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Health Service in New Zealand

This wiki cannot and is not a definitive guide to the NZ health system, just a personal observation as I and friends go through the system.

Family Doctor

This process is much the same as the UK, choose a local practice and register with a doctor. A visit to the doctor initially will cost $60, reducing to $40 per visit when registered within the health system. (These costs vary depending on the practice, I suspect we are in the upper price bracket, but doctors visits do not impose much on our living costs).

Prescriptions cost about $3 per item per 3 months supply (much cheaper then) but a repeat prescription form will cost $18, still works out cheaper than the UK though.

Doctors as with all professions deal on first name terms, both ways, so much less stuffy. We have found the doctors spend as much time with you as needed and are willing just to chat, they also will chase on your behalf much more and ring you at home personally. For info and a recommendation I am registered with Graham Witney at Crawford Medical Centre based in Howick. See:

Ambulance Service

The ambulance service is run by St Johns and some services are charged for, see:

Hospital and Operations etc.

My first encounter with the health system was prompted by picking up an 1150gs motorbike. Yes I got a hernia, but nothing showed for a while. Eventually when I went to the doctor, but it was several weeks later. Approx. a month later, I visited the local Super Clinic in Manukau and because of the waiting list was operated on six weeks later at a private clinic in Remuwera. I have no medical insurance and this was all free. Absolutely no complaints, quite pleased really. (Because of jobs etc. I always health insurance in the UK, but only used it once)

One important point from the above, if I had been quicker of the mark going to the doctor, I could have claimed for the treatment on ACC, because technically the injury was caused by an accident, what difference this would have made to the outcome I am not sure, maybe the op. would have been quicker?

Super Clinic Link:

ACC Link:


This not from personal experience, we have friends having a baby, still months away though. All procedures have been similar to the UK. The delivery process seems to give more options, for example they can book a double room if available for the delivery and the stay in hospital after birth is 5 days.

The baby has arrived, but not asked any details of the hospital stay.

Lee, Laura and Charlotte

More to follow

Triple Bypass

A minor heart attack on holiday in South Island caused a short stay in Dunedin Hospital (excellent treatment) and was diagnosed with terrible plumbing to the heart; 80, 90 100% blockages.

Day 17 – Dunedin and Hospital

The outcome of all this was that Dunedin were going to operate on me within a week, but we were on holiday and Terri would be stuck around for a couple of weeks while I recovered, so I postponed the inevitable and planned to have the operation in Auckland.

Against all advice I finished our holiday and reported in to our doctor. At this point things got stuck in admin, not our doctors fault, but the hospital admin system. This lost 3 weeks, but as we had friends visiting and and an extended stay care of Iceland, I was not pushing. (there is always a reason to put off operations).

Graham our doctor finally lost his patience and kicked up hell, an appointment was arranged 3 days later at the Super Clinic.

Arrive Super Clinic at 1:15 for 1:30, Tuesday

  • 1:20 had ECG
  • 1:30 saw Cardiologist
  • 1:50 Ultrasound on Heart
  • 2:10 Blood Test
  • 2:25 Xray
  • 2:35 saw cardiologist again and told I would be contacted by the weekend
  • 2:50 on the way home

Monday morning rung from Middlemore hospital by staff to say I would be admitted that Wednesday.

The system at this point may work well for patients who feel and look unwell. You are admitted to Middlemore to get you on the urgent waiting list for the op., but major heart surgery is performed at Auckland Hospital, a teaching hospital. I was admitted to Middlemore because Bucklands Beach is within its catchment area. I am, although pushing my luck, neither feel or look unwell, and I am bored stiff. I dress as soon as I have showered and keep wandering off up the road for a walk.

Middlemore is a modern hospital and is very clean!! Staff great

Been here for 6 days now, although I was let out at the week end for a few hours each on Sat. and Sun. Waiting for the call, may be today.

Well I have been transferred after being cancelled out due to an emergency. At 17:45 a call came through that I was being shipped to Auckland. Brand new hospital, I have a private on suite room and oodles of space, really posh, better than the Cromwell hospital back in Kensington were I worked. Operation probably tomorrow afternoon, but still not certain.

Operation went ahead, they did the quad. Its now Saturday, I have not felt like writing wikis for the last three days.

Its all going well and I should be home shortly. I am in a four bedded ward, with separate on suite toilet and shower and of course we have a diabolical snorer, gave up trying to sleep in bed and stretched out on the TV lounge sofa, may do the same tonight.

Caught by the Protocols

I have to spend an extra 2 days in hospital because of written protocols and guidance. If it had not been the weekend I would have been released on day 4 after the op. but because wires were to removed from my heart, guidance states that this can only be done during the working week, just in case you end up back in theatre.

Its now Monday the wires have been removed and I need 24 hours of supervision before release.

Tues. day 6 post op. and I am released, a textbook case really with no complications. Now at least a month before driving, no lifting greater than 2 Kg, no walking up hills. it is going to be a long month.

Auckland City Hospital

I have more experience of hospitals then most, having been Estates manager for a NHS trust and Building services manager for a private hospital in Kensington. The main point about auckland hospital is space, the staff have much more room for admin. and clinic rooms than either of my previous hospitals. The reception area is like a small airport with swaves of seating and open areas plus a small shopping / cafeteria complex.

ICU were I spent the first few hours post op.:

Staff: The obvious cliche is that they were great and they were. The best comment I can think of was they had time to look after you.

The hospital was modern and clean

Follow up

Three days after leaving hospital, I visited the doctor and the nurse removed the last of the staples on my leg. Cost of visit $81 total

Another 3 days, a visit to the nurse for the final dressing to be removed, $10

I have a visit to the cardiologist in late June and that should be it.

Total personal cost of entire operation and follow up $91.

Now three weeks after the op. I asked for an earlier appointment with the cardiologist and was given one for 4 days later. The reason for the hurry is that Terri is in the UK looking after her sick mum and I would like to join her. Anyway booked my flight for 2 days after the cardiologist visit. Great the doctor says “go for it” in regards the flight “just take a higher dose of aspirin”. Booked a gardener and cleaner (Terri's son is looking after the house!!) and UK here I come. I am not looking forward to the flight and would prefer to spend the money on a trip to one of the South Pacific Islands, but that will after wait.

I have got another load of drugs to keep me going, 4 different drugs, times 3 months, cost $12 plus $18 for the repeat form from the doctor, total $30, not bad.

Starship Children's Hospital

Atrium of Starship, top and bottom views

Starship is the children's section of Auckland City Hospital, I have no first hand knowledge of the treatment but believe it to be high world standards. It certainly looks welcoming.

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living_in_new_zealand/new_zealand-health_service.txt · Last modified: 2010/11/02 12:36 by art
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