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Where Can I Get Help for my Health Issues?

Where can I get help for my health issues?

When it comes to your health, it’s best to deal with them when they come up so you can avoid bigger problems later on. There are lots of free medical services for children and young people in New Zealand. You should use these, so you can avoid bigger health problems coming up. There are also ways you can complain if you don’t think you’ve been treated properly by a health professional.

Is healthcare for children free?

Most health services for children are free. This includes:

There are still some services that have to be paid for. For example, if you’re seeing an orthodontist, you will have to pay for it yourself.

You might not be able to get all these free services if you’re not a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident.

Do pre-schoolers get free healthcare?

All preschool children in New Zealand should get regular health checks as part of the Well Child-Tamariki Ora programme. These checks are carried out by a doctor, nurse or midwife when a child is born and at the ages of one week, six weeks, three months, five months, nine months, fifteen months, two years, three years and five years. This last check is usually done when a child starts school.

What is the Well Child – Tamariki Ora programme?

Well Child-Tamariki Ora checks look at how a child is growing and developing. They also check hearing, vision and immunisation. Details are recorded in the child’s Well Child-Tamariki Ora book which you should get when your child is born.

How much do family doctor or GP visits for children cost?

All children aged under 13, who are NZ citizens or permanent residents, are eligible for free daytime GP care. Any child who isn’t enrolled with a general practice can enrol for free.  Some after-hours visits to participating clinics will also be free. You should check before going.

The majority of general practices have opted into this scheme. You should check with your GP to ensure they’re participating.

To find a good GP, ask family and friends if they can recommend one, or contact your local Plunket or Citizens Advice Bureau.

How much do family doctors or GP visits for youths 13 and over cost?

If you enrol with a GP, the care of a youth 13 -17 will be subsidised – so you’ll pay a reduced consultation fee. It’s free to enrol with a GP. If you choose not to enrol, GPs normally charge a higher casual rate.

If you’re visiting a medical centre where you’re not enrolled, you’ll pay less if you have a Community Services Card or a High Use Health Card. Some general practices have also joined a ‘low cost access’ programme run by their primary health organisation. This means they get extra government funding to keep their fees at low levels. You can check with the GP before you enrol.

What are Primary Health Organisations (PHOs)?

A PHO is a community team of primary health-care providers (doctors, nurses and other health professionals) which is subsidised by the district health board to serve the health needs of their community.

If you want to enrol, ask your doctor if they are part of a local Primary Health Organisation (PHO) and if so, you will need to sign an enrolment form. You can only enrol in one PHO at a time, but you can change PHOs if you wish.

How much do prescriptions cost for children and young people?

Children under 13 years old are exempt from the standard $5 pharmacy charge for each prescribed item.

Most prescriptions for young people 13 and over will be subsidised at the normal $5 rate. A non-subsidised or partly subsidised drug may be prescribed but you may have to pay the extra cost.
You can receive extra subsidies if you or your parents are enrolled in a PHO or have a Community Services Card or High Use Health Card. You and your family may also be eligible for a Prescription Subsidy Card.

How much do dental care services cost for children?

Routine dental care is provided free for children until they turn 18. This includes regular check-ups and treatment. This is provided by a dental therapist, clinic or mobile unit at primary and intermediate schools and by participating dentists for secondary school students. You may need to pay for some specialist dental care though.

To find out which dentists in your area provide free care, ring your local District Health Board, or phone individual dental practices. Contact HealthLine on 0800 611 116.

Is all dental care for under 18s free?

Routine dental care for children under 18 is free. If a child or young person under 18 years needs specialist dental care, they may be referred to a hospital dental service or dentist. You may have to pay for this depending on what treatment is needed and which dentist you use — not all dentists take part in the government scheme that pays towards the cost of treating children. You will need to confirm with your dentist before getting treated.

Orthodontic treatment is not free and you are expected to pay all the costs.

Is there a standard fee for dental care?

There is no standard fee scale for dentists in New Zealand – how much you pay will depend on the treatment you need, material and laboratory charges and other costs. Ask about how much it will cost before starting treatment.

Are vision and hearing care free for children?

For school children, vision and hearing testers come to the school and check these for free. If there is a problem, they will be referred to the appropriate agency.

The cost of glasses will need to be paid for by the family unless the family is eligible for a Spectacles Subsidy, which requires you or your family to have a current community services card or a high use health card.

The cost of hearing aids (up to 21 years old if you are in full-time education) is funded at no cost through Enable NZ. Funding is available for both new and replacement hearing aids as well as for repairs and batteries.

Are mental health care services for children free?

Mental health services for children and young people up to 19 years old are provided free of charge. This includes assessment and treatment, crisis services, liaison and support for the family or whanau and services for children with special needs, such as attention-deficit disorders.

You would normally be referred to specialist mental health services by your GP or health worker.

I think I have a problem with alcohol or drugs, where can I go for help?

There are various organisation that can help:

  • The Alcohol Drug Helpline is a confidential information service for people with questions about their own, or someone else’s drinking or drug problems.
    0800-787-797,10am – 10pm, daily.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship to share your experience with others experiencing the same problems.
    0800 2296757 for the helpline.
  • Al-Anon Information Services & Alateen is a fellowship to share your experience with others experiencing alcohol problems.
  • Altered High is an Auckland -based alcohol and drug treatment/counselling service for young people, rangatahi aged 12-20 and their families who have any kind of worries about alcohol and drugs.
    (09) 845-1818
  • Community Alcohol & Drugs Auckland (CADS) is a free Auckland-based service for addiction to alcohol and drugs. They have a range of programmes available.
    (09) 845-1818
  • Odyssey House treats adults and young people with serious substance abuse and associated problems. They also have residential programmes available.
    (09) 623-0228
  • YouthLine provides general counselling services.
    0800 376-633 or (09) 376-6650
  • You can also contact your nearest Alcohol and Drug Clinic Centre listed in the phone book.

If you are unable to find support phone the Ministry of Youth Development (04) 916 3300 or free phone 0508 FOR MYD (367 693). You can also contact YouthLaw who will be able to suggest where help is available.

I want to complain about the healthcare I have received, can I do that?

Occasionally, a doctor or health professional might do something that you don’t think is appropriate. If you think they have acted inappropriately, the first thing is to try to discuss this with the health service. If you’re unable to resolve the issues satisfactorily, you can next make a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner.  Before complaining, you should seek the assistance of a health and disability advocate to try and work it out.

If you have a complaint about a disability support service funded by the Ministry, you can call free to 0800 DSD MOH (0800 373 664).

Another option is to complain to the organisation that oversees people in that profession. For complaints regarding doctors, you can find out who to complain to on the Medical Council of New Zealand website.


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