Data obtained by RNZ shows some Covid-19 Healthline callers were on hold for more than three hours at the start of the Delta outbreak.
In the week beginning 16 August 2021, the longest recorded wait time was 3 hours and 21 minutes.
The Healthline had 27,599 calls that week and 59 percent were abandoned.
The average wait time was just over 34 minutes.
Whakarongorau Aotearoa then brought on an extra 300 staff, to answer Covid-19 related calls.
In the following week, starting 23 August, there were 51,614 calls but the longest wait was reduced to 42 minutes.
The Ministry of Health told RNZ the data “shows the pressure the service experienced in the first week of the outbreak which was further compounded by the active rollout of the vaccine programme at the
It said “the abandonment rate includes those callers who disconnect their call after accessing self-serving advice from the information provided via the incoming voice recording”.