National

Stressful jobs under scrutiny following resignation of Director-General

Stressful jobs are under scrutiny following the resignation of the country's top public health official.

Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, who has become the face of New Zealand's pandemic response, will leave in July.

Clinical psychologist, Dougal Sutherland, says people in demanding roles are more likely to burn out.

"We know that some people have really high-powered, stressful jobs. Ashley Bloomfield is clearly one of those," Sutherland told Today FM reporter Monique Steele on Thursday morning.

He says "for somebody to work, and be 'on' 24/7, it's not feasible, it's not sustainable."

The exiting Director-General of Health has received praise for his work during uncertain times posed by COVID-19.

Political commentator Josie Pagani says his work ethic over the past two years is admirable.

"No director of health has ever had to face what he's had to face in terms of a pandemic, the daily press conference, he must be just absolutely burnt out."

Pagani says a few reasons could be behind the exodus.

"I think the problem is that this is the wrong time to be re-structuring the health system in a pandemic. Probably the pressure and the stress on that senior team is just too high."

She says the government should look at the toll the pandemic has had. 

"I don't think the ministry has been flawless though in its performance during COVID. I think that needs to be addressed in something like a Royal Commission, so that's about learning the lessons that we can."

Speaking on Lloyd Burr Live Wednesday afternoon, Coleman said Bloomfield has had a "fantastic career and performed fantastic public survive" for his country,

"This pandemic is a once-in-a-lifetime event and it's really made his career - it's been the ultimate test and he was the right guy with the right skill set and I think he's done an excellent job," Coleman told Lloyd Burr.

Lloyd Burr himself offered up praise to the outgoing Director-General, saying "Credit where credit is due - he's done a pretty exemplary job since he took the role in June 2018."

Only hours after the announcement of Bloomfield's resignation director of public health, Dr Caroline McElnay, and public health deputy director, Dr Niki Stefanogiannis are leaving this week.