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Plunketline Emerges From Failed Government Merger

Plunketline Emerges From Failed Government Merger

Heather Roy Wednesday, 7 December 2005 Press Releases - Health

Government's enforced merger of Plunketline with Healthline in July 2004 has denied New Zealand parents easy telephone access to Plunket nurses, says ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy.

"Plunketline figures from November 2004 show that 85% of calls went unanswered. Then Health Minister Annette King reported she was relaxed about this response rate. However, things have not improved - October 2005 figures show that 87% of calls still went unanswered.

"This is a clearly unacceptable situation which Labour now acknowledges. The unanswered call rate has been around this level since the merger of Plunketline into Healthline.

"I predicted at the time of the merger that this was not the best option available, and warned about the danger of Plunketline losing its unique identity. Labour should have left Plunketline as a stand-alone service and assisted Plunket by upgrading Plunketline's outdated technology.

"Last Friday the Ministry of Health announced that a separate Well Child telephone service would be put out to tender before Christmas, with the contract to start in July 2006.

"I understand Plunket is delighted at this news and is intending to tender for the contract.

"Plunket is committed to retaining Plunketline, which over the decade of its existence has become a well respected, valuable and hugely popular service.

"The merger with Healthline has been a failure – it is a shame that Labour didn't listen to these warnings just 18 months ago when it insisted on the merger.

"Frustrated parents will no doubt be delighted to hear that Plunketline will again be a stand alone service," Mrs Roy said.

ENDS

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