New Zealand Medical Care When Touring

by Mark Perkins

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As a tour coach driver/guide I often get asked about the New Zealand medical system and on occasions my passengers have had to take advantage of it.

The New Zealand medical system has two main streams to it. General medical and accident treatment. The general medical health system is split into two, Private care and public care. The private care system is totally user funded, whilst the public system has a large government subsidy.

Permanent residents of New Zealand pay $16.00 – $55.00 per visit to see their local GP.

The variance in fees is dictated by the location and type of practise. The less expensive practises tend to have duty doctors rather than the same resident doctor every day. Patients also have to be registered with that particular practice.

The other stream, accidents, are covered by the Accident Compensation Commission or ACC for short. ACC was set up in 1976 to take the blame out of accidents. The end result being that you as an individual are unable to sue anyone for an accident you may have that is totally or partially the other party’s  fault.
If there is a case to be answered then legal proceedings will be taken by either ACC or the department of labour (government department).

When visiting a Doctors surgery with an accident you normally still pay a small service charge of around $15.00, the rest is taken care of by ACC.

How does all this affect you as a traveller to our magnificent country?
If you need medical attention you can visit any Doctor or Accident and Emergency clinic and will pay approx $70.00 – $140.00. However if your visit is the result of an accident it should only cost you the std nominal fee.

Medical New Zealand

Of the 1.6 million claims lodged in the 2009-10 year with ACC, 3600 came from tourists who injured themselves. Of these claims, 2145 were lodged by tourists in Otago and 1520 of them related to skiing and snowboarding. The cost of treatment and support involved in the tourists’ claims was about $1 million.

You will find that the New Zealand medical system is of a very high standard. Our main medical university is in Dunedin, The University of Otago. This university is also used for migrants to New Zealand to re-train in New Zealands standards before practicing medicine here.

So feel safe and secure as you travel our country but I would still recommend medical insurance.

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