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.