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Capital & Coast DHB Emergency Department

Public Service


12:00 AM to 12:00 AM.


What is Emergency Medicine?
Emergency Medicine is the branch of medicine that involves the diagnosis, management and treatment of acute and urgent illnesses and injuries that may be life-threatening and require immediate attention.

The Emergency Department is staffed by doctors and nurses who have specialised training in Emergency Medicine.

The Wellington Hospital Emergency Department provides emergency care to people in the Greater Wellington, Porirua and Kapiti regions. Each year the Department sees approximately 64,000 patients.



12:00 AM to 12:00 AM.

Mon – Sunmidnight – midnight

24 hours a day; 7 days a week

Referral Expectations

Patients arrive at our Emergency Department a number of ways. They may be referred by their GP or primary healthcare provider, delivered by ambulance or they may self-present.

Regardless, all patients undergo brief triage to determine the nature and urgency of their illness or injury. Patients are then assigned a triage code as follows:

  • Triage 1: life-threatening e.g. cardiac arrest. Treatment is immediate.
  • Triage 2: emergency e.g. chest pain, shoulder dislocation etc. We aim to treat these patients within 10 minutes.
  • Triage 3: urgent e.g. bad injuries or severe abdominal pain. We aim to treat these patients within 30 minutes.
  • Triage 4: semi-urgent e.g. fractured wrist. We aim to treat these patients within 60 minutes.
  • Triage 5: non-urgent e.g. minor strains or sprains which could be treated by a GP/primary healthcare organisation. We aim to treat these patients within two hours.

Where possible, infants and children are seen quickly. The triage nurse will request a paediatric assessment on children under four years triaged as category 3.
Patients are then seen in order of urgency, not arrival times, so those with more severe symptoms or injuries are treated before those with less serious conditions. 

After the initial assessment and treatment, patients may be admitted to the hospital, transferred to another hospital or discharged.

As the entry point to the hospital, a lot of the activity occurs behind the Emergency waiting room doors.  Our ambulance bay connects straight through to the Department, so the number of people in the waiting room is no indication of how busy we are.

To help keeping waiting times down we ask that you keep your Emergency Department for emergencies regardless of the time of year. GPs are better equipped to manage medical problems that are not emergencies.

If you have an injury or illness which you believe your GP may be able to treat, please visit them or the Wellington After Hours Clinic at 17 Adelaide Road, Newtown (open 8am - 11pm seven days a week). The Porirua After Hours Medical Centre is open from 5pm - 11pm on weekdays and from 8:30am until 11pm on weekends.


Eligibility for Funded Health Care

If you are eligible for funded healthcare then in most instances (but not all), the services provided to you will be at no charge. However, there are a number of Departments within C&CDHB that do charge for some services and equipment. If you should have any queries regarding the cost of these specific services, please contact the appropriate department to enquire.   

If you wish to clarify whether you are eligible for funded healthcare please continue to read on....  

The New Zealand (NZ) Government funds health and disability services for people who meet the eligibility criteria set by the Minister of Health. Most services are free (or partly subsidised) for people who meet the eligibility criteria at the time they receive the services.

All patients will be asked to provide documents (e.g. Passports and birth certificates) to prove they are eligible for free or subsidised health care (New Zealanders should only need to prove their eligibility once). Immigration New Zealand may be contacted to clarify patients’ residency/visa status.

Click here to access the Ministry of Health, eligibility criteria.  


Overseas visitors and other ineligible people will be charged for publicly funded health and disability services


Accidents and Emergencies

All overseas visitors are entitled to free care for injuries caused by an accident; but the claim must be accepted by the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC). Any ongoing treatment may be paid by ACC — the patient must apply for ACC for cover. Certain services required in civil emergencies (national or regional) are also publicly funded for overseas visitors and other ineligible people. Anyone needing other emergency care will receive treatment. However, patients that do not qualify for free or subsidised health care will be charged for their treatment and payment will be required before they leave the hospital.


You qualify for all publicly funded health and disability services if you are:

  • A NZ citizen (including those from the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau)
  • An Australian citizen or Australian permanent resident who has/intends to stay in NZ at least two years
  • A NZ residence class visa holder (i.e. a resident visa, permanent resident visa or residence permit)
  • A work visa holder eligible to be in NZ for two years or more (including time spent lawfully in NZ immediately prior to work visa)
  • An interim visa holder who was eligible immediately before their interim visa started
  • A NZ Aid Programme student receiving Overseas Development Assistance funding, or their partner
  • A refugee or protected person (including applicants and people appealing to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal)
  • A victim or suspected victim of people trafficking
  • A child under 18 in the care and control of a parent or legal guardian or person applying to become their legal guardian or adopting parent eligible as above
  • A student visa (or permit) holder on a Commonwealth Scholarship from a NZ university
  • A Ministry of Education Foreign Language Teaching Assistant.


If you are not eligible for the full range of services, you may qualify for a specific set of services if you are:

  • The pregnant partner of an eligible person, for maternity-related services (or where your child is a NZ citizen by birth)
  • An Australian resident (holding a Medicare card) in NZ on a temporary stay, for immediately necessary hospital, maternity and pharmaceutical services
  • A United Kingdom (UK) citizen ordinarily resident in theUK, on a temporary stay, for promptly required services
  • A person being assessed or receiving treatment for tuberculosis or infectious diseases listed in the Health Act, to contain or control the risk to the public
  • A child requiring Immunisation Schedule vaccinations or Well Child services
  • A person being assessed or receiving compulsory services under the:
  •  - Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act
  •  - Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act
  •  - Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired Persons) Act, or the
  •  - Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act
  • A prisoner requiring services; not available in Corrections facilities. 

    Anyone who is not eligible for publicly funded health and disability services is personally liable and must pay C&CDHB the full costs of their treatment. This includes collection costs and any other costs incurred.


    Payment options

    Personal Payment

    • Payments for treatment can be made at:
    • Cashier, Wellington, Main Outpatients
    • Cashier, Kenepuru
    • Emergency Department Reception
    • Dental Reception, Wellington& Kenepuru
    • Te Mahoe, Women’s Health Services
    • Riddiford Hostel Office
    • Audiology, Wellington


    Insurance Company Payment

    • It is the responsibility of patients to arrange for payments by insurance companies to be made to C&CDHB. C&CDHB will invoice you personally until an insurance company has accepted full liability and C&CDHB has been guaranteed payment.
    • If your insurance company only covers part of the costs incurred, you will still be liable for the full bill.


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    Contact Details

    General Enquiries: (04) 385 5999
    Fax: (04) 385 5856

    Emergency Department: Open 24 hours / 7 days, Phone (04) 385 5999

    Wellington Hospital
    Riddiford Street
    Wellington 6021

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    Street Address

    Wellington Hospital
    Riddiford Street
    Wellington 6021

    Postal Address

    Wellington Hospital
    Private Bag 7902
    Wellington South

    This page was last updated at 3:28PM on October 24, 2019. This information is reviewed and edited by Capital & Coast DHB Emergency Department.