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Poison line petition resonates with public

David Clark
Associate Health Spokesperson
MP for Dunedin North

22 May 2014

Poison line petition resonates with public

A petition to save the 0800 Poison helpline has struck a chord with concerned parents, Labour’s Associate Health spokesperson David Clark says.

The Ministry of Health plans to merge the national poisons helpline with other tele-health services.

“The petition went live on Monday night, the first 1000 signatures were gathered by Tuesday and a target of 2500 was easily reached on Wednesday.

“I am not surprised. The 0800 Poison Helpline is a trusted service. Expert toxicologists are on the end of the line immediately.

“It is the primary source for poisoning information for both parents and paramedics, with Plunket recommending it as the first point of call for parents in emergency situations.

“In poisons emergencies, the type of triaging done by other helplines takes away life-saving seconds, which is why the World Health Organisation recommends an independent service and why other countries don’t amalgamate their poisons line.

“It is understood that that Australian provider Medibank has been holding talks with other helpline providers in recent weeks. It is hard to imagine what this offshore provider could add to the service aside from another costly layer of management.

“When the appointment process moved from ‘competitive tender’ to ‘constructive dialogue’, ‘casino deal’ alarm bells should start ringing.

“The proposed change makes no sense. Tony Ryall needs to explain what information he has that the World Health Organisation is lacking.”


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