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HealthInfo Canterbury

Emergency & after-hours medical care

Medical emergency (such as heart attack, car crash, stroke)

If you, or someone near you is having a medical emergency, phone 111 and ask for an ambulance.

If you are deaf, you can use either:

In a medical emergency, you might be taken to the Christchurch Hospital Emergency Department. The Emergency Department provides lifesaving treatment and urgent medical attention to those with serious injuries or illness. This page has videos showing how the Emergency Department operates.

If it is not a medical emergency the ambulance crew may give you first aid, then recommend you see your GP or go to an after-hours clinic for any further care you need.

Medical advice

If you need medical advice, you can phone your general practice team and speak to someone who can help. If you live in Canterbury, you can call your general practice 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Free phone advice lines:

After-hours healthcare

For health advice or care after hours, phone your general practice.



Calls from any Ashburton medical clinic number are redirected to a nurse or the Ashburton Hospital.

Rural areas

Most rural areas have a doctor or nurse on call – phone the local general practice in your area. If no doctor or nurse is available, use the Christchurch or Ashburton out-of-hours services listed above.

Mental health services

If you need urgent or emergency mental health care, or if you are worried about the mental health of a friend or family member, call 0800‑920‑092 (24 hours, 7 days a week).

Call 0800‑222‑955 to contact the mental health crisis team in Ashburton.


In case of poisoning, contact the Poison Information Service immediately: 0800‑POISON (0800‑764‑766), or seek medical advice from another health professional.

Phone 111 for an ambulance if:

Do not try to make the person vomit or give them food or liquid until you have been given advice.

Public health emergency or disaster

During a public health emergency, such as a flu epidemic, you can find information on the Ministry of Health homepage, and usually on the TV and radio. You can find other useful information on the Community and Public Health website.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed August 2017.

See also:

Preparing for your doctor's visit

In this section

Acute Admission to General Surgery

Christchurch Emergency Department

Managing your urgent care at home

Page reference: 38733

Review key: HIEMG-274747