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Government Funds Plunketline For First Time

Government is delighted today to become partners with Plunket in the delivery of Plunketline, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said today as she officially reopened Plunketline in Wellington and took the first call from a parent.

The relaunched Plunketline joins Healthline in offering parents quality health and emergency medical advice over the phone for the first time in New Zealand's history, she said.

"As a mother myself and having raised two children, I feel proud to take the first call to Plunketline from a parent wanting advice.

"Overseas experience suggests that telephone lines like this can make expert advice much more accessible for those in remote areas and enables health professional to use their skills and expertise where they can do the most good.

"Plunket is the largest provider of child health services in New Zealand today, with around $20 million from government to provide these services. This new contract picks up a new partnership which up until recently, was funded by Plunket from their own fund raising and sponsorship.

"Many new parents have found Plunketline valuable in helping them out when they need advice and reassurance. In addition to this, Healthline will offer general health and emergency medical advice over the phone.

"This new clinical telephone advice and assessment service will be run 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year and piloted in four parts of the country.

"The Healthline will be trialed for two years in Northland, the North Island's East Coast, the South Island's West Coast and in Canterbury providing round the clock access to health advice.

"As technology and treatment options change we have to keep abreast of these changes. Health lines can play a key role in this," said Mrs Shipley.



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