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Healthline Well Child Service Failing Parents

Healthline Well Child Service Failing Parents

Heather Roy Monday,

18 December 2006 Press Releases - Health

ACT Health Spokesman, Heather Roy, says that Healthline's Well Child Telephone Advice Service is failing Kiwi parents by missing its targets since it took over from Plunketline this year.

"From the start of July to the end of October, Healthline's Well Child Telephone Advice Service received an average of just 1,136 calls a month - barely a third of the 3,300 calls a month Healthline is contracted to handle.

"Despite this lack of callers, the target of answering 80% of calls within 20 seconds is not being met, with average waiting times blowing out to between 74 and 243 seconds.

"It should be no surprise that between 10% and 21% of callers to Healthline and the Well Child service are giving up before the phone is answered. This breaches the contractual requirement for abandonment to 'not exceed 10% of calls offered'.

"Plunketline served Kiwi parents well for twelve years, before losing their contract and being forced to 'go it alone' in April.

"By comparison Plunketline handled an average of 4553 calls per month from July to October 2006 dealing with Well Child calls and passing a small number of illness related calls on to Healthline.

"Funding issues mean Plunketline operates 18 hours a day and Plunket has said it is committed to continuing the Plunketline Service.

"Kiwi parents too have shown a commitment to Plunketline; continuing to call it overwhelmingly in preference to calling Healthline. Parliaments Health Select Committee last week released a report recommending the Labour Government rethink its move to abandon Plunketline and refund this service.

"The good news for Kiwi parents is that McKesson's contract for Well Child telephone advice runs out in June 2008, with renewal at the discretion of the Ministry of Health. McKessons' Healthline contract runs out on 30 September 2007, with the tender process already underway and closing on 19 December 2006.

"McKesson have to prove that Kiwi parents can have faith in them, by turning around these statistics and demonstrating that they're a viable alternative to the privately-funded Plunketline."

ENDS

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