There's a wide range of health services in New Zealand. Find out what you can do to manage at home and where you can get help for you or your whānau’s health and wellbeing.
As a result of the pandemic, and winter colds and flu, the health system is overloaded. When you or your whānau get sick, it's important to think about whether you really need to ask for medical help or if you can manage your symptoms at home. The information below will guide you on what to do for yourself and then who to contact if you decide you need help.
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1. Look after yourself at home
For most minor illnesses and conditions there are lots of things you can do to manage your symptoms at home. Make sure you have a few basics, eg, pain killers, plasters and antiseptic cream on hand.
Remember to test for COVID-19 if you a fever (high temperature), cough, runny nose, sore throat or breathing problems. If you test positive, read more about what to do next.
Otherwise, we have information to guide you on how to look after yourself before asking for help. See our:
- Winter illnesses topics for information about managing colds, coughs, sore throats and aches and pains.
- Health A–Z section for information about specific health conditions
- Medications section for advice about medicines
- Healthy Living section for tips on exercise, mental health, managing long-term conditions and much more.
2. Call Healthline for advice
If you have a non-urgent concern or don’t know if your concern is urgent or not, call Healthline 0800 611 116 24 hours a day / 7 days a week for free health advice. The Healthline team includes registered nurses, paramedics and health advisors, who are specialists in assessing and advising over the phone on any health issue, no matter how small. Interpreters are available.
3. Get advice or medicines from your local pharmacy
Your local pharmacy provides free on-the-spot advice about medicines and health concerns like coughs and colds and vaccinations. They also provide specific services, eg, treatment for urinary tract infections, blood glucose and blood pressure checks. Read more about what pharmacists do or find a pharmacy near you.
4. Contact your general practice (GP)
If you haven’t done so already, register with a GP in your area, so you can have your own doctor. You can receive lower cost care (and sometimes free care) if you are enrolled with a GP. Use this link to find a doctor.
5. When it's urgent, your general practice is closed, but it's not an emergency
If your family doctor is not available your local Urgent Care Clinic (Accident and Medical), or after-hours clinic can provide urgent care for illnesses and injuries like sports injuries. Find an Urgent Care Clinic. To learn more about the fees charged by a particular clinic, visit their page on Healthpoint.
If you are not sure about where to go for urgent care services after hours, call your general practice who will have a recorded message or somebody to advise on what to do.
6. When it's an emergency
If it's an emergency, dial 111 (ffree) or go directly to your closest Emergency Department. Emergencies include anything that is life threatening, such as difficulty breathing, chest pains or uncontrolled bleeding, or when you have severe pain or other trauma. Find an emergency department.Treatment at the hospital is free, but if you go in an ambulance you will probably be charged for it. If you need one often it's a good idea to get a St John subscription.
7. Other helplines offering information and support
- 1737, Need to talk? - free call or text 24 hours, 7 days to connect with a mental health & addictions counsellor. Phone or text: 1737
- 0508 TAUTOKO (82 88 65) Suicide Crisis Helpline
- Alcohol Drug Helpline - 24 hours, 7 days. Ph 0800 787 797
- Lifeline - Ph 0800 543 354
- Depression Helpline - Ph 0800 111 757
- Youthline - free txt 234. Ph 0800 376 633
- Plunketline – 0800 933 922
- Family Violence Information Line - 0800 456 450
(Counties Manukau Health, NZ, 2018)
Where to go for care Healthpoint, NZ, 2022