Public hospitals

Public hospitals are funded by the government. They provide free or low cost emergency and non-urgent care to many people in Aotearoa New Zealand. When and where you receive care is based on waitlists and the urgency of your healthcare need. Find a public hospital in your area.

Find a public hospital near you

Search based on where you are and what you need.

Public hospital services — Healthpoint (external link)

Services that hospitals provide

Public hospitals have specialised staff and technology to provide healthcare. They have different departments or units that focus on specific types of health issues.

Their services include:

  • medical
  • surgical
  • maternity
  • diagnostic
  • emergency.

The range of services each hospital offers depends on the size of the local population and the services offered by other hospitals in the region.

Planned care

Public hospitals provide planned 'elective' services. This is non-urgent care that is scheduled according to a wait list.

Planned or elective care is usually organised through referral by your regular healthcare provider.

There are 3 types of planned care you might get depending on what care you need.

  • Inpatients are admitted to hospital and stay overnight in hospital.
  • Day case patients are admitted to hospital and sent home (discharged) later the same day.
  • Outpatients attend clinics where they receive specialist services without being admitted to hospital.

Urgent care

Most public hospitals also have emergency departments. This is for critical illness, injury or accidents. Find out more about emergency departments, what they offer and how they work.

Emergency departments

Cost of visiting a public hospital

Visiting a public hospital in Aotearoa New Zealand is ususally free for everyone. This is called 'public healthcare'. Find out about costs and eligibility. There is also some funded healthcare for specific groups of people.

Eligibility for publicly funded healthcare — Health New Zealand (external link)

If you are not eligible for free public healthcare

You will have to pay for some hospital services if you are not eligible for public healthcare. But you will not be refused emergency care if you cannot pay.

If you are injured in Aotearoa New Zealand, you will not have to pay for healthcare services in most cases. The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC), a government agency, provides personal injury cover for all New Zealand residents and visitors to New Zealand.

What we cover ACC (external link)

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