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Child help line in crisis

31st August 2006

08052006_babyremote1.jpgFour out of five parents who call Victoria's Maternal and Child Health line are failing to get through. The 24-hour telephone service is in place to help when babies or young children appear to be unwell.

The Australian Nursing Federation wants political parties to commit to boosting the hotline, although a Victorian Government spokeswoman says it is intended to be a support service rather than a crisis line.

Lisa Fitzpatrick, the union's state secretary, says mothers value the service because it is staffed by nurses who specialise in children's health, with midwifery certificates and maternal and child health nurse qualifications. She adds the maternal health line deserves more funding, because it is just as important as the new nurse-on-call line. Opposition spokeswoman for community services, Andrea Coote, also says the maternal help-line is under resourced.


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