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Doctors, dentists and prescriptions
Choose a doctor in your area and find out about enrolling.
Doctors set their own fees. Children and some people who need to visit their doctor often can get free or subsidised visits.
When you see a specialist, you’ll visit a medically trained and registered healthcare professional in that field of medicine. In most cases, you need to visit your General Practitioner (GP) first so they can refer you.
You pay $5 for each new prescription item.
If you've paid for 20 prescriptions in a year (from 1 February), you won’t have to pay the $5 charge for any new prescriptions until 1 February the next year.
Basic dental services are free until you’re 18. If you need dental care after 18, and you're on a low income or have a disability, illness or injury, you can apply for government help.
Free health services for children
Phone 0800 933 922 to get advice about child health and parenting.
Immunisation protects children from many serious diseases. It also stops disease spreading within your family and the community.
Your child’s health will be checked regularly while they grow.
Help in your home
If you have a disability or ongoing health problems, ask for an assessment to see if you can get help with getting dressed, showering or other personal care.
If you have a disability, an injury or ongoing health problems, a nurse or other health professionals can visit you to help with medications and other medical needs.
If you have a disability or ongoing health problems, ask for an assessment to see if you can get help with your diet, cooking, meals or shopping for food.
If you have ongoing health problems, an injury or a disability, you can get help with housework, buying furniture or appliances, and some essential maintenance. First check that you’re eligible.
Improving safety in your home by installing hand rails or a ramp can help you manage more easily in your home if you have a disability or an injury.
If you're ill or have a disability, you can apply for help with the cost of heating your home. What you can get depends on your circumstances and also your income and assets.
You can apply for government help to pay for a monitored medical alarm service if you have an ongoing illness or disability.
If you have a concern, contact your service provider. You can also contact the government agency that funds your care, or the Health and Disability Commissioner.
If you need help to stay in your home, or long-term care in a rest home or hospital, you can only get government help if you have a needs assessment first.
As part of your needs assessment, a care plan is developed especially for you. Everyone supporting you uses this plan to deliver the services you need in your home.
Financial help and services
Work and Income supply the Community Services Card (CSC) on behalf of the Ministry of Health to help lower healthcare costs.
If you have a disability or illness you might be able to get an allowance, subsidy or loan to help with your expenses. Financial assistance is available for all citizens.
Disability Allowance is a weekly payment from Work and Income for people who have regular, ongoing costs because of a disability.
If you get NZ Super or a Veteran’s Pension, and you have a disability or health concern, you can apply for financial help or use services provided by the government to meet your health needs.
Grants funded by Lotto help to pay for equipment for disabled people who want to be more closely involved in their communities.
If you visit your doctor more than 12 times in a year, talk to your doctor about the High Use Health Card to lower the cost of the visits.
Rest homes and residential care
There are 4 types of full-time residential care. Providers sometimes offer more than one type of care within the same property.
When you can no longer manage in your own home, you can move into a rest home or hospital. Your doctor, other health professionals, and your family or whānau can help you decide where to move and when.
You choose the rest home or hospital that you want to move to and can afford.
You’re responsible for paying for your own care. You can apply for government help if you can’t afford all or some of the cost of your care.
The services offered by residential care providers vary from one to another. They must tell you about the services they offer and be clear about which ones you pay extra for.
When you move into residential care in a rest home or hospital, you sign a contract, and get information about your rights and responsibilities.
There are different steps to take depending on your complaint, but tell the manager of the rest home or hospital first — they may be able to fix the problem.
Public health services
If you’re eligible, you can get free or subsidised health, maternity and disability services in NZ.
Ring registered nurses 24 hours a day for health advice.
If you’re coming to NZ to work you'll need to make sure you’re covered if you have a health problem.
How to select, prepare and cook food safely.
If you’re selling or giving away food, you need to make sure you follow food hygiene regulations.
Food labels help you make informed choices about the products you buy.
500 New Zealanders a day get food poisoning. It’s a serious risk if you’re sick, pregnant, very young or elderly.
Date printed 29 June 2022