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Visitors to New Zealand

Visitors to New Zealand may need to access healthcare whilst here and many find the walk-in access available at Riccarton Clinic to be a convenient way of doing so. Different rules apply to the provision of health services to non-residents and some details of this are given in the section below.

New Zealand is a developed country with good quality medical services, divided into 'primary care' and 'secondary care'.

Primary care is the usual first point of care that most people access. This is commonly a GP (general practitioner) or 'family doctor'. You have to pay for this service. Practices are allowed to set their own rates to charge casual patients or visitors. Enrolling at the practice reduces the cost but is only possible for NZ citizens or permanent residents, or those with a work visa of two years or more. See the Enrolling With Us page for more details.

Secondary care is usually defined as specialist care that you may be referred to after your visit to the GP. These services are usually run out of the larger hospitals and include, for example, specialist diabetes services, specialist eye services, and hospital services.

Medication costs the same amount throughout New Zealand. If you are a resident in NZ you will pay $5.00 for each prescription item. The charge for a non-resident (unless coming from a reciprocal country like Australia or the UK) will be Not Subsidised and the full cost of the medicine will apply.

If a visitor to New Zealand requires ambulance transport the cost can be very high.

It is strongly recommended that visitors to New Zealand have medical insurance, provided through their travel insurance, even if a 'reciprocal arrangement' is in place with their home country.