Common questions about Healthline

Healthline is a free telephone health advice service for all the family.

What is Healthline?

Healthline is a free telephone health advice service for all the family.

  • Healthline’s registered nurses ask you questions about the symptoms, condition or illness you’re ringing about. From your answers, they’ll recommend the best thing to do.
  • They can also tell you where to find your nearest GP after-hours service, hospital emergency department, pharmacy, or out-of-hours dental surgery.
  • Healthline can also provide general health information on a wide range of topics.

What happens when I call Healthline?

You‘ll speak to a friendly registered nurse who will ask you questions about the condition or illness you’re ringing about.

From your answers, they‘ll tell you the best thing to do.

  • That might be to see a doctor or go to hospital straight away.
  • If it’s less serious, they can tell you how to take care of yourself – or the person you’re ringing about – at home.

How can the nurse tell what’s wrong over the phone?

To help them – and you – the nurse will use a world-class, successful clinical decision support tool widely used for telephone consultations. It's like having another clinician by their side. The system uses up-to-date information about many different illnesses and the symptoms of those illnesses.

After working through the questions, the nurse won’t tell you what illness you might have – but will be able to tell the best thing to do, and how quickly to do it. (The nurse will also use their professional training and experience when they give you this advice.)

Who is Healthline for and how do I get in touch?

  • Healthline is available to everyone in New Zealand who has access to a telephone.
  • The phone number for Healthline is 0800 611 116.
  • It’s free to call Healthline from a landline or cellphone.
  • Healthline operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In other words – any time you need it!

How safe is Healthline?

Healthline is staffed by experienced, registered nurses who have worked in many different places – including in GPs’ surgeries and hospitals. They are motivated by quality and by doing the right thing for Healthline callers.

The nurses use their clinical experience to advise callers on the best thing they can do for their condition or illness.

What do most people ring Healthline about?

The most common adult illness people ring about is stomach pain. The 2 most common child illnesses people ring about are fever and vomiting.

You can access Healthline information about these and other health topics under Conditions and treatments

Why can the nurses only assess someone if I’m with them?

The nurses need to ask specific questions to work out what support a person needs and they need to be able to check what is actually happening for them at that time.

What’s the difference between Healthline and Plunketline?


Ring Plunketline if you have questions about child health or parenting.

For example, you may have a question about crying, sleeping, your child’s growth, development, behaviour, immunisation, breastfeeding, nutrition, oral health, safety – or want to know more about the Well Child/Tamariki Ora programme.


Call Healthline if you need advice about a child of any age who is unwell or hurt, or has any symptoms of sickness. Healthline also provides a full range of telephone triage and health advice for children over 5 and adults.

Plunketline and Healthline nurses will work together to make sure that you get the right service and care.

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