General practices are at the centre of health care in New Zealand and are your starting point for most services.
If it’s an emergency, call 111
What is a general practice?
General practices are, in most instances, your starting point for your health care needs. They are medical practices where clinicians will work as a team. For example, sometimes it may be necessary to see the doctor (General Practitioner, or GP), while other times you may be treated by a nurse.
General practices cover a wide range of services, including immunisation, diagnosing and treating common illnesses and injuries, supporting mental health needs, helping you manage ongoing health conditions, and referring you to other services where more specialist expertise is required. Some general practices will have particular strengths, such as sexual health.
It’s free to enrol with a general practice. After enrolling they will charge you a consultation fee when you go to see them.
The cost of a consultation is subsidised by the government for enrolled patients. This means if you are not enrolled with a general practice, but need to go to one as a 'casual' patient, it will usually cost more.
How do I enrol with a general practice?
Anyone who is eligible for publicly funded primary health services in New Zealand can enrol with a general practice. To find out if you’re eligible, visit the Ministry of Health website. You can choose the general practice that you enrol in, in New Zealand.
You should contact the general practice itself for details on how to enrol. You can search below to find a general practice and the relevant contact details.
How much does a consultation cost?
Consultations vary between general practices. Fees information can be found on each general practice's page in this website - go to the link below or look them up on Southern Health A-Z | Southern Health | He hauora, he kuru pounamu
Very Low-Cost Practices
Some GPs offer Very Low-Cost Access (VLCA) charges. A VLCA practice meets specific eligibility criteria that reduce the cost to patients. Patients wanting to know if the practice they attend is part of the VLCA scheme should ask their doctor or practice nurse.
What is a Health Care Home?
Some general practices in the Southern region are joining the Health Care Home programme. These are general practices that may offer more flexible options for consultations, a wider range of services and a team approach to patients’ care. Patients wanting to know if the practice they attend is part of the Health Care Home programme should ask their doctor or practice nurse.