Working as a Doctor in New Zealand - The Healthcare System
The New Zealand Healthcare System
District Health Boards (DHBs)
Healthcare is provided mainly within the public sector in New Zealand. There are 20 District Health Boards providing public healthcare throughout the country, 15 in the North Island and 5 in the South Island.
Primary healthcare, including general practice, out-patient services, and prescriptions, is funded by a combination of public subsidy and private contributions.
General Practitioners provide primary, community based, comprehensive and continuing patient-centred care to individuals, families and the community. Many general practices run as private businesses, but publicly funded organisations such as community trusts, accident and emergency services or Māori health providers also employ GPs.
GPs moving to New Zealand tend to start as a salaried GP, perhaps with the option to buy into the practice or take over the practice at a later date if they want to.
Practices are part of a regional Primary Health Organisation (PHO) which is overseen by the correspondent District Health Board. GPs, Practice Nurses, Māori health providers and other primary healthcare providers work together to meet the health requirements of the local people, with PHOs funded according to the demographics and needs of their population.
Secondary healthcare services, including acute hospital treatment, are free to those who meet the eligibility criteria. There has been an increase in New Zealanders who have private health insurance and there are many private hospitals.
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