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Keep Plunketline Drug-Free?

11 April 2006

Keep Plunketline Drug-Free?

The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) fully supports the retention of PlunketLine, and that this be achieved through the resumption of funding from the Ministry of Health.

"The facts speak for themselves" said Christine Low, National President "PlunketLine resolves 86% of calls without medical intervention. Plunket's long-standing service has been trusted by women and families for generations - PlunketLine is yet another arm of this valued service."

NCWNZ questions why McKesson Corporation, one of the world's largest pharmaceutical distributors, has been accepted as a better provider of advice than New Zealand's own Royal NZ Plunket Society.

"Our members are extremely concerned about direct-to-consumer-drug-advertising and the lack of impartiality this form of advertising provides," said Christine Low, and asks "Does this mean that advice for the health of our babies and children will be centred on a plethora of drugs rather than the tried, tested and assured advice of Plunket Nurses?"

"In addition, NCWNZ's submission to Government on developing Healthline reported that our members were adamant that they did not support the then proposed amalgamation of PlunketLine with Healthline. In fact members ensured that support of PlunketLine was enshrined in the Council's policy," she continued.

"It is ironic that the Government will go out on a limb to save iconic Air New Zealand, but not Plunket, which for many is a greater icon," says Low.

"We have always recognised that for PlunketLine to work most efficiently it needed proper funding rather than the piecemeal approach that contract funding has provided in recent years. Addressing the insufficiency of funding is the only alteration to Plunket's contract that the Ministry of Health should have made," she concluded.


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