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New Zealand is lucky enough to have always had a government who have publicly funded the healthcare system and who realise the importance of quality healthcare for its people. Excellent comprehensive lifelong medical care is almost free of charge and available to all New Zealand citizens and residents through more than 3,000 General Practitioners, medical centres, specialist services and hospitals.

Australian and British citizens benefit from a reciprocal health agreement between the governments which ensures that citizens and permanent residents from both countries can access public healthcare services.

Citizens from other countries working in New Zealand with a work permit of over two years are also eligible for public healthcare as are their children under the age of 18. Those with work permits of less than two years, students and visitors to New Zealand should arrange travel insurance for peace of mind as, although not denied access to the public health service, charges will be made.

Anybody who is hurt in an accident, even those who are not eligible for public healthcare, will have the majority of their treatment subsidized by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) a government funded body. If you are a New Zealand citizen, resident or two year plus work permit holder ACC will also pay 80% of your salary while you recover before returning to work.

Children under the age of 16, regardless of their immigration status, are eligible for free immunisations (polio, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis, etc). Children under the age of 18 who are eligible for public healthcare are also entitled to free dentist visits.

Your local doctor (General Practitioner, G.P) is your first point of call if you are ill or need medical advice. Most people have a family doctor who looks after every member of the family. You can choose which doctor or medical centre you would like to visit and register to qualify for subsidised rates. If you are not a registered patient of the doctor or medical centre you won’t be turned away for treatment, however, you will have to pay full cost, generally around NZ$60. Fees are generally payable immediately.

The following is covered by the public healthcare system:-

  • Free public hospital treatment (inpatient and outpatient)
  • Free accident and emergency treatment
  • Subsidies on prescription costs (approx cost of prescription $3 – $15)
  • Subsidised fees for visits to G.Ps (approx cost to visit G.P $25 – $35)
  • Subsidised fees for visits to referred visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths and other specialists
  • Free or subsidised healthcare for chronic or acute conditions
  • No charge for most laboratory tests and xrays
  • No charge for G.P hospital referrals

For specific information please refer to the Ministry of Health website

Importation of medication to New Zealand is strictly controlled by Customs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF). No prescription medicine may be posted to New Zealand from overseas and travellers to New Zealand may enter with a maximum of one month’s supply of a controlled drug and three month’s supply of a prescribed medicine. To avoid delay at customs keep medicine in the original packaging and carry a note from your doctor which outlines what the medication is, the medical condition it is for and the quantity required for the duration of your stay. Asking immigration consultants beforehand can also ease this process.

All in all, the New Zealand public healthcare system works extremely well; waiting lists generally aren’t too long and most illnesses can be treated in New Zealand. Private healthcare is also widely available and for those who feel better knowing they have access to both systems a wide variety of insurance providers would be more than happy to provide a health insurance policy.

Category Immigration Consultants | Posted on Thursday, July 29th, 2010


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