Information for patients
New Caledonia has its own public health system independent from France. The health infrastructure is funded by the New Caledonia medical insurance scheme and borrowings. There is investment in infrastructure to cater for the mental health and the aged sector.
The Directorate of Health and Social Affairs, headed by a director, is responsible for public health services. Health services are provided through public hospitals at the territorial level (centre hospitalier territorial), private clinics and hospitals, and health structures under provincial jurisdiction.
New Caledonia’s geographical isolation, far travelling distances from one island to another, and its sharp economic and social disparities all add to the difficulties of healthcare provision, especially for the elderly and disabled.
A new hospital in the capital, which includes a radiotherapy and cancer center, opened its doors in December 2016. With a capacity of more than 560 beds, the goal is to provide new services and improve existing care. It offers new specialized medical units (such as the geriatric acute care unit) and can accommodate teams from mainland France for on-the-spot operations.
In New Caledonia, as in mainland France, a large proportion of the population relies on private healthcare. Indeed, the private sector carries out a significant number of surgical procedures. It also has specialties that are not found in hospitals, especially in urology. This is why AFD has also supported the merger of three existing private clinics into a single facility with 210 beds, which has been rebuilt near downtown Nouméa. This contributes to providing a multidisciplinary hospital complex with modern on-site facilities tailored to needs.
Information for healthcare professionals
Attracting and keeping trained medical professionals has become an issue in New Caledonia over the recent years. There are also issues with succession planning as no interest is shown young students to study health / medicine. The country provides incentives for medical professionals to serve communities in the outer islands and areas away from Noumea.
Information for travellers
General health care facilities in New Caledonia are good for uncomplicated treatment, but more serious cases may require evacuation to Australia or France. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation.
The European Health Insurance Card ( EHIC) does not provide health cover in New Caledonia.
If emergency medical assistance is needed travellers should dial 15, 17 or 256767 and ask for an ambulance. They should immediately contact the insurance/medical assistance company when referred to a medical facility for treatment.
Link to Ministry of Health: http://www.dass.gouv.nc/