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?

You can view all our Telehealth services here

Other services

Puāwaitanga - brief intervention counselling sessions (up to six, 45 minute sessions), over the phone, that people can book at a time that suits them. Sessions are provided free and are organised through a person’s GP. NB this service is available in limited DHB areas and MSD offices.

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.

National Bowel Screening Programme Coordination Centre - We manage the database and distribution of invitations for the programme, providing test kits to participants, and ensuring that GPs receive their patient's test results. 

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.

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.

What are the details of the National Telehealth Service Contract?

Details are here. 

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 and PwC provide 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.