About Defence Health

Defence Health is the health agency of the New Zealand Defence Force and provides healthcare services to the Force.

All members of the NZDF have a role to play in the management of health in the New Zealand Defence Force. This includes accepting responsibility for their own health, upholding the duty of care to each other and providing emergency care when needed.

Defence Health Services

The purpose of Defence Health is to:

  • maximise Force operational effectiveness; and
  • create a readily deployable health support capability that can operate with flexibility and agility; and
  • provide robust benchmarked health governance to the New Zealand Defence Force.

Health within the New Zealand Defence Force includes the aspects of applied military healthcare under the three domains of practice:

  • Emergency Healthcare; and
  • Primary and Secondary Healthcare; and
  • Force Health Protection.

Health services provided operationally and domestically within the military health context may include, but are not limited to:

  • primary health and inpatient services
  • trauma and emergency management
  • evacuation and medical transportation
  • health intelligence and preventive health
  • physical and mental health conditioning
  • occupational health monitoring and advice
  • community and social services
  • health monitoring, guidance, command and leadership and
  • self-care, aimed at preventing and managing illness, injury and disease.

Access to healthcare

The NZDF ensures that Service personnel have access to comprehensive, timely health care and preventive health measures designed to maintain the health standard required to meet the demands of their military employment.  They are to have access to health care from NZDF service facilities or through arranged providers, whether domestic or overseas, at the same standard as available in New Zealand. Service persons are discouraged from seeking consultations with non-NZDF primary health care providers unless authorised to do so or in an emergency. NZDF civilian personnel are able to access Defence Health services in the event of a health emergency.

Components of Defence Health

The Defence Health Directorate is responsible for the standard of services provided to users of Defence health services, and is responsible for health stewardship, health governance and clinical governance of all health functions in the New Zealand Defence Force.

The Joint Operational Health Group is responsible for the delivery of operational health service support across the New Zealand Defence Force, covering both domestic and deployable health services, This includes coordination, training and preparation of deployable capabilities.

Chaplaincy and social services have recently become part of Defence Health also, and are responsible for the spiritual and social aspects of health.

Assisting you to stay well

Defence Health and our health providers throughout NZDF work to ensure you have the resources and information you need to keep on top of good overall health.

We work to influence choices individuals make as these choices directly impact the operational force readiness. We look to improving individual resilience and stamina, physically, mentally, socially and spiritually, and to improve force fitness and thus operational performance. Our focus is on returning people to deployable effectiveness through a range of interventions from a range of health providers, including health centre personnel, dental centre personnel, PTIs, physiotherapists and others.

Defence health providers have a therapeutic relationship with their patients and are regulated by professional and ethical standards.

Health personnel will treat all personnel with respect, trust and integrity in accordance with the Treaty of Waitangi and professional codes of conduct.