Government Funds Plunket $19.4 Million a Year

  • Bill English

Health Minister Bill English said today the Government paid Plunket more than $19 million a year for its work in health for parents and young children.

"The Government supports Plunket and the valuable work it does. Plunket provides an important service for young New Zealanders and is well supported by the Government with increased funding over the last four years," he said.

"It's up to Plunket to decide whether it runs an 0800 phoneline or not. The Government funds Plunket for extra services that it believes worthwhile on top of funding the health checks Plunket provides for all children.

"As well the Government funds many other services for young children. Just yesterday I announced new initiatives to support Pacific Island babies and young children in Auckland," Mr English said.

"I expect all organisations who get public health funding to care for young children's health to work together to make sure we get the best health service possible for young New Zealanders from public health money.

"The Government has never directly funded the phoneline as a service. It is a Plunket initiative and Plunket's own figures show the majority of the phoneline callers are referred to a GP. Parents can now take their young children straight to their GP free of charge," he said.

"If the caller is dealing with a medical emergency every minute is vital and the caller would be better to phone an emergency hospital or afterhours GP service rather than a volunteer on the other end of a phoneline.

"If Plunket decides its phoneline is worth funding, it can either fund it from its existing funding or put its case to the Transitional Health Authority for additional money.

"To date the THA has not been convinced this service is more worthy than the plethora of others it already funds for young children," Mr English said.