Festive spirit . . . Central Otago Health Services finance assistant Glenda Corson hangs a chocolate coin from the finance department's Christmas tree at Dunstan Hospital. PHOTO: ALEXIA JOHNSTON

After being in lockdown for much of the year, Dunstan Hospital is putting on a show.

It is a stark contrast to earlier in the year, when the hospital was a no-go zone unless medical care was required, while New Zealand battled to contain Covid-19.

As a hospital it was at the sharp end of preparation for the pandemic and people potentially affected by it.

As a precaution the hospital was welcoming the public at Alert Level 1 only.

Now all Covid cases are confined to managed isolation facilities, the hospital has been able to resume its usual visiting hours.

The hospital’s foyer has since transformed into a festive forest, where 14 Christmas trees have been decorated by staff from the hospital’s various departments.

Latex gloves and chocolate money are among the decorations adorning the trees, each featuring a different theme.

Names also accompany some of the trees, including “The Laboratree”, which is a Southern Community Laboratories creation.

The public is encouraged to visit the hospital to admire the trees and vote for their favourite.

Finance manager Petri Conradie said the display of trees was the start of focus on the wellbeing of staff, in what had been a challenging year.

The initiative will give staff the chance to debrief after having the spectre of Covid-19 added to their already busy schedules.

In previous years, each department has decorated its area for the festive season, which got finance assistant Glenda Corson thinking.

She came up with the idea of each department decorating a tree.

The tree with the most votes will secure the winning department a small hamper of treats to share, along with “bragging rights”.

Mrs Corson was impressed by the number of staff who had supported the initiative.

She said their efforts had received a lot of positive feedback, particularly from patients who admire the trees while going for a walk.

Allied Health manager Lynda McCutcheon agreed.

“We are really impressed by the number of departments [supporting it].”

The concept was designed to boost the festive spirit among staff and the general public.

Central Otago Health Services chief executive Kathy de Luc said the project had proved to be a great way to bring the team at Dunstan Hospital together, while looking after the community and each other.Nike air jordan SneakersPatike