18 Jun 2015

Jobs to go in telephone helplines change

5:03 pm on 18 June 2015

Jobs will be lost when a company takes control of several telephone helplines.

Standard cells have a telephone for inmates to call pre-approved phone numbers.

About 200 people will be needed to staff the phone lines. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

The Government's chosen Homecare Medical to run Healthline and operate other familiar services, including Quitline; Gambling Helpline; Alcohol and Drug Helpline; and Depression Helpline.

Those names will be kept when the contract begins on 1 November.

The company's chairman, Martin Seers, said the workers who picked up the calls would be kept on, but others would not be needed.

He said he understood boards, senior management teams, divisional leaders, and human resources roles and administration staff would be affected.

Mr Seers said about 200 people would be needed to staff the phone lines - roughly the number employed now.

While falling under the new contract, the National Poisons Centre will continue to be run by specialists in Dunedin.

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