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PlunketLine partnership is a positive for parents

26 July 2004
Media Statement
For immediate use

PlunketLine partnership with Healthline is a positive for parents

The new partnership between PlunketLine and Healthline is a welcome development that will deliver significant benefits to both PlunketLine and its clients.

"Bringing these services together will bolster PlunketLine's ability to deliver its specialist well child health advice to parents. Partnered with Healthline, PlunketLine will be a more responsive service and staff numbers will increase to provide a presence in Auckland," said Plunket Chief Executive, Paul Baigent.

"The availability of the latest technology and infrastructure provided by Healthline means service levels will increase and we will be better placed to meet demand.

"PlunketLine has always been an innovative model for the delivery of well child health services. It's a logical extension to our core Plunket Nurse service. Working with Healthline is a continuation of our efforts to seek new ways to ensure we're delivering measurable health outcomes for children and meeting the expectations of our clients and all the Plunket staff and volunteers supporting the service," said Mr Baigent.

New Zealand President Kaye Crowther adds, "This is an exciting time for PlunketLine. For a decade, funding for the service has been uncertain despite the huge demand and support from parents. For ten years the public have rallied behind Plunket volunteers and staff to advocate for continuation of this service. In many respects, this relationship is a validation of the work done previously to ensure PlunketLine survives."

"Healthline incorporating PlunketLine secures the future of specialist well child health services provided by telephone. PlunketLine services will continue to be delivered by our outstanding team of professional Plunket Nurses and PlunketLine will be accessed on the same number (0800 933 922) as well as the Healthline number," Mr Baigent and Mrs Crowther concluded.


Attached: Overview of PlunketLine History


(as at July 2004)

* First started by Plunket on 11 April 1994 as an 'out of hours service' 4pm - 1am, 7 days per week.

* Service increases hours to 24 hours per day in October 1994.

* Total of 11 FTE staff (including Manager).

* Funding issues prompt a public post card campaign "Don't Let The Hotline Go Cold" championed by Helen Clark.

* July 1997 service restructured due to financial constraints, Night shift cut, operating hours 8am - 1am, evening staff reduced from 5 to 3.

* December 1997 Plunket announces PlunketLine will close. Staff and the public mount a campaign to 'save the line' - interim funding provided by Tindall Foundation, Sutherland Trust and Karitane Products until further funding could be found. Sponsorship obtained from Telstra through the sale of 'anytime cards'. Plunket Line phone number changes to 0800 933 922 (Telstra).

* PlunketLine closes on 8 February 1999.

* During the above period Plunket Line was fully funded by Plunket, i.e via fund-raising, bequests, sponsorships, grants etc.

* 60,000 New Zealanders sign a petition calling for the reinstatement of PlunketLine.

* PlunketLine reopens on 16 August 1999, operating from 8am to midnight, after the government decides to fund the service for a two-year period.

* 24-hour service reinstated on 1 May 2000.

* PlunketLine's 24-hour service costs approximately $913,000 per annum to operate.

* Staffed by a rostered team of 30 highly experienced Plunket nurses (8.2 FTE). Plunket nurses are registered nurses with a specialist diploma in community child and family health promotion and have community experience.

* PlunketLine, as a 16-hour service, was used by an average of 50,000 caregivers per annum - including mothers, fathers, grandparents, nannies, babysitters, practice nurses etc.

* From 16 August 1999 to 13 August 2000, PlunketLine received 52,213 calls.

* From 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, PlunketLine nurses received 65,242 calls which involved 94,609 enquiries about the care of children.

* PlunketLine gets a new look and one million dollars from Pub Charity Inc to fund PlunketLine for one year from 1 October 2001 to 30 September 2002.

* From 1 July 2001 - 30 June 2002, 62,847 calls.

* From 1 July 2002 - 30 June 2003, 64,407 calls.

* From 1 July 2003 - 30 June 2004, 67,156 calls.

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