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

Keep the hospital emergency department free for emergencies by choosing the right care for you and your whānau

This is  traffic light image showing you which care to choose for your situation. This is  traffic light image showing you which care to choose for your situation. This is  traffic light image showing you which care to choose for your situation.

Dark green: See your family doctor for all non-urgent concerns.

Light green: See your local pharmacy for advice on medication and minor health concerns.

Yellow: See your family doctor about which vaccine is right for you.

Light orange: Call 0800 611 116 for free health advice from a nurse.

Dark orange: If your family doctor is not available, go to your nearest Urgent Care Clinic.

Red: If it's a life threatening emergency, call 111.

Self care

For things like:

  • runny noses
  • grazed knees
  • mild cough.

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 medical professional free

You can phone Healthline on 0800 611 116 any time to talk to a health professional free of charge.


Call your family doctor 

For things like:

  • ear pain
  • vomiting
  • sore belly
  • backache
  • cuts
  • sprains
  • itchy rash
  • strain.

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

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.


Urgent and after-hours care

For things like:

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

Some general practices have extended opening hours. There are also Urgent Care Clinics across all of our districts. You’ll find their phone numbers, opening hours and other details on your local district health website.


Emergency Department (ED)

For things like:

  • heavy bleeding
  • broken bones
  • bad burns
  • chest pain
  • trouble breathing.

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

Your local district 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.