Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has resigned from his role at the Ministry of Health and will leave at the end of July. He's stepping down from the role for a much needed break and to spend more time with his family, as the face of the Covid-19 pandemic response — has appealed to younger audiences and the general population.
“The Public Service Commissioner has announced today my intention to finish up as Director-General at the end of July after four years in the role,” a statement shared to thisquality from Dr Bloomfield said.
“The [Director-General] role is complex and challenging at any time and, with a one in 100 years pandemic, the last two years have been particularly challenging and intense.”
Image: Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield in front of Unite Against COVID-19 banner at Ministry of Health press conference - Sam Hudson, thisquality
“I’ve done everything I set out to do when I came into the role. I would not have been able to do this without the support of many highly committed and talented people in the Ministry and across the wider health system. The wider public service has done an outstanding job in helping lead the country through the [pandemic] and it’s been a pleasure working with other public service leaders to help deliver the response,” Dr Bloomfield said.
“With the changing nature of the pandemic and New Zealand’s response, as well as the changes underway in the health sector, it’s a good time for me to step back and allow a new Director-General to shape and lead the organisation in future.”
“I’m confident the health sector and the Covid-19 response are in good hands, that [New Zealand] will continue to deliver a world-class response to the pandemic, and those leading the health system will plan and deliver the full range of care that New Zealanders need following the Omicron outbreak.”
“I’m looking forward to taking an extended break and spending time with family before deciding on what I will do next.”
He will ensure the Ministry of Health can play a future role in the new system and continue to respond to the pandemic, challenges of flu and other illnesses through the winter.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern posted on Facebook detailing how well she got to know Dr Bloomfield as “a true public servant”, unlike any other.
“There’s not many public servants I have got to know as well as [Dr Bloomfield]. In every sense of the word – through his tireless dedication, his focus on people, his calm and considered approach – he has been a true public servant,” she said.
“He has been central to our Covid success as a nation, and he’s done it with humour and grace (I’ll keep the details of his sporadic mockery of me to myself!) When we spoke about his decision to move on, he mentioned that he wanted to spend time with his family, and that’s the least we owe him.”
Sided next to Dr Bloomfield on many occasions at the podium. Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins applauded the work he's done throughout the pandemic response.
“[Dr Bloomfield] has been a calm, informative, and reassuring figure throughout our response to Covid-19. Today he has announced he’s stepping down mid-year to take a break and spend more time with his family,” he said.
“The amount of pressure he’s absorbed, and the level of commitment he’s shown over the past two years make that an easy decision to understand.”
Hipkins thanked Dr Bloomfield for “all you've done” in keeping the country safe — “Give the man a beer, he’s truly earned it!” he added.
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