New Zealand

Information for patients
In New Zealand all major towns have a hospital. If you need to see a specialist at a hospital your regular GP will arrange an appointment. This is called a ‘referral’. There will be a wait unless it is an emergency. You will get a letter with an appointment date and time. Most hospitals expect you to ring and confirm the appointment. 

It’s free to enrol with a general practice – but they may charge a consultation fee each time you go to see them after that. General practices normally charge a higher fee, often called a casual rate, for patients that aren’t enrolled with their practice.

If you are seriously ill or injured you may need to go to the emergency department (ED) at your closest hospital.  Dial 111 for a St John’s ambulance. Use of the ambulances is for emergencies only, you may need to pay. 
Specialist care is free through the public health system, but you may go on a waiting list.

Those want to get specialist advice quickly may wish to use a private hospital or specialist. A fee must be paid, unless you have private health insurance. Specialists visits in private hospitals start from 150 dollars for a first consultation.

Information for health professionals
To work as a healthcare professional in New Zealand, you first have to confirm eligibility for registration. All matters to do with registration and examination are administered by the Medical Council of New Zealand
?Vacancies for doctors in New Zealand are advertised in a number of medical publications, including:

  • The New Zealand Medical Journal
  • New Zealand Doctor

Information for travellers
Both public and private hospitals in New Zealand accept health insurance. Travellers will be able to choose between international health cover and local health insurance providers. It is advisable to check insurance fees in advance because New Zealand is known to have high medical insurance fees.
Some optometrists and opticians can give free eye checks and glasses to former refugees. Speak to staff at Work and Income New Zealand on how to get financial assistance for these services. 

Link to Ministry of Health: