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What's the story with Plunketline?

Katherine Rich MP - National Party Associate Health Spokeswoman

03 March 2005

What's the story with Plunketline?

"Annette King has some explaining to do after the latest set of figures appear to show major problems with a taxpayer-funded phone service that new parents depend on," says National Party Associate Health spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

According to figures released by the Health Minister only 12% of calls to the Plunketline number (now part of Healthline) were 'handled' in January.

The Plunketline number was phoned 35996 times in January but only 4371 callers had their concerns dealt with - about 1 in 8 calls.

"Last July Annette King told Kiwi parents that the reason for the merger with Healthline was not cost cutting but that 30% of Plunketline calls went unanswered.(1)

"Kiwi parents were told that incorporating Plunketline into Healthline would 'ensure capacity to answer Plunketline calls'."

But according to Parliamentary Question 1802 (2005) during January 2005, 87% of calls to Healthline on the Plunketline number were not 'handled'.

"While the Minister has made a song and dance about 24-hour coverage, that's no consolation to the thousands of parents who only get an answerphone.

"The Minister must tell us what's behind the worrying figures," says Mrs Rich.


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