Health services for your child
Health services for your child
Find out about the health services available to support you, your child and whānau.
Which health services are available for my child?
Health services for children in New Zealand include:
- a midwife in the first 6 weeks after birth
- doctor and practice nurse services (through a general practice team)
- Well Child Tamariki Ora services (a Plunket nurse or a similar service to help make sure that you and your child are doing well - the nurse will support you from when your child is around 6 weeks old until they are 5 years old)
- a dental therapist or community dentist (through Community Oral Health Services)
- Healthline and PlunketLine
- emergency and hospital care whenever it is needed
What if my child has a serious condition or special needs?
Check the page Concerned about your child's development?
If your child has a serious condition or any special needs, you may also be entitled to support from your local Needs Assessment and Service Coordination (NASC) service. This may include help from child development services - they help children with disabilities and children who are not growing or developing as expected. See the page Concerned about your child's development?
Are these health services free?
These health services are free for most children in New Zealand. You can find out if your child is eligible.
When should I enrol my child?
It is important to enrol your child as early as possible so that they can use these health services when they need to. Your midwife will be able to tell you how to enrol your child with a general practice, your local Well Child Tamariki Ora service and your Community Oral Health Service.
What about immunisation?
Your midwife will also talk to you about having your child immunised.
Which health workers will my child see?
Different health workers will see your child at different times.
Your midwife (or specialist doctor) provides care for you during your pregnancy. Your midwife (or a midwife working on behalf of your specialist doctor) is there to support you during the first 6 weeks of your child's life.
Transition of care from midwife to Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse
From 4 to 6 weeks after the birth your care moves from your midwife to a Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse. Your midwife will tell you about the Well Child Tamariki Ora services in your area and help you to enrol with the one that is right for you. It's your choice which one you enrol with.
Doctor and practice nurse (the general practice team)
It’s important to enrol your child at a general practice as soon as possible so that your doctor and nurse can get to know you and give you the help that you need - including the first immunisations when your child is 6 weeks old. Most practices provide free health care until your child turns 13 years of age. If you don't have a general practice, your midwife or Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse will be able to talk to you about choosing one.
Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse
A Well Child Tamariki Ora nurse has special training in supporting parents and caregivers to look after babies and small children. The nurse will check your child’s health and development and ask you questions about home and whānau life. The nurse may refer you to other services if your child needs them.