New Zealand’s ambulance services

To call an ambulance for an accident or medical emergency, dial 111. When you call 111 and ask for an ambulance the person on the phone will work out the best help for you. Call takers are trained to give you the help you need.

Emergency care

If your situation is assessed as potentially life-threatening or urgent an ambulance will get to you as soon as possible using its lights and sirens. 

Most of the time this will be a road ambulance but for some situations and locations an air ambulance might be deployed. In some situations, a Fire & Emergency NZ vehicle may be deployed at the same time as an ambulance and can provide CPR and bring an automated external defibrillator (AED).

When an ambulance arrives, paramedics will provide the care you need. This may mean taking you directly to hospital, treating you and then taking you to hospital or another medical facility, or treating you but not taking you to hospital.

Less urgent care

If your situation is not life-threatening and you are not in immediate danger, you may be phoned back by a nurse or paramedic who will ask further questions to determine the best care for you. 

If they think you need a visit from a paramedic or ambulance, they will arrange for one to get to you. 

The medical professionals who make these phone calls work in clinical teams at 111 communications centres. They carry out detailed clinical assessments over the phone. If an ambulance is not the best care for you, they may refer you to an accident or medical centre, to your GP, or provide advice for self-care. The best help for you is always the priority.

Waiting for an ambulance

If an ambulance is the best help for you but your situation is not potentially life-threatening or urgent, sometimes there can be a delay in that ambulance arriving. Urgent, life-threatening situations such as cardiac arrest and serious trauma are the highest priority.

If there is going to be a delay, a medical professional from the clinical team at the communications centre will call to check on your welfare and see if things have changed. If things have become worse they will provide appropriate advice or increase the priority of your case.

In this section

  • New Zealand’s ambulance service has three main components: an emergency road ambulance service, an emergency air ambulance service and an emergency ambulance communications service. Read more
  • How it works Read more
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