Sometimes the hardest thing about getting used to having an illness is getting your head around the way the health system is organised. The following is an explanation of general respiratory care in New Zealand. Please note there may be variations due to illness type and location in New Zealand.
A patient's overall care is generally done by a General Practitioner (GP). They work in the community and also have the support of community organisations.
The Public Health Service works with both GPs and Hospitals, providing a range of services directed at promoting health and preventing illness in the community. In the area of lung health, these services range from those concerned with smoking (health promotion to prevent smoking uptake and support smoking cessation, enforcement of smokefree legislation) to those concerned with preventing public health risks associated with certain respiratory infections, such as tuberculosis, legionnaire's disease and influenza. Other support services performed by the Public Health Service to promote lung health include collection, analysis and distribution of health statistics, and assessment and management of environmental risks to lung health, such as air pollution.
GP's refer patients to care in a hospital if a patient requires inpatient hospital care or specialist assessment. They may also refer to specialist respiratory (or chest) physicians who have special training in the area of Respiratory Medicine. Respiratory physicians work in public hospitals and some also provide a private practice service.
Hospital care in New Zealand is free to New Zealand Residents and Citizens. You may be asked to provide your passport to demonstrate your residency. Tests such as x-rays and blood tests are also free at public hospitals.
Seeing a GP in New Zealand comes with charges but this depends on your age, income, and how often you see the Doctor.
Most medications prescribed in New Zealand involve paying a part-charge. Other medicines are not subsidised at all by public funds, and the recipient must pay their full cost.
New Zealand has a modern health care system. Health care is complex, but although perfection is an almost impossible target, standards and expectations are high. Changes in health delivery occur from time to time. Lung Health Auckland's role is to assist people with respiratory problems in the Auckland region. Our resources are limited. We appreciate donations and other forms of assistance, so we can help those in need and contribute to lung health in the region.