COVID-19
       Advice

View our COVID-19 page for general advice, where to get COVID-19 tests, and visiting guidelines for our hospital services.
See www.vaccinatecanterburywestcoast.nz for the latest information about COVID-19 vaccinations in Canterbury.

I’m not well, where do I go?

Depending on your illness, there are different places you and your whānau can go for health care in Canterbury.

Registering with a general practice team is really important for you and your family. A GP team can develop a relationship with you to have a much better understanding of your unique healthcare needs.

You can also call your GP team 24/7 for advice on what to do and where to go if you need urgent care. After normal opening hours your call will be answered by a health professional who can provide free health advice.

There’s a wide range of information and tools to support your own and others’ mental wellbeing and information on where to get help if you need it. The Ministry of Health website lists apps, websites and helplines where you can speak to someone about a range of health issues. 

I want health advice over the phone or online and it’s not an emergency…

In an emergency, call 111. Otherwise you should phone your usual general practice number when you or someone in your family is not feeling well.

After normal opening hours you can receive free health advice from a health professional on what to do and where to go if you need urgent care.

If you are not enrolled with a general practice you can call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116 or go to the HealthInfo website for health advice.

The information on HealthInfo is specific to Canterbury, New Zealand, and is written by local doctors, nurses, and health professionals.

Remember registering with a general practice team is really important for you and your family. A GP team can develop a relationship with you to have a much better understanding of your unique healthcare needs.

For self-care at home, make sure you have a medicine cabinet with pain killers, plasters, and antiseptic cream. Go to your local pharmacy for advice and medicine if needed.

I have diarrhoea or stomach upset, a painful cough, runny nose, sore throat, itchy rash, minor cut, scrape or burn, baby with nappy rash, hayfever or allergy, heartburn, ache or strain, minor eye condition like conjunctivitis, pain or burning during or after peeing, thrush infection or need emergency contraception…

You can view a comprehensive list of pharmacies in Canterbury and visit the urgent and extended hours pharmacies page to find a pharmacy open late.

I have a non-urgent or urgent mental illness issue, a non-urgent injury, after hours or emergency dental care needs, a sick child or a pregnancy concern.

Mental health care

If you need urgent or emergency mental health care or if you're worried about the mental health of a friend or family member, call your local mental health crisis team. For Christchurch, phone 0800 920 092. For Ashburton, phone 0800 222 955 (24 hours, seven days a week).

For children and youth mental health emergencies talk to the Child, Adolescent and Family Emergency Team (CAFEm) Freephone 0800 218 219 (press option 2).

For non-urgent care, visit your general practice team. If necessary, your GP can refer you for more specialised assessment and treatment.

If you don’t have a normal general practice, you can find one near you to enrol with using our General Practice Finder Map

 You can also visit the HealthInfo website for more information on local support options.

Injury care

For non-urgent injury care you can go through your general practice team or directly to a physiotherapist (physio). A general practice team may refer you to a physio.

Physios can diagnose and treat injuries. They can help with muscle, joint sprains and strains, back injuries and neck pain and some ongoing conditions. They can lodge ACC claims for you and refer you to specialists to look at specific issues. Many clinics have extended hours.

An ACC funded appointment may cost less than a general practice appointment. Go to the HealthInfo website and search “physiotherapists” for more information on costs and types of services.

The Physiotherapy New Zealand website is a great place to find a qualified physio in your area.

Please be aware that some health insurers can require you to see a GP before authorising physio treatment. Physios cannot issue medical certificates for work purposes.

Dental care

Please see this page on After Hours and Emergency dental care services in Canterbury.

The Dental Department can provide some emergency dental treatment if you are eligible and receive a Work and Income New Zealand (WINZ) benefit. 

Child health care

For non-urgent health concerns, phone your general practice and book an appointment with your general practice team.

A standard visit with a doctor or nurse is free for children under 14.

If you don’t have a general practice, you can find one near you to enrol with using our General Practice Finder Map

If you want health advice over the phone or online 24/7 you can:

  • call your usual general practice team (after-hours you can still call and receive free health advice on what to do and where to go)
  • call Plunket Line 24/7 on 0800 933 922 (free) for advice for under 5s.
  • call Healthline on 0800 611 116 (free) if you’re not enrolled with a general practice
  • visit the HealthInfo website for advice specific to Canterbury.

If your child needs urgent care and you cant get in to see your general practice team you can visit an urgent care clinic. Medical visits are free for children under 14 after hours (after 6pm weekdays and during weekends).

The Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital is open 24/7 should be used in an emergency for critical or life-threatening situations.

The Ministry of Health has more information on health services for children in New Zealand.

Pregnancy health care

Pregnancy care you will usually be cared for by a Lead Maternity Carer (LMC). Your general practice team can refer you or you can find and contact one directly.

If you are worried about your baby/pēpi or yourself when you are pregnant your first point of contact for advice is your LMC (Lead Maternity Carer).

Your LMC may refer you to the Maternity Assessment Unit at Christchurch Hospital (from 22 weeks onwards in your pregnancy), an urgent care clinic or the emergency department.

I have vomiting, stomach ache, backache, ear pain, cut, sprain or strain, mental health issue, itchy rash or similar that doesn’t require care immediately but isn’t improving

For non-urgent health concerns, phone your general practice and book an appointment with your general practice team. After normal opening hours you can still call the team and receive free health advice on what to do and where to go if you need urgent care.

Some general practices have extended opening hours. You can also find general practice phone numbers, opening hours and other details on our General Practice Finder Map

If you don’t have a general practice, registering with a general practice team is really important for you and your family. A GP team can develop a relationship with you to have a much better understanding of your unique healthcare needs and plan care for ongoing conditions. It also means you can access cheaper care, funding for specific health checks and conditions and access to longer appointments for mental health.

Many general practices also charge lower fees if you have a Community Services Card .

If you’re not enrolled with a general practice you can also call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116  for health advice or go to the HealthInfo website for advice specific to Canterbury.

I have a bad cut, sprain, possible broken limb, minor head injury, stomach pain or I'm feeling really sick and need help now

If you can’t get in to see your general practice team or need care after hours you can visit one of the urgent care clinics listed below (see the next section for advice if you live in a rural area). At these clinics:

  • Children under 14 have free medical visits after hours (after 6pm weekdays and during weekends)
  • You do not need an appointment
  • Late-night pharmacies and parking are on site
  • You may qualify for low-cost or free care (e.g. if you’ve had an accident or have a community services card)
  • X-rays and plaster casts for broken bones are available
  • Its less than 5km to Christchurch Hospital if your condition changes.

To check the fees charged by each clinic please click on their links below. Please note Moorhouse Medical has free ACC wound care.

If you are unsure of what care you need you can call your usual general practice team any time, 24/7, for advice from a health professional. 

If you’re not enrolled with a general practice you can also call Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116  for health advice or go to the HealthInfo website for advice specific to Canterbury,

The following after hours health services also exist:

Rural urgent care in Canterbury

All rural areas have after hours urgent care. For urgent health advice you can call a local practice 24/7 (even if you’re not enrolled) or Healthline (for free) on 0800 611 116. There are also these rural facilities around Canterbury:

  • Akaroa and the Bays – accident and urgent medical care is provided by Akaroa Health Centre. Health professionals are on-call for emergencies 24/7 but the centre is not open for walk-ins after-hours. There are fees for urgent after-hours care. You can call the centre 24/7 on 03 304 7004.
  • Ashburton – Ashburton Hospital is open 24/7 for acute care. Call your general practice team 24/7 for advice on where you should go for urgent care.
  • Kaikoura – accident and urgent medical care is provided by Kaikōura Healthcare, the local general practice. Doctors are on-call for emergencies 24/7 but the practice is not open for walk-ins after hours. There are fees for urgent after-hours care, which can be found on the practice website. You can call the centre 24/7 on 03 319 3501.
  • Rangiora – an extended hours practice is set to open in Rangiora as part of the Rangiora Health Hub in late 2022.

In an emergency dial 111 and ask for "ambulance".

I have heavy bleeding, bad burns, chest pain, trouble breathing, loss of consciousness, changed confused state or similar...

In an emergency dial 111 and ask for "ambulance".

The Emergency Department (ED) at Christchurch Hospital should be used in an emergency for critical or life-threatening situations.

If you cannot travel to the Emergency Department yourself, you should dial 111 and ask for an "ambulance".

COVID-19 Tests

COVID-19 testing locations are listed on our COVID-19 page.

Page last updated: 18 August 2021

Is this page useful?