About the National Telehealth Service

What is the New Zealand's National Telehealth Service?

Homecare Medical is a social enterprise owned by two New Zealand charitable PHOs and is funded by the Ministry of Health, ACC, Ministry of Social Development, Department of Corrections, the Health Promotion Agency and DHBs to operate the National Telehealth Service.

Prior to 1 November 2015, several helplines run by many different organisations were integrated to create the National Telehealth Service.

What services make up the 24/7, free National Telehealth Service?

1737 Need to talk? – the national mental health and addictions helpline, a new, brand-neutral front door for anyone to access support from a trained counsellor. People can call and text 1737 anytime.

Healthline 0800 611 116 – registered nurses assess and provide health triage and advice. www.health.govt.nz

Quitline 0800 778 778 – support for people wanting to quit smoking and stay quit. www.quit.org.nz

The Alcohol Drug Helpline 0800 787 797 and text 8681 – advice, information and support about drinking or other drug use. www.alcoholdrughelp.org.nz

The Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 and text 4202 – callers can talk through emotional and psychological issues with counsellors and via the national depression initiatives:

  • Depression.org.nz – helping people find a way through depression.
  • The Lowdown and text 5626 – support to help young people recognise and understand depression or anxiety. www.thelowdown.co.nz
  • The Journal @ depression.org.nz – an online programme to help people learn skills to tackle depression.

The Gambling Helpline 0800 654 655 and text 8006 – support for those worried about gambling or the gambling of others. www.gamblinghelpline.co.nz

Poisons advice for the public 0800 POISON (0800 764 766) (delivered through the National Poisons Centre). www.poisons.co.nz

Immunisation advice 0800 IMMUNE (0800 466 863) - providing advice to the public (in partnership with the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC)). www.immune.org.nz

The Diver Emergency Service (DES) – 0800 4 DES 111 (0800 4337 111) advice on diving related incidents, accidents or injuries, including the emergency management of decompression illness.

Early Mental Health Response – a new service currently being implemented nationwide to provide faster and more appropriate help to people in social and psychological distress who call 111.

Elder Abuse Response Service 0800 EA NOT OK (0800 32 668 65) – registered nurses provide information and support for elder abuse.

RecoveRing 0800 678 789 – a dedicated helpline for offenders and prisoners (and their whanau and families who are helping them) who want support with their alcohol or drug use.

Expert Advice Line 0800 881 767 - is a helpline for community and social service professionals needing expert advice for their work with clients with mental health support needs or addiction challenges.

Other services

etalk (ekorero) - is a virtual counselling service offered over the phone and aims to improve access for people to connect with a counsellor. Up-to six 45 minute sessions are provided free and are organised by GP referral. Currently available 7am until 1030pm, seven days a week.

Mental Health After Hours - calls to local DHB mental health teams in Counties, Mid Central, Northland, Waikato DHB areas are answered after hours by registered mental health nurses.

Peer Talk 0800 234 432 connects people in need with counsellors that have ‘lived experience’ of mental health and addictions – currently available in Counties DHB, 5pm until midnight Monday to Friday.

Employer Advice Line 0800 805 405 - is a service offered to employers who are able to get specialist information and advice to help them to manage and support their staff with health, mental health and disability issues, available 8.30am until 5pm Monday to Friday.

Live Kidney Donation Aotearoa 0800 LIVE DONOR (0800 5483 36667)

We also partner with great organisations

Our nurses provide ambulance secondary triage – clinical telephone assessment by registered nurses for low acuity 111 calls to St John and Wellington Free Ambulance

PlunketLine uses the National Telehealth Service technology to triage sick children 0-5 years old.

Who can access the helplines?

Anybody in New Zealand can access the helplines 24/7, free.

Will my call be answered by someone in New Zealand or overseas?

Your call will always be answered in New Zealand.

How long is the National Telehealth Service contract for?

Ten years with a contract value of $257.6 million.

What are the success factors we aim for?

Delivering a high quality, well-performing service for all New Zealanders is our key focus. We want to virtually support Kiwis to stay well and connect them seamlessly with care when they need it. Our mission is to deliver a National Telehealth Service that effectively meets the needs of New Zealanders and provides a platform for continuous care innovation and improvement.
Learn more


How does the National Telehealth Service address cultural needs within New Zealand?

Understanding and delivering to diverse needs is at the heart of our organisation. Our Cultural Diversity Steering Group Te Roopu provides advice and consultation on matters that may impact specifically vulnerable people including: Māori, Pacific and Asian populations. They also ensure in the beliefs and values are acknowledged, maintained and respected.

Our Manager, Māori and Pacific Strategies is accountable for equitable achievements. Our Cultural Supervisor works with staff so that they can confidently engage with service users and each other in a culturally responsive and safe way.

What interpreter services are offered?

We have staff who can communicate in Māori, Pacific and Asian languages. We have access to interpreting services available within minutes in over 40 languages 24x7.

What helplines are run specifically for Māori and Pacific Peoples?

We run the Maori Gambling Helpline, Māori Alcohol and Drug Helpline, Pasifika Gambling Helpline and Pasifika Alcohol and Drug Helpline.

About our workforce

How many people are working on the helplines?

We have 350 staff.

Where are staff located?

We have a diverse team with a variety of backgrounds, working from our Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin contact centres. We also have some staff that work from their home offices and some staff based in the St John and Wellington Free Ambulance communications centres. The National Poisons Centre continues to operate out of Otago University.

Our infrastructure provides a virtual call centre environment that our work from home staff can securely access across New Zealand.

What supervision arrangements are in put in place for staff?

All staff are fully supported 24/7 by our management teams and clinical leads. This includes ongoing coaching, training and de-briefing with Team Managers.

Reporting to the Clinical Governance Committee (CGC), the Clinical Effectiveness and Improvement Team (CEIT) is the operational arm of the CGC, assisting the management team to implement our clinical governance framework.

This ensures that our services are clinically safe, effective, patient-centred, culturally sensitive, equitable and timely.


Who are the technology partners supporting the National Telehealth Service?

We know that New Zealanders want reliable companies with proven and extensive experience in health. We chose our technology partners on that basis:

  • Spark Digital provides the technology platform – the network and connectivity.
  • Valentia Technologies provides the health software that manages people’s records.
  • Advanced One provides the patient-centred clinical decision tool (Odyssey).
  • Interactive Intelligence supplies its Customer Interactive Centre (CIC) tool as the phone/web/social media/call centre management part of the National Telehealth Service.
  • Accenture provides project and change management expertise.

What clinical decision support systems are used for Healthline?

We use an international clinical decision support tool to manage all health triage calls; Odyssey Tele Assess ensures we deliver safe, effective clinical advice to callers and connect them with the most appropriate care.