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Farmers' Mutual Launches Medical Advice Line

News Release 8 December 2000

FARMERS’ MUTUAL LAUNCHES 24-HOUR MEDICAL ADVICE LINE FOR CUSTOMERS

Farmers’ Mutual Group has launched a 24-hour Medical Advice Line offering medical insurance customers around the clock advice from doctors and health professionals.

The Medical Advice Line allows medical insurance policy holders to discuss their health concerns over the telephone with a doctor or nurse at any time, seven days a week.

Farmers’ Mutual Manager General Insurance Alister Martin said, “Many of our clients are farmers or people living in rural communities and its not uncommon for them to live miles from their nearest doctor or hospital. A confidential phone call to the Medical Advice Line can help them to determine if they need to see a health professional and how quickly.

“Callers to the Medical Advice Line can also ask for advice on more general health concerns. Prevention is better than cure and we see our investment in this service as adding value to the extensive hospital and surgical Medical Insurance services that we provide.”

The 0800 helpline is operated through Farmers’ Mutual Group’s customer communication centre, who transfer calls through to the Advice Line once customer details have been confirmed. There is no charge for the Advice Line service, Mr Martin said.

Mr Martin said, research carried out on the use of Medical Advice Lines internationally shows that the ten most common reasons for calls to Medical Advice Lines are:

1. Concern for children's state of health - should I take them to the
doctor?
2. Concern for callers own current state of health.
3. Concern for partner’s state of health.
4. Personal hygiene.
5. Arranging after hours medical appointments/referrals.
6. Pregnancy advice.
7. To discuss general health problems - prostrate conditions, cancers,
heart problems, sexual health etc.
8. Clarification of media statements regarding health issues - "I just
heard on the radio that cell phones give you cancer" - have I got cancer?
9. Verbal second opinions (reassurance) on medical advice or treatment
already administered by a primary care health provider.
10. Arranging referrals for other health related problems such as
alcohol, gambling, assault, depression, anxiety etc.

“The Medical Advice Line, freephone 0800 366 466, is not an emergency phone number and in the event of an emergency Farmers’ Mutual Group recommends that customers dial 111.”

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Alister Martin
Manager General Insurance
Phone: 06 351 8865
Fax: 06 356 4603
Email: alister.martin@fmg.co.nz

Farmers’ Mutual Group is New Zealand’s leading rural financial services organisation. Established in 1905 as a rural insurer, it has grown into a financial services group adding finance and investment to its portfolio of services, but has remained focused on serving the needs of rural communities.


Issued by Shandwick International on behalf of Farmers’ Mutual Group – Tel: 04 472 4190



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