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24-Hour Plunketline Starts Today

MEDIA RELEASE, May 1, 2000

24-Hour Plunketline Starts Today

Health Minister Annette King said the reinstatement of Plunketline as a 24-hour service today gave her great personal pleasure, and was a triumph for all the families who had backed her campaign to restore an effective service.

Mrs King had breakfast today at Plunketline's Johnsonville premises with the two nurses on the first midnight to 7am shift of the reinstated and free service.

Plunketline first opened as a 24-hour service on April 11,1994, and the free telephone number received more than 63,000 calls in 1994/95. Escalating costs forced the service to close on February 7, 1999, but Mrs King launched a national campaign to reinstate the service.

"The campaign attracted 60,000 signatures, and such was the force of opinion that the previous Government agreed to reinstate it from August last year, but only as a 12-hour-a-day service.

"Children don't get sick, and parents don't get worried, according to a 12-hour timetable," Mrs King said today. "It should have been obvious to anyone the service has to be round the clock to be effective"

Mrs King announced, shortly after becoming Minister of Health, that the 24-hour service would be reinstated, and Plunket and the Health Funding Authority signed an agreement in February. The extended service will cost an extra $280,000 a year.

"Today the campaign has reached its real fruition, however," Mrs King said. "If past experience is anything to go by, and I know it will be, the round-the-clock service will receive many thousands of calls, and thousands of children and their families and caregivers will be helped.

"The Plunket nurses are trained to provide advice and support when it is most needed. The extra cost is a small price to pay for the comfort and practical assistance the service will provide."

ENDS

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