Health Services in New Zealand
All New Zealand residents are entitled to a number of services under the public health system. These include:
- Free public hospital treatment
- Free treatment at public hospital and emergency clinic
- Subsidies on prescription items
- Subsidised fees for visits by family members to general practitioners
- Subsidised fees for visits to physiotherapists, chiropractors and osteopaths when referred by a GP for an accident case
- Free or subsidised health care for those suffering from acute or chronic medical conditions
- No charge for most laboratory tests and x-rays
- No charge for health care during pregnancy and childbirth
- No charge for GP referrals to a public hospital for treatment
- Subsidies for children under six for visits to the doctor and for prescriptions
- Free breast screening for women aged between 45 and 69.
Your first point of contact with the health system will probably be your General Practitioner (GP), also known as your family doctor. New Zealand has about 3,200 GPs. These are located in almost every city, suburb and town throughout the country.
District Health Boards
There are 21 DHBs, organized around geographical areas, of varying population sizes, though they are not coterminous with the Regions of New Zealand.
District Health Boards in New Zealand are health management units accountable to the Ministry of Health. These have existed since 1 January 2001 when the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000 came into force. These units manage hospitals within their area and fund some primary care provisions.
The District Health Boards are given a set of objectives by the Ministry of Health, but have a degree of autonomy in how they choose to achieve these. In contrast to their predecessors, the Regional Health Authorities, the DHBs are non-profit providers. The performance of individual DHBs is monitored by the DHB Funding and Performance Directorate.
The DHBs are governed by boards, which consist of up to 11 members: seven elected by the public every three years, and up to four appointed by the Government's Minister of Health. These appointments are largely to balance the board's expertise as deemed necessary. Voting for public-elected DHB board members occurs through the Single Transferable Vote system.
New Zealand Ministry of Health
District Health Boards
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