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My big reward is seeing the way people cope and are so strong; MUM-OF-THREE IS HAILED FOR THE ROLE THAT IS HER LIFE Heroine Liz carries out vital work worldwide.

Byline: Brian McIver

IT DOESN'T matter to Liz Tait whether she is visiting a quiet village surgery in the windy north of Scotland or melting in a Zimbabwe refugee camp.

Whether she is organising a local health service office, surfing earthquake aftershocks in rural China or helping people flee a war-ravaged nation, she sees her job as the same it has been since she qualified as a nurse more than 30 years ago - helping people.

By day, Liz is head of clinical governance for NHS Grampian, which means she is in charge of monitoring every health service outlet in the region.

Liz, 53, is also a senior official with the Red Cross and spends most of the year ready to answer the call to take charge of humanitarian and medical elements of disaster relief.

This year she was away in Malta helping people who had been airlifted out of Libya during the early stages of civil unrest. In recent years, she has also been on missions to China, Kenya and Zimbabwe.

Mother-of-three Liz, from Elgin, has been nominated for a Scottish Health Award by colleagues at NHS Grampian for her tireless hard work.

"The thing I love the most about this job, whichever part of it, is getting to work to make things better for people - in the field or in clinics and hospitals," she said.

"And the biggest reward for me is the way people cope and are so strong no matter what."

Liz began her career in 1979 when she qualified as a nurse in Glasgow. In 1993, she left the NHS to run the Moray branch of the Red Cross in Elgin. Tired of all the travel across the UK, she left the organisation in 2000 to rejoin the health service.

She explained: "While I was with the Red Cross, I helped out working with Dr Gray's Hopsital in Elgin when they were doing emergency planning for the Millennium in 1999.

"After that had finished the general manager asked me to come and work for him and develop the role of clinical governance.

"It's my job to support the staff and make sure that everything is safe and in the best interests of the patient. We are the eyes and ears in wards and feedback issues that are not being resolved."

Liz was recruited to the Red Cross again in 2005 when the Foreign and Commonwealth Office created a special response unit to help local consulate teams in times of disaster.

Following the lessons of the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, when staff in affected areas were over-run by the huge numbers of people involved, the FCO created the team for rapid deployment and Liz was the first person in Scotland to join the squad.

"My first trip was to Cyprus in July 2006 to meet people escaping from the Lebanon war, days after my daughter's wedding," she recalled.

"Six thousand people were evacuated out of Lebanon and were coming off Chinook helicopters and various boats and it was our job to look after them at the air base until they got onward travel.

"The next one was the Chinese earthquake in May 2008 - I'd never experienced anything like that."

Most recently, Liz returned to the Mediterranean to help British refugees from the civil war in Libya.

? The awards are run by the Daily Record with NHS Scotland, the Scottish Government's Healthier Scotland initiative, Pfizer and Unison Scotland. To nominate, go to www.

scottishhealthawards.com

CAPTION(S):

DEDICATED J Liz at HMS York in Malta with evacuees, top, in Nairobi last year, below, and in her day job, main RELIEF* Liz in China after the earthquake in 2008
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Aug 19, 2011
Words:610
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