Health Minister Tony Ryall has joined the Healthline team celebrating the 2.5 millionth call to the free 24-hour health advice phone line.
Mr Ryall met the parents of a young girl who believe their daughter's life may have been saved by the advice she got from Healthline (story attached). He also met with the nurse who took call number 2.5 million, and was shown how the telephone triage system works.
About 80 percent of calls to Healthline require nurse assessment.
"In the 11 years that Healthline has been available in New Zealand, nearly 250,000 callers have been advised to seek emergency or other urgent care. More than 600,000 callers with less serious symptoms have been given advice on how to manage the condition at home.
"It's not uncommon to hear about people who believe a family member's life has been saved thanks to a call to the free phone service. Another story we hear frequently is when the nurse assesses the symptoms and organises an ambulance.
"One of the most unusual requests was from a pilot who had called Healthline for advice about a passenger while in the air, and then asked which runway to land on.
"Around 20 per cent of hospital admissions are considered avoidable. The role of primary care is the most important area for reducing these admissions, and along with GPs and ambulance services a telephone triage service like Healthline has an important role in primary care.
The telephone triage service is currently under review as the Government looks to better integrate primary health and make the services more efficient.
Healthline experience (doc 24 KB)