How to access healthcare

Advice on all aspects of healthcare, whether or not you have COVID-19.

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When to get medical advice

If you need urgent medical assistance for severe symptoms of any kind, or have a serious injury, call emergency services on 111, or go straight to hospital.

If you're concerned about any aspect of your health, contact your GP. Minor health issues can become more serious if ignored and it's important that you have the treatments and medications you need. You should not delay seeking help for any health needs.

If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 through contact with someone who has it, it’s important to let your family doctor know when you call.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, call your doctor or the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number on 0800 358 5453

For any other health concerns, call your doctor or the general Healthline number on 0800 611 116. All calls to Healthline are free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call Plunketline if you have questions about your child or baby’s health or wellbeing on 0800 933 922 and speak to a Plunket nurse. Plunketline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact your midwife for support and advice during pregnancy and postnatally.

Information in audio version

COVID-19 Welfare Advice includes information about seeking medical advice [MP3, 4.4 MB] 

If you don't have a medical need

Please only call Healthline or your doctor if you need medical assistance. If your call isn't about a medical issue, try to find answers to your questions on this website.

Health services at Alert Level 2

At Alert Level 2 general practices, community health, and addiction services are open. These services are provided in ways that keep everyone safe, which means appointments are mainly online or by telephone.

Hospitals are open for all emergency care, but outpatient appointments are mainly online or by telephone. Numbers of visitors are limited and if you’re allowed to visit these facilities, they’ll record your contact details. Facilities must follow hygiene and distancing practices.

Mental health and addiction in-patient and residential services are open.

Allied health providers such as physiotherapists, dietitians and dentists can open but they must have safety measures such as screens, personal protective equipment and contact tracing practices.

Health services at Alert Levels 3 and 4

Staying healthy is important so you should continue to seek primary healthcare during Alert Levels 3 and 4.

During Alert Levels 3 and 4, medical centres, pharmacies and hospitals are still open. You can access all the treatments, vaccinations and medicines that you need to stay well, whether or not you have COVID-19.

If you're concerned about any aspect of your health, call your GP. Your doctor may offer you a consultation by text, email, phone or video. This is to stop person-to-person contact. If, however, your doctor feels you need a consultation in person, they will organise this for you.

You're allowed to travel during Alert Levels 3 and 4 to access medical support. You can drive to a medical centre or hospital. Just call first so you know what to do when you get there. For example, you may be asked to use a particular entrance, or to wait outside in your car until you're called. If you're sick you should avoid public transport when travelling to a medical appointment.

Essential in-home care for those with disabilities or health conditions is permitted. Services will be modified to reduce the risks of COVID-19.

Getting tested for COVID-19

If you think that you need to get tested for COVID-19 you should contact your doctor or Healthline immediately.

Elective surgeries and procedures at Alert Level 2

Elective surgeries and procedures are done at Alert Level 2. However, there may be limited capacity and delays. Contact your doctor to discuss your ongoing care. 

Pre-natal care

If you’re pregnant the way you receive medical care may be affected. Your post-natal care may also be different.

During your pregnancy, you may have fewer face-to-face check-ups. Your midwife will still contact you over the phone or by video call.

When you give birth, maternity facilities may limit the number of visitors and support people you can have with you.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, inform your midwife or midwifery practice.

Guidance for pregnant women and those who have recently given birth (external link)

Flu vaccinations

Flu vaccinations continue to be an important part of the fight against COVID-19 and will help us reduce the pressure on our hospitals. For more information on the 2020 flu campaign, and to see if you’re eligible for a free vaccination, visit the Fight Flu website.

Fight Flu website (external link)

Pharmacies

Pharmacies are an essential service and are open at all Alert Levels. Pharmacies will only dispense 1 month of each prescription to make sure there's enough medication for everyone.

If you’re at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 you may want to ask someone to pick up your medicines on your behalf.

Hospital and hospice visits

There are some restrictions on who can visit hospital and hospice patients, when they can visit and for how long. You should contact the facility directly to understand their visiting policy.

Getting medical care when your visa has expired

It’s important that anyone with symptoms of COVID-19 contact Healthline for free on 0800 358 5453 or their doctor immediately.

District Health Boards will not share any information about the immigration status of individuals with Immigration New Zealand. You should seek medical advice if you're unwell.

Your treatment will be in complete confidence and your information will not be passed on to other agencies.

Last rites in a hospital, hospice, or private residence

Priests, Imam and religious celebrants can provide last rites in a hospital, hospice or private residence at Alert Level 2. If the person who is dying is in a health facility, they should work with the facility to make sure they adhere with the visiting policy and the relevant infection prevention and control procedures.

Find the latest health information

Are you or your whānau unwell? The best ways to get support are to:

  • call your family doctor for advice or information on all aspects of your health. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 through contact with someone who has it, it’s important to let your family doctor know.
  • call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number with any COVID-19 health-related concerns on 0800 358 5453. If you're outside New Zealand call +64 9 358 5453.
  • you can also call the general Healthline number on 0800 611 116 for any other health concerns.  All calls to Healthline are free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • call Plunketline if you have questions about your child or baby’s health or wellbeing on 0800 933 922 and speak to a Plunket nurse. Plunketline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • contact your midwife for support and advice during pregnancy and postnatally.
  • In an emergency, always call 111.

The Ministry of Health regularly updates its webpage with detailed health advice (external link)

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