Cyclone Gabrielle healthcare support

Healthcare appointment and medicines support for cyclone damaged areas of Aotearoa

Te Whatu Ora Health New Zealand is helping people affected by Cyclone Gabrielle get access to healthcare.

Te Whatu Ora is funding primary care support through pharmacies, clinical telehealth and general practices. They are aware that whānau and communities have been affected differently depending on where they are located, so the services provided will look different depending on your situation and where you live.

Primary healthcare 

  • General practices who have no available appointments, or can't operate due to the Cyclone, will have systems in place to refer patients (both enrolled and non-enrolled) to a funded 24/7 clinical telehealth service where they can access a doctor.  
  • A number of other virtual clinical care options are also being funded to support people in impacted areas. 
  • Funded visits to general practice, accident and medical, and urgent care are available in Hawke’s Bay from now until 19 March 2023. Te Whatu Ora will closely monitor the situation and decide if an extension is required.

If you need medical help, contact your healthcare provider and they will advise you on what is available in your area.


  • Te Whatu Ora is making getting your medicines easier. The service available to you depends on your situation and where you are located.  
  • People in Northland, Tairawhiti, Tararua and Hawke’s Bay don’t need to pay a prescription charge when picking up medicines from pharmacies.
  • People who have been displaced or are unable to return to Hawke’s Bay, Tairāwihiti, Tararua or Northland don’t need to pay a prescription charge when picking up medicines from pharmacies.
  • A pharmacist can provide up to 14 days’ supply of medicines without a prescription in specific parts of the country. Things to note:
    • If you can’t get a new prescription from your usual prescriber (general practice) you can get 14 days’ supply from a pharmacy in most cases. 
    • You need to be taking the medicines already. If you need a new medicine, you will need a prescription – you can get this by contacting your general practice or Healthline 0800 611 116.  
    • If you have a list of your medicines (eg, a prescription receipt, a hospital ‘yellow card’, or a list from Manage My Heath) take it with you to the pharmacy.  
    • If you have them, it can also be useful to show the pharmacists the medicine bottles or boxes of the medicines you normally take.
    • Not all medicines are available by an emergency supply. Your pharmacist will advise you if you need a prescription for any of your medicines. 

If you need medicines, or advice about your medicines, contact a pharmacy in your area to find out how they can help you. 

Telehealth – Healthline 0800 611 116 

  • Call Healthline 0800 611 116 anytime day or night for free health advice. 
  • Speak to nurses, paramedics, advisors, and doctors for trusted health advice and information.  
  • Doctors can provide consultations if you are unable to access a GP or are not enrolled, answer questions about your medication and help with prescriptions over the phone.  
  • You can call Healthline for free from anywhere in Aotearoa and the team will help you.  

Telehealth – Mental Health and Wellbeing Support 1737 

  • Extreme weather events such as these are very distressing and can have a significant impact on our mental wellbeing.  
  • It’s normal to feel stressed or anxious during times of extreme difficulty. Some people may find this time much harder than others.  
  • Call or text 1737 anytime to talk with a counsellor for support, advice, and ideas to help right now.  

Telehealth – Disability Helpline 0800 111213 or text 8988 

  • A person with experience or knowledge of disability will answer your call from 8am to 8pm to connect you with information and support. After 8pm, calls are answered by a trained member of the Healthline team. 
  • For assistance, contact the NZ Relay Service
  • This helpline was originally established as a dedicated COVID Disability Helpline but is also able to help with any general health concerns.