Zero fees for under-14s

Most children aged 13 and under who are enrolled with a general practice will not be charged a fee for a standard visit with a doctor or nurse, or:

  • an after-hours fee at participating clinics or pharmacies
  • the regular $5 prescription fee.

Almost all practices offer the zero fees scheme. Check with your general practice to see if they are participating.

Eligibility for zero fees general practice services

All children aged 13 and under, and who are eligible for publicly funded health services, are eligible for zero fee daytime general practice care.

Ask your general practice if they provide zero fee care for children who are aged 13 and under or check on your practice’s website. You can also find information on your local district health board website.

Children must be enrolled with a general practice to be eligible for zero fee visits with a doctor or nurse. If your child is not enrolled at a general practice additional fees will apply. It doesn’t cost anything to enrol, talk to the reception staff if you would like subsidised general practice care.

What the zero fees for under-14s scheme covers

The zero fees scheme applies to a standard daytime visit to a doctor or nurse at the usual practice where the child is enrolled, or to an after-hours visit to a participating clinic. It also applies to injury related visits covered by ACC.

During the day if you are not going to your regular practice you may be charged a fee. Check with the practice you are visiting to find out if there is a fee. Make an appointment with your regular practice if you can.

Fees for extended consultations, procedures and extra services, such as certificates or equipment, will continue to be charged in the usual way.

Which practices offer zero fees visits to children aged 13 and under?

General practices can decide whether they provide zero fee visits for children aged 13 and under. Most practices are providing zero fee visits for their enrolled patients. Practices that opt in receive an additional subsidy from the Government.

If your regular practice doesn’t offer zero fee care to children aged 13 and under, you can choose to enrol with another practice that does.

After-hours care

Your district health board (DHB) will make sure that children aged 13 and under have access to zero fee after-hours care. DHBs ensure reasonable travel time (maximum of 1 hour) to after-hours general practice and pharmacy services for 95 percent of its enrolled population.

After-hours services are designed for urgent visits when the child’s regular practice is closed and when the child needs to be seen before the practice opens. Ask your general practice or pharmacist where to find these services.

Consultations covered by ACC

Most general practices will provide zero fee injury-related visits for children aged 13 and under.

Prescription charges

The standard $5 charge for each item of prescription medicine does not apply to children aged 13 and under. This includes prescriptions written by hospital specialists, dentists, nurses and other health professionals. Pharmacies may charge for extra services such as medicines delivery or packaging. Fees for medicines that are not fully funded by PHARMAC remain the same.

Check with your pharmacist about any additional fees.

Some pharmacies will not charge a fee for prescriptions after-hours

Children aged 13 and under will not be charged the regular prescription fee (usually $5) at participating after-hours pharmacies.

DHBs will arrange for this service to be available to at least 95 percent of enrolled children aged 13 and under within reasonable travel time (up to 1 hour). This arrangement may be with one pharmacy or several in an area (depending on the size of the area).

Where to go for advice

Talk to your general practice or pharmacist for more information. You can also get advice from a trained nurse by calling Healthline on 0800 611 116 or Plunketline on 0800 933 922.

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