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More Kiwis receiving help via telehealth service

Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman
Minister of Health

1 November 2016

More Kiwis receiving help via telehealth service

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the national telehealth service has helped around 425,000 New Zealanders since its launch one year ago.

Dr Coleman today visited the Auckland telehealth service which offers health advice and support to New Zealanders via phone, text and online.

“The integration of telehealth services on one platform delivered by one provider means that Kiwis who makes contact - no matter what phoneline or channel they use – receive the appropriate help they need,” says Dr Coleman.

“Last November the telehealth service brought together seven helplines – Healthline, Quitline, Gambling Helpline, Alcohol Drug Helpline, the Depression Helpline (and the National Depression Initiative services), poisons and immunisation advice for the public.

“Registered nurses, mental health and addiction specialists, and poisons specialists provide 24/7 advice, support, assessment of symptoms, triage and treatment advice.

“Since the telehealth service was launched a year ago there have been more than 550,000 contacts to the service. That’s more than one contact every minute, with 81 per cent of calls answered within 20 seconds.

“Overall the number of contacts to the telehealth service has increased from 36,800 in November 2015 to 42,000 in September 2016 – up 16 per cent.

“I’d like to thank the team of 250 staff, who are based across four call centres and from their homes across the country, for their hard work and commitment.

The telehealth team are also successfully working collaboratively across the sector through partnerships with DHBs, primary care and NGOs.”

Data for September 2016 shows more New Zealanders are receiving telehealth assistance compared to November 2015:
· Healthline – contacts increased from 25,970 to 29,700;
· Depression Helpline - contacts increased from 1,812 to 2,299;
· Alcohol Drug Helpline – contacts increased from 969 to 1,351;
· Quitline – contacts increased from 4,008 to 5,372.

The telehealth service is run by Homecare Medical in partnership with the Ministry of Health, with support from ACC and the Health Promotion Agency.

More services and channels will be added over the coming months, including new mental health services as part of the $12 million boost in Budget 2016 to increase support for people at an earlier stage.

ends

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