Mums hit as Plunket struggles

Herald on Sunday Feb 15, 2009

The futures of some Plunket Family Centres around the country may be in the balance as the credit crunch causes extra problems for the cash-strapped organisation. The 21 centres are a lifeline for sleep-deprived new mums struggling to settle, feed or care for their babies. But with limited government grants and a reliance on community fundraising, many are reassessing their services.

Plunket general manager of operations Jenny Prince said the Ministry of Health fully funded Plunket Well Child services, including regular “milestone” checks. That grant increased by $2.9m this year. Family centres, which dealt with 9500 consultations last year, were part-funded by the ministry but relied heavily on donations. There is some good news on the horizon for Plunket, with the Government expected to announce plans to fully reinstate previously scrapped Plunketline.