General practitioner

There are over 3,500 doctors (GPs) in New Zealand located in almost every city, town and suburb. To find a GP you can look in the front of the White Pages telephone book, under ‘Registered Medical Practitioners and Medical Centres’. You can also find Medical Centres in your area via this website. When you call a Doctors clinic and medical centre you can request a male or female GP and take a companion with you to an appointment.
If you have to see someone suddenly, you can use the after hours service that GP practices offer. You can use these services even if you are not enrolled with them, but you will pay a higher, subsidised price.If you have questions or you do not know what to do or who to see, call Healthline on 0800 611 116.


Enrolling with a GP
Enrolling with your local doctor will save you money and help keep you and your family healthy. Enrollment is easy, costs nothing and benefits you, your family and your community. When you enrol, you pay less for visits to your regular doctor and you pay just $5 for each subsidised medicine the doctor prescribes for you. In addition to this:

  • Your doctor’s practice will help you take part in prevention programmes, such as cervical and breast screening, and it will send you immunisation reminders for your children.
  • The practice will help you to manage conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure and to address other health-related issues, such as smoking, to achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Because you and your doctor will probably be seeing each other for a number of years, you should choose a doctor and a practice you feel comfortable with. Remember to ask about the fees the practice charges.


Who can enrol?
If you are a New Zealand citizen or resident, you are eligible for the full range of publicly funded health and disability services. This is also generally the case if you hold a residence class visa; you hold a work visa that allows you to stay in New Zealand for at least two consecutive years; or you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident staying in New Zealand for two years or more. International students are not eligible to enrol and should make sure they have medical insurance.
If you are not eligible to enrol, you will still find it useful to register with a doctor as a non-enrolled patient at that general practice. Registration does not entitle you to cheaper visits or to subsidised medicines, but it does bring many of the other benefits of enrolling such as building up a relationship with a family doctor who can support you and your family’s needs.


How to enrol?
If you are eligible, enrolling is easy – and free. It can take up to three months for enrollment to take place, so it is a good idea to enrol now, even if you are completely healthy. Contact the health provider you prefer and ask if they are accepting more patients. When you enrol, take along any forms of identification and medical records you are asked for. If you are changing general practices, your medical records will be transferred to your new practice once you have completed your enrollment form.

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