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New Zealand - Doctors, Dentists and Other Health Services
When you first register with a GP he/she will go through your medical history and your family’s medical history. You will undergo a number of standard health checks when your register, such as blood pressure, so that these details can be recorded on your medical files for future reference. With some practices, these health checks are carried out by a practice nurse rather than a doctor and you will only see the doctor if there is some cause for concern. Once you have registered with a GP there is no requirement for you to stay with them indefinitely and you can change at any time, although you will have to go through the registration process with each new practice.
There is a fee for seeing a GP, although there are government subsidies in place for many categories of people, such as children and the elderly. In some cases treatment is free but this will depend upon your circumstances. In cases where there are no subsidies available it is possible to obtain a health insurance policy which will cover the cost. Each doctor’s surgery sets its own fees, although these tend to be very similar. Each patient is within their rights to contact different surgeries to compare prices before deciding which one to register with. If you have a complaint you can contact the Medical Council of New Zealand to report it for investigation.
In some General Practice clinics doctors may also provide services which are usually associated with hospitals such as minor surgery. This is particularly true in rural areas where the nearest hospital may be some distance away. The Medical Council of New Zealand publishes guidelines on good practice for medical practitioners and runs training to ensure that doctors are up to date with the latest developments.
Many people are interested in holistic therapies and the Australasian Integrative Medicine Association has listings of medical practitioners who use holistic treatments alongside traditional treatments. If you need additional support services such as a physiotherapist you can contact a private practitioner or ask your doctor to refer you to a hospital based therapist.
Registering with a dentist is a similar procedure. You will need to go along and give all your details and have an initial examination. It is necessary to pay for dental treatment but it is possible to get a health insurance policy which will cover the cost of dental treatment up to an agreed amount each year. As with doctors, you have the right to change your dentist if you want to and if you are unhappy with the treatment that you have received you can report the dentist to the Dental Council of New Zealand.
There are a number of charities which are in operation in New Zealand which are aimed at those who are struggling with drug and alcohol issues. Alcohol Drug Association New Zealand offers advice to those who need help and can assist with gambling addiction problems too. There is a helpline for those who need immediate advice and the website has a listing of all the treatment centres in the country that can help those who have addiction problems. The helpline is staffed by those who have personal understanding of addiction issues.
The Samaritans is in operation in New Zealand and provides a support service for those who are having difficulties with a number of issues. The service allows people to talk about their problems confidentially and refer them to specialist support services if needed. In addition there is a forum on the website for people to get in touch anonymously and discuss their problems with others. Some of the Samaritans branches have the facility to allow people to visit in person.
Medical Council of New Zealand
The Australasian Integrative Medicine Association
New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists
Dental Council of New Zealand
ADANZ (Alcohol Drug Association NZ)
PO Box 13496
Phone: 03-379 8626
Alcohol Drug Helpline: 0800-787 797
Samaritans New Zealand
Tel: 0800 726 666
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