Frequently Asked Questions

  • What if I need more time with my Healthcare Practitioner?

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    Sometimes 15 minutes is not enough time to discuss your healthcare needs with your healthcare team. You always have the option to book a double appointment (30 minutes) if you feel it is required. This does mean you will pay for the cost of two appointments.

    What if I have a lot of things I want to discuss in my Healthcare appointment, and I don’t know where to start?

    The Te Tumu Waiora team (Health Improvement Practitioners & Health Coaches) can help you get the most of your appointment. The Te Tumu Waiora team can help you navigate your healthcare appointment – discussing what your needs are and how you can prioritise these with your healthcare team. Appointments with the Te Tumu Waiora team are 30 minutes long and free. If you want to meet or book in with a Health Improvement Practitioner (HIP) or Health Coach (HC), talk to the receptionist at your primary care practice. More info can be found here at the Te Tumu Waiora page.

  • Can I bring a Support person, Friend, or whānau member with me to my Healthcare appointment?

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    Yes – bring a support person, friend, or whānau member to your healthcare appointment.

  • What are three Important Questions to ask my Healthcare Provider?

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    What is my main problem? What do I need to do? Why is it important for me to do this?

  • What if I require an Interpreter or Translator?

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    If you require an Interpreter or Translator, ask your primary care practice what options they have available for you, and they will be able to sort this for you.

  • Why is it Important to Enrol at a Primary Care Practice on the West Coast?

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    When you enrol with one of our primary care practices on the West Coast, you are also enrolled with West Coast Health - your primary health organisation (PHO). There are a number of benefits associated with belonging to a PHO including:

    • Cheaper visits to your primary care practice. 
    • Access to FREE appointments for Nutrition, Counselling, PASS, Smoking Cessation Support, Breastfeeding Support, Te Tumu Waiora (Health Improvement Practitioners and Health Coaches).

    Enrolment means that you will have a primary care practice who knows your medical history, ensuring you and your whānau receive the best health care for your circumstances.

  • Is it free to enrol at a Primary Care Practice, and how do I know if I am eligible?

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    Yes, it is free to enrol. Most people living on the West Coast will be eligible, however, there are certain requirements such as being a New Zealand resident or being on a work visa.

  • How do I enrol at a Primary Care Practice?

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    Contact a West Coast primary care practice and ask to enrol.

    You can only enrol with one primary care practice. If you visit another primary care practice where you are not enrolled, you may have to pay the non-subsidised fees.

  • Where do I go for after-hours care on the West Coast?

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    Where do you go for care outside of your primary care practices hours of Monday – Friday 9-5?

    If you are feeling unwell, always contact your primary care practice first. Please don’t head to the hospital emergency department unless it’s truly an emergency.

    All rural primary care practices on the West Coast have an after-hours service linked to their phone line. This after-hours response team will help you assess the best treatment and next steps when you or someone close to you is in pain or feeling unwell. If necessary, they will be able to send a local on-call rural nurse specialist to you.

    In Greymouth Coastal Health and Te Nīkau practices have a rotating roster for weekends on-call. This means one of these practices will be open on Saturday & Sunday between the hours of 11am and 3pm. To find out who is on call visit our Facebook page or see our after-hours announcement on our home page. 

    Westland Medical Centre, Buller Health Medical (Te Rau Kawakawa) & Kawatiri Health will direct you to an after-hours service when you use their phone-line after-hours.

  • Telehealth

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    You can call Healthline if you are not sure where to go. Phone 0800 611 116 – calls are answered 24/7 and they have translators available.

    Ka ora is a new rural after-hours virtual telehealth service providing virtual GP consultations and is now available for our rural West Coast communities. People can access this service by calling 0800 2 KA ORA (0800 252 672). More info can be found here at the Ka Ora page. Fees apply for some people * 

  • Being Prepared

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    If you have ongoing medical concerns make sure you are always prepared outside of normal business hours.

    • Do you have enough medicine to cover weekends and public holidays?
    • Are you up to date with your tests and other health needs?
    • Do you know the opening hours of your primary care practice?
  • What is a Primary Care Practice?

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    Primary Care Practices are at the centre of health care in New Zealand. They are medical practices where clinicians such as doctors and nurses will work as a team to ensure the health care needs of you and your whānau are met.

    Primary Care Practices cover a wide range of services, including immunisation, diagnosing, and treating common illnesses and injuries, supporting mental health needs, helping you manage ongoing health conditions, and referring you to other services where more specialist expertise is required. Some general practices will have particular strengths, such as sexual health.

    It’s free to enrol with a Primary Care Practice. After enrolling they will charge you a consultation fee when you go to see them. 

  • What is a GP?

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    A General Practitioner (GP) is a doctor based in a primary care practice. A GP has to do at least 11 years of medical training. GPs access, diagnose and treat people living in the community using their broad range of medical knowledge on different health conditions.

  • What is an enrolled nurse?

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    An enrolled nurse is a registered professional nursing assistant who works as part of a medical team but has less authority than a registered nurse. They are responsible for the care and monitoring of patients, assisting physicians and advising whānau.

  • What is a Registered/Practice nurse?

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    A Registered nurse is often considered the backbone of the nursing system. Registered nurses can work in any specialty and in various healthcare settings including home healthcare. They provide patient care, education and assist other healthcare professionals. A practice nurse is a registered nurse working in a primary care practice setting.

  • What is a nurse prescriber?

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    A nurse prescriber is a registered nurse who has the authority to prescribe medicines.

  • What is a nurse practitioner?

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    Nurse practitioners are highly skilled health practitioners who have completed a Master’s Degree in Nursing and have a wide range of specialist nursing skills. Practitioners can assess, treat, order and interpret diagnostic tests, prescribe medicines and have an excellent knowledge of our community.

  • What is a nurse specialist?

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    A Nurse Specialist is a nurse who has special skills, knowledge and expertise in a particular area of nursing.

  • What is a healthcare assistant?

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    A Healthcare Assistant (HCA) is a person who supports medical staff and patients in various healthcare settings. They work under the supervision of registered healthcare professionals.