Enrolment is only available to those who are eligible.
If you are an international student you will not be eligible to 'enrol' but you can ‘register’ with a family doctor.
You will also need to be covered by medical insurance to pay for the doctor’s treatment and other health services.
Having a regular doctor is important to your overall health and wellbeing. Your local doctor can help you keep healthy and well, and can often help you access other health services.
If you’re enrolled with a GP practice, you get special benefits including:
Cheaper fees at your regular doctor
Enrolment is easy, costs nothing and benefits you, your family as well as your community.
New Zealand’s health system may work quite differently from health systems in other countries. In New Zealand, there is primary and secondary healthcare.
Primary healthcare is what you receive when you visit your local or family doctor (GP). It is professional healthcare that is probably close to where you and your family live and work. It also includes dentists, practice nurses, midwives, physiotherapists, counsellors and other community-based providers.
Your primary healthcare provider (such as your regular doctor) is generally your first point of call for medical treatment. They may refer you to a hospital or specialist; this is called secondary care.
Your local doctor can help you keep healthy and well, and will be able to treat many injuries and illnesses. If you have a serious injury or illness, you should go to a public hospital emergency department.
Most GPs in New Zealand belong to a Primary Health Organisation (PHO). PHOs aim to deliver primary healthcare services to the people in its community at an affordable cost.
By having GPs, practice nurses, Maori health providers and other primary healthcare providers working together in a PHO, the health requirements of the community the PHO serves will better met.
PHOs are funded according to the needs of their population. Essentially this means that in poorer areas, or in areas where the population is much older or has higher health needs, the GPs and other health providers can offer cheaper visits and services because they receive more public funds.
You need to be eligible for public health services in New Zealand. In general, if you are a New Zealand citizen, permanent resident or holder of a work visa of two years or longer, you can enrol. Check if you are eligible for New Zealand public healthcare.
To enrol, simply contact the practice/medical centre where your regular doctor is based. Usually you will have to complete a form which the doctor, nurse or receptionist will give you. The form will ask for your details such as name, age, date of birth, address and ethnicity. The information collected at enrolment comes under the Privacy Act 1993 and the Health Information Privacy Code 1994, so the privacy of your information is protected.
Yes, you can enrol any children in your care if they are 16 years of age or under. Simply ask at the practice’s reception area to find out what you need to do.
No. If they are over the age of 16, they need to enrol themselves, unless you have Power of Attorney or you are their authorised representative. You can, however, take enrolment forms and information home for other adult family members.
In most areas, you will still have to pay to see your GP or nurse. But there are exceptions, depending on factors such as whether you live in a poorer area, or in an area where there are high numbers of people with poorer health, or if the visit is for a child under 6. Check with the practice/medical centre you’re enrolled with or are looking to enrol with.
No. You should enrol with the practice/medical centre you use most often. This doesn’t mean you can’t visit another practice/medical centre, but you won’t receive benefits such as cheaper visit fees.
Yes, but you won’t receive benefits such as cheaper visit fees.
You can leave or change your GP at any time. Simply enrol with your new GP. The change will be notified to the Ministry of Health, which will advise your old GP’s PHO that you have enrolled somewhere else. They will not give the name of your new practice/medical centre or PHO. Please note that it may take some time for the transfer process to be completed. This means that you might not be able to immediately access the benefits that come with being enrolled with your GP (such as cheaper doctor visits).
Yes, you can still use your Community Services Card for all the same services.
Some enrolled people may find that they do not need their Community Services Card to get low-cost health care, but choose to hold on to it in case, for example, when they are out of town and need to see a doctor.
For more information about getting the Community Services Card you can contact Work and Income New Zealand toll free on 0800 999 999.
When you enrol, the GP’s PHO uses the information collected from you to build an enrolment register. This register is sent to the Ministry of Health where your information will remain confidential.
The Ministry of Health needs this information to calculate the funding that is given to the Primary Health Organisation, keep your details up-to-date, and monitor quality of care.
Enrolment is completely voluntary. If you choose not to enrol, you will still be able to visit any GP to get the care you need. You won’t, however, receive benefits such as cheaper visit fees.