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Healthcare in New Zealand


New Zealand is located on the south-western part of the Pacific Ocean. The country is composed of two large islands, namely the South Island and the North Island, and a hundred other smaller islands; the most notable of which are the Chatham Islands and Stewart Island.

Healthcare basics

Before you finally decide to migrate to New Zealand, it is important that you fully understand the healthcare system, since it greatly varies from European and American medical systems. It is essential that you know what you will be paying for, the levels of healthcare to expect, and where to find medical specialists.

The first thing that you should be aware of is the certain degrees of care that are offered for free under the public healthcare scheme. This applies to residents and to those with working permits which allow them to temporary reside in New Zealand. These services include prescriptions and treatments at public hospitals, x-rays and laboratory tests (when carried out in a public hospital or clinic), service charges for pregnant women, dental care for children of school age, and breast screenings for women aged fifty and over. Other free services offered include subsidized general practitioner referral visits, treatments for patients suffering with chronic conditions and subsidized prescriptions for children aged six or below.

If you are truly attracted to the thought of living in the rural areas, be aware that healthcare services in these areas can be limited. With that in mind, you should also be aware of the fact that you may have to drive for quite a distance to seek basic medical assistance, as most of the specialists are located in large towns and cities. Aside from paying for your visits to your general practitioner, you will also have to pay for prescriptions and any dental treatments. These can be quite expensive, so international health insurance is recommended. This ensures that you are generally covered for medical expenses in the event of an emergency, that your daily medical needs are met, and that you are aware of what you will have to pay on your claims.


Since there is a notable increase in the number of expatriates in New Zealand, the national government has made it a point to provide them with quality healthcare services. New Zealand has both private and government hospitals, and a number of specialist clinics located in certain parts of the country. The hospitals have the latest equipment in the medical industry, and their medical practitioners have received schooling and training from the top medical schools in the world. Therefore, the cost of hospitalization can be expensive, especially in private medical facilities.


New Zealand has a number of standby ambulances prepared and properly equipped for emergency situations.


Medicines in New Zealand are notably more expensive than those sold in other countries. However, with the right healthcare system and private healthcare insurance, buying medicines becomes less of a financial concern.


Pharmacies in New Zealand are managed by experts who have practiced their profession for some time. New Zealand also has strict guidelines in relation to obtaining medicines that are not duly prescribed by the doctor.