Airway Leads Network

The Airway Leads Network, chaired by Dr Paul Baker, has been established to foster collaboration in airway management across New Zealand.

Airway Leads Network

An Airway Lead is an anaesthetist who promotes safe airway management within their department and hospital. There is a nominated lead in every public hospital in New Zealand that has an anaesthesia department.

The concept of an Airway Leads Network was first initiated in the UK, following recommendations from the National Audit Project 4 (NAP 4) on airway complications (although this concept was suggested many years prior by the Difficult Airway Society in 1996).  Given the constantly evolving practice of airway management and the introduction of new equipment, coordination is required to ensure training is kept up-to-date and that kit is appropriate to ensure optimal patient safety.  Standardisation of kit within a hospital, training and audit/quality assurance are key roles which the Airway Lead coordinates.

If you would like any further information regarding the Airway Leads Network or have any suggestions for network members please email:

Additional Information

Airway Leads for NZ hospitals




Northland DHB Whangarei Hospital Leon Cloherty
Waitemata DHB North Shore Hospital Subita Nobre
Auckland DHB Auckland City Hospital Paul Baker (Chair) and Paul Gardiner
Counties Manukau DHB Middlemore Hospital Jeanette Scott
Waikato DHB Waikato Chris Jephcott
BOPDHB Tauranga Hospital Rod Gouldson
BOPDHB Whakatane Hospital Lutz Sauer
Lakes DHB Rotorua Hospital Laura Kwan
Tairawhiti DHB Gisborne Hospital Germanicus Malmberg
Taranaki DHB Taranaki Base Hospital Charlie Brown
HBDHB Hawkes Bay Hospital Allanah Scott and Sarah Phipps
Whanganui DHB Whanganui Hospital Derek Barrett
Mid Central DHB Palmerston North Hospital Tom O'Sullivan
Wairarapa DHB Wairarapa/Masterton Hospital Chris Smith
CCDHB Wellington Hospital

Sheila Hart (Secretary, NZSA) and
Jeremy Young

Hutt Valley DHB Hutt Hospital Peter Tobin and Adam Hollingworth
Nelson Marlborough DHB Nelson Hospital Joe McIntyre
Nelson Marlborough DHB Wairau Hospital, Blenheim Dave Sandford
West Coast DHB Grey Base Hospital Graham Roper
Canterbury DHB Christchurch Hospitals Nick Abbott
South Canterbury DHB Timaru Hospital Dana Hirsch
Southern DHB Dunedin Hospital Chen Ong
Southern DHB Southland Hospital, Invercargill Sana Huhtamaki
Auckland Rescue Helicopter   Kerry Holmes

Audit initiative - intubateCOVID

New Zealand has joined an international initiative to discover more about anaesthetists and their assistants who are undertaking airway management for patients who are either COVID-19 positive or suspected. The Difficult Airway Society, in association with Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, have developed intubateCOVID to anonymously collect data on intubation episodes and details of any symptoms which develop in airway managers and assistants following COVID-19 airway management.

This study, launched on 23 March 2020, had collected 4660 intubations worldwide by 29 April 2020. This database is already producing very useful information regarding airway management from these patients. New Zealand joins 13 other countries in this project.

The incidence of COVID-19 in healthcare workers is thought to be higher than the general population. This incidence may be higher in healthcare workers who have been exposed to high viral loads while undertaking aerosol-generating procedures, such as tracheal intubation. There is currently no large-scale data on the association between airway management and the development of COVID-19.

The NZSA has agreed to support this project and the NZSA logo will be added alongside many other respectable organisations supporting this initiative. More here.

Dr Paul Baker
Airway Leads Network Chair

Inaugural Airway Leads meeting in Auckland March 2018