The Ministry of Health has the authority to deploy a New Zealand Medical Assistance Team (NZMAT) following a request from district health boards (for domestic deployments) or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (for deployment in the south-west Pacific).
NZMAT will provide medical support to the local population by integrating with and engaging with local structures.
Decision on NZMAT deployment
The decision whether to deploy NZMAT will depend on the following factors:
- request by the affected district health board or government for assistance
- request by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade for assistance
- health needs in the affected area
- ability of the environment to support the response
- access to the affected area
- security situation
- local capacity to respond to the emergency (government and other organisations)
- critical infrastructure to support the response
- local health services capacity: public health, primary, secondary and tertiary services
- avoiding duplication of services or resources
- magnitude and evolution of the emergency
- consistency with services normally provided in that area.
During a deployment
During a deployment Counties Manukau DHB will provide the operational base support for NZMAT in liaison with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry will coordinate the overall national health response and liaise with DHBs and the lead New Zealand government agency (ie, the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) as required.
During a domestic civil defence event an NZMAT will not replace the wide-ranging support from the health sector to the affected DHB. An NZMAT may be deployed as part of this wider support and this will be coordinated within existing emergency management structures.
Most NZMAT deployments will depart from Auckland where team members will be briefed and issued appropriate uniform and personal equipment.
NZMAT members deployed in a disaster will have numerous skills, and will be able and willing to work in a variety of settings including in the community or in existing or temporary health facilities. The composition of the team will change over the period of the deployment to meet the changing demands of the situation.
For more information on how NZMAT will be deployed, see the NZMAT Operational Manual.