Tools for accessing healthcare services

Disability alerts and health passports give your healthcare professionals information about you for your appointment. The information on this page contains useful information on disability alerts; Health Passports; New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL) resources,  help if you are pregnant and research.

1) Disability alerts: tell us what you need from us

A disability alert adds information about your needs to your electronic patient file. It helps us make sure you can access your appointment, understand what’s happening, and feel safe.

To create your disability alert, fill out the ‘my access information’ form to tell us what you need.

Contact us for more information or help with disability alerts

Phone — 0800 DISABILITY (0800 347 224 5489)

Email —

Text — 021 578 307

2) My Health Passport

To save you repeating information to your doctor or health and disability services, use My Health Passport. It explains how you want them to communicate with you and help you.

The passport is a booklet you fill out and take with you to visit health and disability services.

Example pages from ‘my health passport’, including a checklist to show others how you prefer communicating.

How to use your Health Passport:

Someone filling out their My Health Passport

Fill in as much as you like — some of the information might not apply to you. Fill it in before your appointment.

A patient handing their My Health Passport to a healthcare professional

Take your passport every time you visit a disability health service. Tell reception that you have your passport with you.

The healthcare professional will read your My Health Passport and know everything you want them to.

Give the passport to your healthcare professional, so they’ll know what you want them to.

Remember to take your My Health Passport with you when you leave

Take your passport when you leave.

Get the most from your Health Passport

  • Keep your passport safe, so you can find it in an emergency.
  • Keep your passport with you during your appointment.
  • Remind all staff who work with you to read the passport

Where to get a Health Passport

Find out more about Health Passports — contact our Disability team

Contact our Disability team if you have questions about the passport, how to use it or how to fill it out.

To find out more or request a Health Passport:

3) Deaf/NZSL information - Accessing health information in NZSL

You can access a wide variety of health information in NZSL. This includes information for pregnant women.Below is information that is useful for the deaf community to know when visiting hospital.  Tell us if there’s anything you’d like us to add.


Other health information you can access in NZSL

There is a lot of information in NZSL on a wide range of health topics. See below:

Resources on the HealthEd website:

You’ll find these resources on the HealthEd website

    Depression NZ in NZSL:

    Watch this video about depression from 

    The British Charity Signhealth has a large video library on health for deaf people:

    Health information is also available online in British Sign Language (BSL).

    The largest health video library British Sign Language, it covers topics including cancer, depression, and domestic abuse.

    As these videos contain information for the deaf community in the UK, talk to your healthcare professional for health advice specific to New Zealand.

    Other resources:

    NZSL is the only language of many deaf people, and the first and preferred language of others. It is also the basis for deaf culture. The New Zealand Medical Journal recently published the following article about how this affects deaf people’s experiences with our health services.

    • Deaf New Zealand sign language users access to healthcare 
    • We have made a series of videos that explain this research in NZSL . You’ll find the videos on the page at the link, under the title ‘Research about “Deaf communities’ access to health services” published in the NZ Medical Journal (NZSL translation)’.

    UN Resources:

    Toolkit for Emergency Planning:

    Capacity-Building Toolkit for including Aging & Disability Networks in Emergency Planning developed by the US Department of Health and Human Services

    4) Accessing  an interpreter if you’re pregnant and use NZSL

    International research suggests the deaf community has poorer health outcomes than the general population. We know that good communication improves these outcomes — for D/deaf people, this often means using NZSL interpreters. Pre-natal and maternity healthcare is ‘high consequence’. The health of the baby and the mother depend on good healthcare and clear communication. You and your partner can have an interpreter.

    CCDHB or iSign will pay for the interpreter

    CCDHB pays for interpreters for hospital appointments such as in the delivery suite and for women’s health.

    iSign pays for interpreters for:

    • Midwife appointments
    • GP (family doctor) appointments
    • ultrasound appointments
    • Plunket visits
    • antenatal classes

    To contact iSign:

    The interpreter will be booked by your GP, the midwife or Plunket. If you have any problems getting an interpreter, contact iSign for help. You have several options if no NZSL interpreters are available

    Your health professional will work with you to find the best way to communicate with you. Some options include:

    • Using the NZVIS Video Interpreting Service (available 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm Saturday and 12pm to 5pm Sunday). NZVIS is also available during these hours on public holidays.
    • Delay the appointment until you can get an interpreter
    • Using note writing, online videos, gestures, lip reading, or a family member or friend to interpret. These options can be risky, so we suggest you only use them as a last resort.

    What you need to know about the Video Interpreting Service (VIS):

    • NZVIS should usually be a backup option
    • NZVIS uses a qualified NZSL interpreter via Skype through the screen names NZVIS01–NZVIS07. Zoom or Teams can also be used.
    • A hearing person can call a deaf person who uses Skype through VIS by calling 0800 4 715 715 or booking online at
    • The Emergency Departments at Wellington Regional Hospital, Kenepuru, Hutt Valley and the Wairarapa Community Hospital have iPads set up ready to use NZVIS. Personal devices can be used instead of using the iPad situated at each hospital, please offer WiFi for them to connect.
    • For more information, visit

    5) New Zealand Research

    • Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, about Māori with disabilities
    • Research we’ve commissioned:
      • Mental Health Services for Disabled People.  A report based on a small study to understand more about the barriers and enablers disabled people experience when accessing mental health services through the 3DHBs.  A literature review is included alongside key informant interviews with health professionals and disabled people.
      • Disabled people’s experiences of using passenger transport to access 3DHB healthcare services. This report details findings from a study that aims to understand more about the ways in which transport acts as a barrier or enabler to and from 3DHB healthcare settings.
    Last updated 22 March 2023.