News and media

Keep up to date with what we've been up to.

Opening of Auckland contact centre and offices of Whakarongorau Aotearoa
09 April 2021

Today the Auckland offices and contact centre of Whakarongorau Aotearoa were opened by the Prime Minister the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern. Read more

Of ribbon snips and a kitchen accident: Jacinda Ardern opens new telehealth centre
09 April 2021

Whakarongorau Aotearoa, formerly Homecare Medical, has moved to new premises in Auckland’s Freemans Bay.

Lyndy Matthews: Stigma and shame do not help smokers quit
03 March 2021

Lockdowns aren't good for smokers.

More than a quarter of the 500,000 New Zealanders still smoking said their cigarette intake increased during last year's level 4. It is possible that a similar increase is taking place during the latest level 2/3 alert.

Key signs a young person is struggling with mental health
09 February 2021

The Mental Health Foundation has warned people may be feeling additional stress and anxiety, and suggested building connections might help struggling people feel less alone.

Key signs a young person is struggling with mental health
08 February 2021

Concerns over exam results, job uncertainty and the ongoing impact of Covid-19 will result in more young people seeking help for a range of mental health issues, a New Zealand support service says.

Although depression and anxiety are the main reasons why people ask for help, study worries, relationship troubles and family problems can also be major stressors, consultant psychiatrist Dr Siale Foliaki says.

How 300 travel agents became Healthline staffers
01 January 2021

More than a million Kiwis called Healthline in 2020, trusting the voice at the other end of the line to explain Covid-19 and how to keep themselves and their family safe. When calls skyrocketed, more staff had to be brought on board urgently. Sophie Ryan reports.

As calls to our national telehealth service climbed 10 times above normal levels, people were sometimes waiting more than an hour to get through to a registered nurse after Covid-19 arrived in New Zealand.

Healthline chief executive Andrew Slater knew he needed to act fast to get more people on the other end of the phone and when the hand brake came on international travel in March, 300 employees from House of Travel joined Healthline to help field the calls.

COVID-19 lines of communication: The extraordinary becomes ordinary
23 December 2020

From implementing a new IT system to rapidly training new staff members, this massive transformation, that would normally take months, took place in a matter of weeks. It was published in one of our online flipbooks, so you may have missed it.

After a full-on year, a dull, COVID-free Christmas would hit the spot for Healthline chief executive
09 December 2020

Homecare Medical chief executive Andrew Slater has had to support staff through rapid change.

Tackling New Zealand's Smoking Problem
10 September 2020

Ex-smoker Joseph Tavita Ogotau Wright and Quitline Service Delivery Manager Jordan Taiaroa weigh in on how the new QuitStrong campaign is looking to tackle the problem head on.

Hawke's Bay man quits smoking after 40 years, saves $450 in three months
10 September 2020

He's taken the hint and is now becoming one of the success stories for Quitline, the Government-backed quit-smoking programme run by Homecare Medical, particularly in its focus of improving Māori health by bringing down disproportionately higher smoker rates.

'Oh bugger’ moment for Healthline boss when coronavirus returned
26 June 2020

The Healthline team…has a direct information artery to the Ministry of Health so they can quickly adapt its public health messages and the latest epidemic developments for delivery to potentially anxious callers.

Demand for mental health, alcohol helplines increased in lockdown
24 May 2020

Calls for help for anxiety and depression and alcohol and drug relapse increased during the coronavirus lockdown, new figures show. Calls to lines run by the National Telehealth Service — including 1737, Depression Helpline and Alcohol Drug Helpline — increased by nearly a third in the first week of lockdown compared with two weeks earlier (March 12-18).

Keeping open the lines of communication
12 May 2020

The team at NZNO Kai Tiaki interviewed Sarah Tan, Andrew Slater and nurse Marley Mueller. The article featured in May’s edition, and focused on a day in the life of a Healthline nurse working throughout COVID-19.

Healthline nurses share what it's like helping concerned people of Aotearoa New Zealand calling in about Covid-19
11 May 2020

TVNZ1 Breakfast on International Nurses day, Breakfast interviewed Sarah Tan (Head of COVID-19 Service Unit Service Delivery Manager – Emergency Triage) and nurse Julianne Wilson about their experience working throughout COVID and what it is like to be a nurse at Healthline.

New phone line to provide advice to primary care professionals
1 May 2020

A new phone line has been set up specifically for primary and community health clinicians seeking COVID-19 advice. The number, 0800 177 622, is now operational and was announced in a letter sent out yesterday by the Ministry of Health’s acting deputy director-general of Health System Improvement and Innovation Clare Perry.

COVID-19 lines of communication: The extraordinary becomes ordinary
22 April 2020

Andrew Slater never expected his call centre staff would be delivering babies over the phone on a regular basis. Mr Slater certainly didn’t foresee he would be running around Auckland dairies on the hunt for Ajax Spray n’ Wipe and hand sanitiser for the office. Blueprints for the future have arisen from this innovative thinking. The health system over the last month has done some extraordinary things

Calls and txts to mental health line almost doubles
23 April 2020

Calls and texts to the government's free national mental health helpline have risen sharply since the start of alert level 4. The number of calls to 'Need To Talk 1737' is up by 40 percent within the last five days, as people seek counselling over issues such as financial anxiety or worries about children.

Mental health helplines, Ministry of Social Development receive 'unprecedented' amount of calls during the lockdown
23 April 2020

Mental health helplines and the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are receiving an unprecedented number of calls as people struggle emotionally during New Zealand's COVID-19 lockdown.

Only one call away - at the other end of New Zealand's Covid-19 hotline
20 April 2020

Sheryl Fife is a close confidant to many, but few have ever seen her face. The self-confessed 'gypsy' is the real-life characterisation of an old adage that exists in the medical fraternity - nursing isn't a job. It's a calling. And she's been answering the call on and off for more than a decade.

Demand for Healthline many times higher than last year
17 April 2020

Demand for Healthline remains high even three weeks into the coronavirus lockdown, with call volumes over Easter seven times higher than the same period last year.

No, alcohol won't kill Covid-19 - and it can be deadly
16 April 2020

Talk of bathtub hand sanitiser and a grim worldwide trend have led to warnings: Alcohol won't cure Covid-19 and the wrong type can kill.

Covid 19 coronavirus: Healthline helps 170,000 people of Aotearoa New Zealand in a month
08 April 2020

Healthline staff have given help to 170,000 people of Aotearoa New Zealand since the Covid-19 outbreak hit the country in March.

Month's worth of calls to Healthline recorded over just three days
26 March 2020

Over three days this week Heathline fielded more calls than it did for the entire month of March last year.

Huge spike in Healthline calls over infected person at Tool concert
11 March 2020

News that a man with coronavirus attended a Tool concert in Auckland has had a 'huge impact' on calls to Healthline.

A day in the life of a mental health helpline
15 September 2019

Like most articles about mental health, this story has a list of helpline numbers at the end. But who actually picks up when you make that call or text? Mental health and addiction counsellors at the National Telehealth Service handle 15000 phone or text sessions a month. Adam Dudding spent a day with the MH&A team to get an inside look into what happens when you call a helpline.

Pets twice as likely to get cancer if exposed to tobacco smoke – Quitline
1 August 2019

New Zealand is a nation of animal lovers, pets are part of our whānau. Three out of five households have a pet, that’s around 4.6 million companion animals. 1 out of 10 New Zealanders smoke. Our pets are at risk of many health issues if they’re exposed to tobacco smoke; dogs and cats are twice as likely to get cancer if their owners smoke around them and other animals too - including birds and guinea pigs - are susceptible to a range of health issues. Quitline is launching ‘Quit for your pets’ – an evidence- based ‘nudge’ campaign that takes a unique angle to motivate people to quit smoking – by highlighting the harm that smoking can cause their pets, and encouraging animal-loving smokers to think about quitting smoking not just for themselves but for their pet too. Read more

Happy 25th Birthday to Plunketline
11 April 2019

Happy birthday PlunketLine! From the Healthline team we’d like to congratulate you on 25 years of amazing service for children and their whānau around New Zealand. In the 3 ½ years we’ve collaborated with you, 90,948 parents and whānau have received health advice from your nurses – using the national telehealth service clinical and technology platform. It’s been a pleasure working with you and we look forward celebrating many more birthdays to come.

1737 support
22 March 2019

The events in Christchurch on 15 March are so distressing. The team have been making sure that all those impacted and distressed by what’s happened know that if they, or someone they know, needs mental wellbeing support or advice then call or text 1737 for free, anytime for support from a trained counsellor. Read more

Media guidelines for reporting on the events of 15 March 2019
22 March 2019

Media have played a significant role in keeping the public informed about events around the Christchurch terrorist events and the aftermath of those events. We have worked with the Ministry of Health, the Canterbury District Health Board and the Mental Health Foundation on guidelines for media, to get their assistance to help reduce the harmful impact of the events on the health of the nation. It was important to note in the guidelines that we are aware that journalists covering the terror attacks are under enormous pressure and are having to hear and see things that are extremely distressing, their wellbeing is important too.

Privileged to be part of official Royal Visit
5 November 2018

Our CEO Andrew Slater, Mel Grant (Special Projects Manager – MH&A) and John Francis (MH&A Professional) from our team had the privilege of meeting the Duke and Duchess of Sussex at an event in Wellington, focussed on initiatives to promote youth mental health. Andrew, Mel and John were invited to talk about how we pioneered text counselling in New Zealand with the 1737 service. Read more

1737 Article in the Listener
3 August 2018

To coincide with the first anniversary of the launch of the 1737 service, Andrew was interviewed by the Listener magazine, which was published Friday July 13th. In the extensive article, Andrew reflects on how important 1737 is, the types of calls we've received and what we've learnt from a year of running the service. Andrew also spoke about the number of young people, aged 13-24 who have been using the service

Official Launch of Safe to Talk He pai ki te kōrero
1 June 2018

New Zealand's new sexual harm helpline, Safe to talk He pai ki te kōrero is giving people the chance to seek free, anonymous and confidential support from one central place, says Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. The Minister today officially launched Safe to talk He pai ki te kōrero which provides nationwide 24/7 access to free confidential information and support to people affected by sexual harm in any way.

Support for Mental Health Awareness Week 2017
15 October 2017

The newly launched 1737 helpline which helps anyone struggling with mental health and addictions, has been contacted more than 5,600 times and the largest demographic reaching out, is young people. Eighteen per cent of those seeking help are aged 13 to 19 years old and 19 per cent are 20 to 24. Psychiatrist David Codyre says "bullying is such a huge driver of depressions for young people".

Homecare Medical awarded contract to develop and operate the country's 24/7 sexual violence helpline
1 September 2017

The Ministry is leading the development and implementation of a new national sexual violence helpline accessible via phone and internet, called Safe to talk. Safe to talk will be: available nationwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Accessible by a number of modes including phone, online chat, email and text/SMS. Free and allows people to access information, crisis support and referral to local service providers.

Homecare Medical selected as coordination services provider for the National Bowel Screening Programme
24 August 2017

The free screening programme for men and women aged 60 to 74 is being rolled out progressively throughout New Zealand. The roll-out started with Hutt Valley and Wairarapa District Health Boards in July.

Over a million contacts made to National Telehealth Service
21 July 2017

"The National Telehealth Service operates a number of significant health information services and this week hit a million contacts in just under 20 months, with 1,002,952 contacts this morning," says Dr Coleman. "This includes over 600,000 contacts to Healthline, 141,000 to mental health and addiction services, 150,000 to Quitline and 43,000 for poisons advice."

Elder Abuse Response Service (EARS) launched
30 June 2017

"From tomorrow nationwide education, prevention and awareness work will be run through the Office for Seniors freeing up frontline providers to actively help older people facing different abuse situations," Ms Barry says. "With translation services available to the free 24/7helpline, and providers selected to ensure services are culturally responsive, the new service will be able to serve different ethnic groups, including Māori, Pasifika, Indian, Chinese and Korean communities."

1737 and Early Mental Health Response Services launched
29 June 2017

Two initiatives, '1737, need to talk?'' and Early Mental Health Response (EMHR) were launched in Auckland on Thursday, to provide a "new front door"e; to mental health support and intervention. The services are a joint venture between the police, ambulance, Ministry of Health and Homecare Medical's National Telehealth Service - centralising mental health support through one 4-digit number, 1737

New services to support disabled people in work
4 May 2017

Employer Advice Line, a free phone-based service offering advice to employers about how to support new or existing disabled employees recently launched. Callers get information and advice specific to their situation, including local support services and organisations.

New Consultation Summaries for GPs

Homecare Medical (formerly HML) will soon be sending Healthline consultation summaries to all GPs, where the service user has given us consent to do so. The summaries are to let you know we took a call from your patient, the history taken and what we advised. GPs will receive the summaries via HealthLink into their PMS system and, where possible, the summaries will have NHIs to allow easy filing. Here's a sample of what a consultation summary will look like.

Response to Kaikoura earthquakes
21 November 2016

The Earthquake Support Line has been extended nationally, and it has reported a number of calls from the Wellington region. While calls to the national telehealth service have stabilised, the Earthquake Support Line is seeing increased volumes. As of this morning, the Earthquake Support Line (0800 777 846) and national telehealth service have answered 14,365 calls since the earthquake.

Free earthquake support line for everyone
16 November 2016

In response to the recent earthquakes and aftershocks, the Ministry of Health has bolstered its 24/7 Earthquake Support Line 0800 777 846 being run by the National Telehealth Service. The support line, which offers social and psychological support, is open to anyone anxious or concerned about how the situation is affecting them or their whanau. They can call for emotional support, advice or just for someone to talk to. Read more

More people of Aotearoa New Zealand receiving help via telehealth service
1 November 2016

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says the national telehealth service has helped around 425,000 New Zealanders since its launch one year ago. "The integration of telehealth services on one platform delivered by one provider means that people of Aotearoa New Zealand who makes contact - no matter what phoneline or channel they use - receive the appropriate help they need," says Dr Coleman.

Homecare Medical features in New Zealand Doctor
11 May 2016

Medical emergencies don't keep normal office hours and telehealth is increasingly being employed to cater for the demand for 24/7 triage and advice. Last year, the country's various health helplines were merged after a government tender won by Homecare Medical. Cliff Taylor visits the company's Auckland HQ to see how the service is doing, six months after going live. Published with permission of New Zealand Doctor. Read the article here.

Roger Sowry Homecare Medical's new chairman
8 December 2015

New Zealand telehealth services provider Homecare Medical has announced the appointment of Roger Sowry as independent Chairman of the Homecare Medical Board. Read more

Homecare Medical announced as successful national telehealth partner
18 June 2015

Homecare Medical has been announced as the successful partner to develop and deliver new integrated national telehealth service. Read more

Pegasus Health and ProCare join forces to deliver telehealth services
17 February 2014

Two of the country's leading primary health networks Pegasus Health and ProCare have joined forces in delivering a variety of telephone and virtual health services available to more than 2.2 million people in New Zealand. Read more