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King ‘relaxed’ on 87% Unanswered PlunketLine Calls

Annette King ‘pretty relaxed’ about 87% of PlunketLine calls going unanswered

Parents who use the PlunketLine number will be appalled at Annette King’s shoulder-shrugging at official figures showing 87% of calls in January went unanswered, says National’s Associate Health spokeswoman Katherine Rich.

A spokesman for Ms King said the Health Minister was “pretty relaxed” about the service’s performance.

“Last July Ms King told Kiwi parents that the reason for the merger with Healthline was that 30% of PlunketLine calls went unanswered, and the merged service would ensure a greater capacity to answer calls,” says Mrs Rich.

“Now, with 87% of calls to the PlunketLine number unanswered in January, the Minister still expects New Zealanders to believe this merger was a good idea.

“The spin from the Minister’s office has been comical. A spokesman attempted to downplay the figures by saying that many mums and dads just hung-up when they heard an answer phone and kept calling back again and again, but such a weak rebuttal further emphasised the problem being criticised.

“Having to call back again and again to get through is exactly the frustrating part for new parents. With a sick child, no one has time to phone 10 times before they get an answer.

“What is also telling is that Annette King has revised her expectations of the service.”

Last year Annette King told the media that the PlunketLine/Healthline merger would see an answer-rate of 95% within 20 seconds by the end of March. It appears she has now lowered the benchmark to Healthline’s contracted goal of 80%.

“Labour might think it’s okay to leave distressed parents and babies waiting but the country doesn’t and National wants answers,” says Mrs Rich.

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