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Plunket in meeting with Prime Minister’s Office

13 April 2006

Plunket in meeting with Prime Minister’s Office

Representatives of Plunket and the Prime Minister’s office met today to discuss the withdrawal of funding for PlunketLine by the Ministry of Health announced last Friday. Plunket has mounted a strong campaign against the decision including a nationwide petition.

“After the disappointment of the decision on the tender and the unfounded criticism of the performance of PlunketLine, we are pleased that the dialogue has opened with Government,” says Kaye Crowther, President of Plunket.

“Since speaking with us directly, the Prime Minister’s representatives have undertaken to further investigate the matter and a second meeting is planned for early next week to discuss the situation in more detail.

“Government has affirmed their support for Plunket as a whole and acknowledged the quality of the services that we offer,” says Mrs Crowther.

“In particular we emphasised our deep concern at the misinformation about the performance of PlunketLine that has been put out into the public arena in the last three days.

“PlunketLine has not, I repeat not, underperformed against its contract with Government. We have a contract for a minimum of 58,000 and a maximum of 70,000 calls a year and at present we are operating at an annualised rate of 75,000 calls.

“Demand for PlunketLine is as high as 135,000 calls a year, but without funding for the additional 65,000 calls (the difference between 135,000 and the 70,000 we are funded for) we should not be expected to employ the additional staff required to answer these calls out of our donated funds - this is a responsibility of Government to fund.

“We have continually told Government that demand for PlunketLine far outstrips funding.”

“We have received overwhelming public support. For example, 30 people on a flight last night from Wellington to Auckland signed the petition then and there. Signatures are being collected all around the country and are now well into the thousands,” says Kaye Crowther.

ENDS

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