Currently 20 regional District Health Boards (DHBs) provide or organise health services across the country. The way our health system operates and where attention is focused is about about to change. It is expected that the necessary legislation to support these changes will be passed in mid 2022. We will keep you updated.
In the meantime, the following applies.
- Primary and community based services are the services we are most familiar with, especially our local general practices. They are staffed by a range of health professionals including doctors, nurses etc. As these services are usually privately owned, they can set their own fees. Services may be government subsidised i.e., free, or low cost to those who meet specific criteria including their ability to pay. Other community-based services include physiotherapy, occupational therapy, pharmacy, home support services, residential care etc.
- Secondary services which include emergency services, specialist services including medical, diagnostic, surgical and some maternity services are based at the main public hospitals. Unless the situation is an emergency then a referral from a health professional is required. These services are generally free.
- Private hospitals offer surgical, diagnostic, and maternity services. These are available only to those who privately pay although there are a few exceptions e.g., some maternity and diagnostic services in some areas.
- Phone Healthline freephone 0800 611 116 if you cannot afford a service and/or need advice.
- The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) provides compulsory insurance cover for personal injury for everyone in New Zealand, whether a citizen, resident, or visitor. Depending on your injury ACC may pay for some of your medical costs, other injury related costs and for approved support.