• Sat. Oct 22nd, 2022

About 60 people had to wait more than six hours on the phone on Tuesday, a review has found.

Feb 26, 2021

Lisa-Marie’s call was not answered until about 5:40am the next day – and her phone showed a call time of seven hours, 44 minutes. 
Her experience elicited an apology last night from Associate Health Minister Ayesha Verrall, who said the delay was not acceptable and would be followed up on. 
Now, after a review ordered by the minister, the Ministry of Health has told RNZ that although 36 people were rostered to work, it is not clear if they were all on shift – and there were just five staff in the Auckland contact centre.
They were dealing with huge call volumes, the Health Ministry said. Following the announcement of a new community case linked to Papatoetoe High School, call volumes spiked – the average wait time jumping from under a minute to 36 minutes.
Healthline answered 3744 calls on Wednesday – most of which came between 7am and 11am and had an average wait time of 56 minutes.
The ministry said Healthline has since increased the number of rostered staff by eight times – and wait times are now mainly under 20 minutes.