Being prepared

One of the most important things you and your family can do to look after your health is to register with a general practice in your area, so you have your own doctor.

Your general practitioner (GP) or family doctor is the person who provides most of your primary health care (the first contact you or your whānau have with the health system). 

They can develop a relationship with you and have a better understanding of your unique health care needs. They’re the person you go to if you’re sick or if you need a check-up.

The Healthpoint website provides up-to-date information about healthcare providers in your area. Your local district health website also provides important information about your local hospital facilities and locations.

Get information about healthcare providers in your area on the Health Point website

Find your local district health website

Care at home

For things like:

  • runny noses
  • grazed knees
  • mild cough
  • fever
  • skin issues

Make sure you have a medicine cabinet with:

  • pain killers
  • plasters
  • antiseptic cream.

You can buy all these from your local supermarket. Go to your local pharmacy for medicine if needed.

Medical advice online

For helpful medical advice online, the Healthify He Puna Waiora website has easy-to-read information on a wide range of health conditions, including:

  • how to recognise symptoms 
  • prevention tips
  • self-care tips
  • treatment tips. 

Go to the Healthify He Puna Waiora website


Talk to a nurse free. You can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 at any time to talk to a nurse for free.

Nurses, paramedics and doctors are available to provide advice and information on what to do next.

Healthline has interpreters available for non English speakers.

The disability helpline is also available for free on 0800 11 12 13 or txt #8988, and can be accessed by using the NZ Relay Service.


Your local pharmacist is a registered health professional who can offer health advice on a range of common conditions and what kinds of medicine you might need.

They may also provide some vaccinations and free health checks.

Read about the minor conditions service available in selected parts of the country for Winter 2023 via local pharmacies.

Your GP, family doctor or medical centre

You can usually make appointments in person or virtually - meaning a phone or online meeting.

For things like:

  • feeling unwell
  • all vaccinations
  • injuries
  • long term care
  • ear pain
  • vomiting
  • sore belly
  • backache
  • bad cuts
  • sprains and strains
  • fevers and rashes

When you or someone in your family is not feeling well you should phone your usual general practice and book an appointment. Unless it's an emergency, when you should call 111 straight away.

You can also phone Healthline any time during the day or night on 0800 611 116 to talk to a health professional free of charge.

Accident and urgent care, and after-hours care centres

For things like:

  • feeling really sick and you need help now
  • bad cuts
  • bad bites
  • bad sprains.

Some general practices have extended opening hours.

There are also Urgent Care Centres across all of our districts.

You’ll find their phone numbers, opening hours and other details on your local area health website.


Emergency Department (ED) and Ambulance

Call 111 in an emergency.

This is for things like:

  • heavy bleeding
  • broken bones
  • bad burns
  • chest pain
  • severe pain
  • difficulty breathing

The Emergency Department at any hospital should be used in an emergency for critical or life-threatening situations.

Your local area health website lists your local hospitals.

If you cannot travel to the Emergency Department yourself, you should dial 111 and ask for an “ambulance”.

Download: Factsheet - The New Zealand Health System (PDF) - PDF, 1.2 MB

This flyer provides a general overview of our health system, the services provided, and where to go for help.