How to access healthcare during level 3 and 4

April 21st, 2020

Kia kaha, we’re here for you

We wanted to let you know we’re still here for you and your family’s medical needs. And, we how we will continue caring for you in future.

Recently, we have been working hard changing the way we bring health care to you, to keep everyone safe, and to make sure your health needs are met.


Appointments with your doctor

You can still have an appointment with your doctor – just a little differently. Depending on your needs our teams will either provide the care you need with a telephone consultation, or may suggest a video consultation, or that you come into the practice to be seen.

Our practice is safe for you

Your safety is our priority, and we take our responsibility to care for our patients, staff, and the community very seriously. We have made sure our practices are still safe for you to visit when you do need to see a doctor or nurse face-to-face. Things might be a little different when you arrive though. We ask you to phone us when
you are outside so we can prepare for you to come in.

The extra screening and processes we have in place are there to protect you and your bubble. We appreciate your patience with our teams because this does mean things can take a little longer.


Advice on all aspects of healthcare, whether or not you have COVID-19.

When to seek medical advice

If you need urgent medical assistance for severe symptoms of any kind, or have a serious injury, call emergency services on 111, or go straight to hospital.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your health, contact your GP. Minor health issues can become more serious if ignored and it is important that you have the treatments and medications you need. Your doctor would rather you call than silently worry at home. 

If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 through contact with someone who has it, it’s important to let your family doctor know when you call.

COVID-19 symptoms

If you are concerned about possible COVID-19 symptoms you are experiencing, call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number on 0800 358 5453

For any other health concerns, call the general Healthline number on 0800 611 116. All calls to Healthline are free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Call Plunketline if you have questions about your child or baby’s health or wellbeing on 0800 933 922 and speak to a Plunket nurse. Plunketline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Contact your midwife for support and advice during pregnancy and postnatally.

If you don’t have a medical need

Please only call Healthline, or your doctor, when you need medical assistance. If your call is not directly related to medical assistance, you may be able to find answers to your questions on this website.

Accessing healthcare during Alert Levels 3 or 4

During Alert Levels 3 and 4, medical centres and hospitals are still open. You can access all the treatments, vaccinations and medicines that you need to stay well, whether or not you have COVID-19.

If you are concerned about any aspect of your health, call your GP. Your doctor may offer you a consultation by text, email, phone or video. This is to stop person-to-person contact. If, however, your doctor feels you need a consultation in person, this will be organised for you.

You are allowed out during Alert Levels 3 and 4 to access medical support. You can drive to a medical centre or hospital. Just call first so you know what to do when you get there. For example, you may be asked to use a particular entrance, or to wait outside in your car until you are called.

Getting routine care and repeat prescriptions  

Phone your medical centre if you need a routine appointment or a repeat prescription for your regular medication. Your doctor may wish to support you without seeing you face to face.  

Pharmacies are recognised as an essential service and will remain open, even in Alert Level 4. If you need to go to your local pharmacy for medication, phone them first to make sure you can go in-store.

If you are an at-risk group you may need to ask someone to pick up your medicines on your behalf.

At-risk and vulnerable groups

Accessing healthcare outside your local area

If your doctor has advised that you need to travel outside of your area for specialist healthcare, you may do so during Alert Levels 3 and 4. However, your doctor may decide that you can defer treatment, or have a virtual consultation instead.

If you do need to travel to a medical appointment outside your area, your doctor may advise you take a support person with you to provide physical help, or to help you make healthcare decisions. However, you should consider whether you can be supported remotely, for example by phone.

Anyone under 18 years of age may take a parent, whānau member or caregiver to the appointment.

For most of us, we should take just 1 support person from our existing household group (or bubble) to our medical appointment. However, some of us (for example pregnant women) may need to have up to 2 support people. Ask your health provider for advice.

If you do need to travel outside your local area, ask your doctor for a letter to confirm your appointment, and take this with you on your journey.

Follow Ministry of Health advice to keep yourself and your support person safe

If you are at risk, or have someone at risk in your household

You are at high risk if you are over 70, pregnant or have underlying health conditions.

People with underlying health conditions include those with liver disease, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues or those with a compromised immune system, or who are on immunosuppressant medications.

If you are self-isolating because you have been in contact with a confirmed or probable case, and you live with an older or vulnerable person, you should reduce close contact with that person.

Self-isolation advice from the Ministry of Health

If you are due to give birth while we’re at Alert Level 3 or 4

This may impact the way you receive medical care if you are pregnant or have recently given birth.

During your pregnancy, face-to-face check-ups may be reduced. Your midwife will still make contact with you over the phone or by video call.

When you give birth, maternity facilities will have restrictions on the number of visitors and support people you can have with you.

If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, inform your midwife or midwifery practice.

Information for pregnant women and those who have recently given birth 

Find the latest health information

Are you or your whānau unwell? The best ways to get support are to:

  • call your family doctor for advice or information on all aspects of your health. If you think you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 through contact with someone who has it, it’s important to let your family doctor know.
  • call the dedicated COVID-19 Healthline number with any COVID-19 health-related concerns on 0800 358 5453. If you’re outside New Zealand call +64 9 358 5453.
  • you can also call the general Healthline number on 0800 611 116 for any other health concerns.  All calls to Healthline are free and someone is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • call Plunketline if you have questions about your child or baby’s health or wellbeing on 0800 933 922 and speak to a Plunket nurse. Plunketline runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • contact your midwife for support and advice during pregnancy and postnatally.
  • In an emergency, always call 111.

The Ministry of Health regularly updates its webpage with detailed health advice