Public hospitals

Public hospitals are run and owned, or funded, by district health boards (DHBs). DHBs are responsible for providing or funding the provision of health and disability services in their district.

Services that hospitals provide

Public hospitals are set up to provide quality acute care, and to ensure that as many people as possible have access to elective (non-acute) services.

Hospitals currently provide a variety of publicly funded health and disability services such as medical, surgical, maternity, diagnostic and emergency services. The range of services offered by an individual hospital is affected both by the size of the local population and the services offered by other hospitals in the region.

Hospital services are provided on an inpatient, daycase and outpatient basis, depending on the type of care that a patient needs:

  • inpatients are admitted to hospital and stay overnight in hospital,
  • daycase patients are admitted to hospital and discharged later the same day,
  • outpatients attend clinics where they receive specialist services without being admitted to hospital.

Sometimes public hospitals provide services to private patients. Specific protocols agreed by Cabinet must be met for this to occur.

Planned Care services

Planned Care services, traditionally known as ‘Electives,’ encompass medical and surgical care for people who don’t need to be treated right away.

Reporting on hospital performance

Health System Indicators framework

The Government has chosen an initial set of 12 national, high-level indicators for the Health System Indicator framework. Two indicators are focused on hospital services and align with the priority of a strong and equitable public health system.

Strong and equitable public health system: indicators

Acute hospital bed day rate

Number of days spent in hospital for unplanned care including emergencies

Access to planned care

People who had surgery or care that was planned in advance, as a percentage of the agreed number of events in the delivery plan

Caseload monitoring

DHBs supply data on various aspects of hospital services to national information collections managed by the Ministry of Health. The data forms the basis of reports on hospital performance. One such report is the Caseload monitoring report that tracks the services delivered by DHB hospitals against annual service delivery plans.

The report gives a comparable picture of DHB performance. The users of the report are advised to contact the DHB or DHBs concerned, before drawing conclusions from the report.

Hospital surgical activity

The Hospital surgical activity page provides information on patients (acute and elective) receiving publicly funded surgical treatment.

Community-based services

Hospital services are part of the activity of a district health board. More information about the community-based services that DHBs provide can be found in the Primary health care section.

Contact details for public hospitals

Visit the Public hospital database to find contact details for hospitals in New Zealand.

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