Primary health care

General Practitioners

Primary care is the health care that you receive in your local community.

(Secondary care is the care you receive in hospitals or specialised health facilities.)


Primary health care covers a broad range of health and preventative services, including:

  • assessment and treatment, including referral to other services
  • prescribing medications
  • health education and advice
  • counselling
  • immunisations and vaccinations
  • health screening e.g. cervical smears.

Most primary health care services are based around medical centres and general practices where doctors specialising in this work (general practitioners or GPs), practice nurses and other health professionals work.
It can also include health services provided by other community agencies or iwi Maori or other organisations. Usually they will be providing the service under a funding contract/s with the district health board or the Ministry of Health.
Usually you will make an appointment to see a GP or one of the other health staff (depending on what the issue is). If your own GP is not available, you will have the option of seeing another member of the practice team.


On other pages you will find information about: