South Taranaki Rural Health FAQs


What is South Taranaki Rural Health?

South Taranaki Rural Health is the name given to the enhanced, integrated rural model of care proposed for the South Taranaki community in 2019. It aims to improve health outcomes through a focus on high quality, accessible, sustainable and culturally responsive community, primary and secondary services.  

It also looks to increase access to primary care services and provide sustainability for the rural health care services by offering a primary care service run out of Hāwera Hospital called South Taranaki Rural Health General Practice (STRHGP - the Practice).

Why was the Practice developed?

Hāwera’s Emergency Department (ED) has been providing primary care services for a range of reasons. However, emergency care is designed to focus on resolving an immediate medical issue, whereas care provided in a general practice focuses on people’s long-term health and wellbeing.

Accessing ED instead of general practices can lead to lack of continuity of healthcare, and is not the best way to improve long-term health outcomes.

By increasing the provision of primary care services in South Taranaki, and through a commitment to ongoing co-design of new ways of working with primary care, iwi and community providers, we believe we can make a collective difference to the health and wellbeing of those with long-term complex conditions and of the health of Māori in the community.

Are hospital services still available?

All Hāwera Hospital services are still available. The Practice is an additional primary health care service that alongside the other primary care providers, will help meet the primary healthcare needs of the South Taranaki community.


What services does South Taranaki Rural Health General Practice (the Practice) offer?

Patients at the Practice will be seen by a team made up of senior nurses that are specialists in general practice care, and general practitioners with specialist training in rural hospital medicine. These staff will provide all services typical of a general practice, including diagnosis and treatment; health education; disease prevention and screening.

Who can use the Practice?

The Practice is open to both enrolled and walk-in patients that need primary health care services.

While all patients are welcome, if you are already enrolled somewhere else your usual doctor will be more familiar with any ongoing health issues you may have. Therefore we recommend you try to book an appointment there first for continuity of health care.

Can I enrol at the Practice?

The Practice is now taking patient enrolments. Please call or visit the Practice for information on how to enrol.

What are the opening hours?

The Practice is currently open: 
Monday: 8am – 7pm
Tuesdays: 8am - 7pm
Wednesdays: 8am - 4:30pm
Thursdays: 8am - 7pm
Fridays: 8am - 4:30pm

Weekends hours: appointments available only through redirection via Hawera ED at this stage:
Saturday: 1pm - 4pm
Sunday: 1pm - 4pm

The introduction of an after-hours phone service in South Taranaki general practice (GP) clinics enables patients to call their GP outside of regular opening hours to receive healthcare advice. While this service cannot book appointments, transcripts of all phone calls will be sent to the GP from the phone service so they are aware of the call.

How do I get an appointment?

Call 06 278 1383 to book an appointment, or come to the Practice as needed to see a member of staff. Appointments can also be booked through the MyIndici app – please speak to a member of staff about registering for this service.

How much does it cost for an appointment?

Costs for services vary. Please refer to the list of all fees here.

Where is the Practice?

The Practice is located at Hāwera Hospital. Go the main entrance and reception staff will guide you from there.

Does the Practice have an online app for booking appointments and accessing test results?

We encourage people to use the patient portal for fast and secure access to results, appointment bookings and other contact with your healthcare provider. Speak to the general practice you are enrolled at for assistance with signing up.


Can I still go to the Emergency Department (ED)?

Anyone experiencing a serious/urgent health emergency should call 111 or go to ED immediately. Patients that present at Hāwera ED with non-urgent health concerns will be supported to be seen at the Practice.

What is considered a serious/urgent emergency?

By a serious/urgent emergency, we mean heart attacks, strokes, breathing issues and people involved in accidents with severe injuries.

What do I do if it’s after hours or the weekend and I need to see a doctor (GP)?

Non-urgent health issues most often do not need to be seen immediately by a GP and can be managed during hours of available services. However, if your condition worsens, please go to ED.

Not sure if your issue is serious or not? Call your GP; an after-hours phone service is now available with registered nurses who provide health advice over the phone and/or refer patients to the most appropriate service for their specific health needs (including emergency services). Notes of your call will also be provided to your GP clinic for any required follow up.

What should I do if I have broken a bone and my regular GP clinic and the Practice are not open?

You should go directly to ED.

Where else can I go for health advice?

People with non-urgent and long-term health issues are best seen by their GP, where they can receive ongoing, appropriate care. Below are some alternatives to visiting ED:

  • Call your GP; an after-hours phone service is now available with registered nurses who provide health advice over the phone and/or refer patients to the most appropriate service for their specific health needs (including emergency services).
  • Book an appointment with your regular GP.
  • Visit your pharmacy or a physiotherapist.

What options are available for cheaper healthcare?

Fees for patients enrolled at VLCA GPs are as follows:

  • Zero fees for children aged 0–13 years
  • $13.50 maximum for children aged 14–17 years
  • $19.50 maximum for adults aged 18 years and over.

All children under 14 are eligible for free visits to their registered GP clinic.
For more information visit the Zero fees for under-14s web page.

Ngāti Ruanui Health Centre offers free GP visits for iwi members. Click here for more information.

If you’re seeing your GP about an injury caused by an accident, you’ll be charged a lower fee if it’s covered by ACC.

Community Services Card holders get cheaper visits at the GP clinic they’re enrolled with. You do not have to receive a benefit to be eligible for a Community Services Card. For more information visit the Work and Income website or phone 0800 559 009.

Patients who have received at least 12 health consultations within the last 12 months for a particular ongoing medical condition(s) are eligible for the High Use Health Card (HUHC).

This card lasts for 12 months and may reduce the cost of prescriptions, after-hours GP clinic visits and visits to a clinic where the patient is not enrolled.

Last updated: Friday, October 28, 2022

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