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Healthline Attracting Wide Interest

MEDIA RELEASE

Rt Hon Wyatt Creech
Minister of Health
11 August 1999

HEALTHLINE ATTRACTING WIDE INTEREST

Health Minister Wyatt Creech said he was pleased with the interest shown in the Government's new free 24 hour health helpline - with dozens of potential providers acting on a request for proposals to pilot the new assessment and advice service.

Healthline is a 24-hour telephone service which will couple the knowledge and skills of experienced health professionals with sophisticated technology to make certain those phoning in get the most appropriate care.

"More than 100 requests for tender documents have been received since we advertised asking those interested in providing all or part of the service, or in evaluating it, to submit proposals," Mr Creech said.

"It's been a good start to a project which we believe will guide more New Zealanders to the right care in the right place at the right time. "

Workshops held in the four areas chosen to pilot the project - Northland, East Cape, the West Coast and Canterbury - have also attracted good turnouts.

"Although based on a successful British model called NHS Direct, Healthline will be given a New Zealand flavour with oversight from a sector reference group.

"Successful tenderers will also be expected to work with local health providers and communities to ensure the service fits the special character of each of the pilot areas," Mr Creech said.

"The health line will be trialed for two years from next year and will provide triage advice, advice on self care, if appropriate, advice on the prevention of illness and information about diseases, pharmaceutical etc and information about available services, entitlements and user charges."

Proposals will be submitted by mid September and providers appointed shortly afterwards.

ENDS

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