Health Care in New Zealand

There are several ways to access New Zealand’s health care services. 

If you need medical help and it is not an emergency, your first contact may be with a medical centre where you can visit a doctor or nurse. A doctor may also be referred to as a GP, general practitioner. They can give you medical advice and refer you for further tests or specialist treatment if needed. 

To find out more, visit

Primary and secondary health care

Primary health care refers to the medical care given by doctors, nurses and other health professionals, such as pharmacists and physiotherapists, in your community.  

Secondary health care services are usually based in a hospital or clinic and patients are usually referred to these services by a primary health care provider. 

Urgent care

Medical centres offering urgent care services, (sometimes known as Accident & Medical or ‘out of hours’ services), offer treatment for illness or injury that does not appear to be life threatening but can’t wait until the next day. You do not need an appointment to be seen at these centres. 

Urgent care centres provide access to health care for the times when the medical centre you would normally visit may be closed.

What does enrolment mean?

Enrolment, or registration, with a medical centre is free and means you can have cheaper doctors' visits and prescriptions.  This is because the Ministry of Health provides funds for eligible patients who enrol with a medical centre.  

For more details, visit our enrolment page here

For more information on New Zealand’s health care system, including funding, the Ministry of Health, District Health Boards (DHBs) and Primary Health Organisations (PHOs) visit here