Doctors in rural hospitals felt abandoned in the first months after Covid-19 hit New Zealand. A report by the New Zealand Medical Association compiled from 17 interviews with rural hospital doctors found the usual communication channels and processes linking rural hospitals to their base hospitals was disrupted in the early months of the pandemic leaving the role rural hospitals would take in the pandemic uncertain. Taupo’s Dr Jeremy Webber is clinical director for the NZ Rural General Practice Network. He doesn’t yet know how Taupo would handle a barrage of acute patients. He anticipates stretched capacity, as the rural workforce is always pressured under normal circumstances. He says the high reliance on locums and overseas doctors is also stretched with the struggle to recruit and bring new doctors in as a result of border closures.