COVID responses and international data on COVID trends up to December 2021.

In a statement, the Ministry thanked the interviewees and authors for the recommendations and said it was pleased to outline what had been done in many areas to address the recommendations and learn from the Delta outbreak to help strengthen and improve future responses.

Read the review here.

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