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Govt must reverse Plunketline decision - Greens

27 June 2006

Govt must reverse Plunketline decision - Greens

The Government should reinstate Plunketline's contract and ensure that parents have access to the advice of specially trained Plunket nurses to assist them with parenting concerns, Green Party Health Spokesperson Sue Kedgley says.

Ms Kedgley will today speak at the presentation of a 50,000 signature petition to Parliament calling on the Government to save Plunketline.

"It's time for the Government to admit that it made the wrong decision and to agree to continue funding Plunketline for New Zealand parents," Ms Kedgley says.

"Plunket is a unique, highly respected, community-based primary health service which is trusted by the majority of New Zealand parents. It's crazy that the Government is putting this service in jeopardy by refusing to fund Plunketline after 1 July 2006 and giving the contract to a subsidiary of a huge multinational company that has been tied up in fraud allegations in the past.

"Why on earth isn't the Government supporting a home-grown New Zealand service with a century of experience and a reservoir of good will and trust behind it? It makes no sense.

"I am also concerned that unlike Plunketline staff, the nurses employed by the new contractor, McKesson, will not be required to have a post-graduate Well Child Health certificate before they can operate the phone service. Plunketline staff were specially trained in parenting issues.

"There are huge pressures on New Zealand parents and they need to be able to get support from a trusted organisation with a history of parenting advice.

"Giving this contract to another provider will fragment the service available to parents and weaken Plunket, which is in nobody's interest," Ms Kedgley says.


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