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Thank you from Gary Smith, QIP Chair

Now that the dust is well and truly settled on the year that was 2020, and although the COVID-19 story has not fully run its course, I want to take the opportunity to acknowledge the tremendous efforts of the QIP Family throughout the past twelve months.

Along with the QIP workforce of permanent staff and contracted assessors and auditors, the QIP Family includes around 8,000 health, community and human services organisations.

You – our clients – are located in metropolitan, regional and remote areas in all states and territories of Australia. You are major inner-city hospitals, the most remote of community outreach centres, and everything in between.

While the location, size and service type vary greatly among us, we meet within the common ground of protecting and enhancing the lives of the most vulnerable people in our communities, or people when they are at their most vulnerable.

As with the case of ‘in rain, hail or shine’, the important work you do in caring for, serving and building capacity in others, cannot be suspended when pandemic strikes.

In fact, COVID-19 intensified your workload.

It certainly brought into sharp focus the importance of the health and human services sector. A light has been shone on the extraordinary value your work brings to individuals, families and social groups, and – most remarkably – to the overall health and wellbeing of broader social and economic structures across the country.

For those of you on the frontline in hospitals and other health and allied care, and in essential community services – thank you.

Thank you for continuing to each day show up to support and care for your clients and patients while complying with ongoing and, at times, demanding infection control, contact tracing, and other measures to priortise safety and the greater good of the community. Thank you for navigating through the uncertainty and seemingly infinite challenges with creativity and good humour.

For those of you who packed up, farewelled your colleagues, and set your office plants to face a window – thank you.

Thank you for so generously opening your home to set a place for your work life – more often than not, right at the centre of the home, the kitchen table – to ensure the ‘show was able to go on’. A very special message of appreciation to parents and carers of school-aged children for also deftly and patiently managing the demands of home-schooling.

From the trials, tribulations and ensuing adaptations of 2020, many wonderful new processes and ways of working emerged. For many, this means radical and positive changes to the way work is done. For all of us, these new approaches have revealed otherwise unknown personal strengths, preferences as well as opportunities for growth. For individuals and organisations alike, these are valuable insights and powerful lessons to carry us into the future.

As we await the rollout of a vaccine, humanity will continue to be at risk of COVID-19 and its mutant variants. Due to the work that we do, the QIP Family will continue to be at the forefront of helping to manage the impacts of the situation in Australia and, for our colleagues working overseas, throughout the globe.

I also acknowledge that the ongoing exposure to COVID-19 information (and mis-information), hot spots, lockdowns, border closures and restrictions, as well as at times disturbing news from across the globe, continue to affect different people in many different and sometimes inequitable ways. I challenge the notion that ‘we are all in it together’.

It is with all of the above and more in mind that I join with the QIP Board of Directors to express gratitude to each and every QIP client. I have been amazed by your dedication, adaptability and resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gary Smith

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