Sussex nurse flies to New Zealand to help victims of volcano eruption

A deputy matron at Queen Victoria Hospital has flown out to New Zealand to help treat patients following the volcanic eruption on White Island.

Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:24 pm
Updated Thursday, 27th February 2020, 12:25 pm
Lucy Hall

Lucy Hall, who works in the hospital’s burns unit, will be away for a month and was one of only four UK nurses chosen to go.

Back in December the volcano erupted, killing 18 people. It also left a number of people with burns to 90-95 per cent of their body and an estimated 27 people with burns to more than 30 per cent of their body.

Nurses in New Zealand have been working around the clock to continue to treat the most severely injured and now the country’s government has requested international support from burns nurses to fly over and assist.

Lucy has worked as a specialist burns nurse at the hospital in East Grinstead since June 2016. She discovered she was chosen to go to Auckland to help the nursing team at the National Burns Centre at Middlemore Hospital, after QVH received a call.

She said: “I’m a nurse first and foremost and want to be there to help and make a difference. When the request came through for burns nurses to travel out I was intrigued to know how they were working with their patients – as a small island there are definitely similarities to the UK.

“The nurses have been working flat out with their patients so much of my role will be to support them and hopefully help relieve some of the pressure.

"Although the cause of their burns from volcanic ash is different from what we treat at the Queen Victoria Hospital, I know from the experience I have gained here that I have the skills and confidence to help make a difference. I think there is a lot that I can learn and bring back to my team to benefit our patients and practice.”

Jo Thomas, director of nursing and quality at Queen Victoria Hospital, said: “We’re delighted that Lucy has been chosen as one of only four nurses from the UK to support our colleagues in New Zealand.

"As a specialist burns unit our expertise is often called upon to help respond to emergencies in the UK so this will be a fantastic opportunity for Lucy to use her skills to really make a difference. Whilst she is away, our tight-knit burns team will continue to ensure that our patients receive the highest level of care.”

Travel costs, accommodation, meals and travel insurance will be paid for by the Counties Manakau District Health Board.