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Healthcare in New Zealand
New Zealand’s health care system is widely regarded as one of the best in the OECD countries (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Under the public system, essential heath care is provided free to all residents. This means that while some routine services, such as visits to doctors and dentists have to be paid for, more costly services, such as hospital treatment are available free to all residents.

Publicly funded health services include:
Free public hospital treatment
Free 24-hour accident and emergency treatment at public hospital clinics
Subsidies on medicines and prescription items
Subsidised fees for visits to General Practitioners (GPs)
Subsidised fees for specialist care
Subsidies for children under six for visits to the GP and for prescriptions
Government-funded accident compensation (ACC), which applies to everyone, including visitors to the country.
In addition to the public health system you can also choose private health care to supplement the public system.

Who is eligible for public healthcare?
New Zealand’s public healthcare system is available to all New Zealand citizens and residents, and in some other cases.

You will be eligible:
Once you achieve residency or citizenship OR
If you hold a work permit for 2+ years under the Work to Residence policy OR
If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident and intend to live in New Zealand for at least two years OR
If you are under 18 and your parent or guardian qualifies OR
If you are a student on a Commonwealth Scholarship.
If you do not fall into a category listed above, you may need to pay for your own healthcare and it would be advisable to take out medical insurance until you are eligible for the public health care.

More details about who is eligible are available at: www.moh.govt.nz/eligibility
New Zealand has both a public and private healthcare system, and both offer high standards of care.

The public system
The government-funded public health system works on a community-oriented model, with three key sectors.

District Health Boards
District Health Boards (DHBs) are funded by the government and are responsible for providing or funding health and disability services in their district. There are 21 DHBs in New Zealand and they typically run the public hospitals, providing acute medical and surgical services, and community, ambulatory and mental health services.

Primary Health Care
Primary health care covers a broad range of out-of-hospital services, although not all of them are government funded. Primary health care includes first level services such as general practice, mobile nursing and community health services targeted especially for certain conditions (such as maternity, family planning and sexual health services, mental health services and dentistry, or those using particular therapies such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and osteopathy services)

PHOs (Primary Health Organisations)
PHOs are the local structures for delivering and co-ordinating primary health care services. PHOs bring together doctors, nurses and other health professionals (such as Maori health workers, health promotion workers, dieticians, pharmacists, physiotherapists, psychologists and midwives) in the community to serve the needs of their enrolled patients.

The private system
Private healthcare in New Zealand includes specialist services, primary care and private hospitals which provide non-urgent and elective treatments that complement the public health service's focus on urgent and essential treatments.

Private hospitals and clinics around the country provide a range of services, including recuperative care, elective procedures, general surgical procedures and private radiology clinics and testing laboratories.

There are also many private accident, emergency and medical clinics that operate in the private sector, often providing services outside the usual hours of doctors and clinics in the public system.

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