Tools for accessing healthcare services

Disability alerts and health passports give your healthcare professionals information about you for your appointment.


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


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.

Download a Health Passport

Download a health passport from the Health and Disability Commissioner’s Website 

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:

Phone — 0800 DISABILITY (0800 347 224 5489)

Email —

Text — 021 578 307

Deaf/NZSL information

You can access a wide variety of health information in NZSL. This includes information for pregnant women.

Accessing health information in NZSL

This page covers information that’s useful for the deaf community to know when visiting hospital.  Tell us if there’s anything you’d like us to add.

We’ve made a video for the D/deaf community about visiting the hospital

Watch For the D/deaf community: Coming to the hospital? Some useful information You can turn captions on or off.

We’ve also made a video for our staff about best ways to communicate with D/deaf people.

The health information you can access in NZSL

We offer information in NZSL on a wide range of health topics.

Resources on the HealthEd website

You’ll find these resources on the HealthEd website uses NZSL

    Watch this video about depression from 

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

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

    Signhealth’s video library for deaf people 

    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.

    An article about NZSL and deaf communities access health services

    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 an 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)’

    Access 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.

    Phone: 0800 934 683

    Free text: 3359


    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


    Key numbers to call if you need help

    Call 111 in an emergency.

    Call Healthline on 0800 358 5453 or your GP for any health questions and concerns.


    Information from the Ministry of Health

    Online resources about health and disability

    UN Resources

    UN Rights of Persons with Disabilities 

    In Easy Read — UN Rights of Persons with Disabilities

    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


    New Zealand Research

    Health Services and Outcomes Inquiry commissioned by the Waitangi Tribunal, about Māori with disabilities

    Disabled people say ‘nothing about us without us’ - Hogan et. al 2019 The Clinical Teacher explored disability community representatives on why and how health professional education could be strengthened to address the prevalent challenges in healthcare experienced by disabled people.   University of Auckland.

    Persons with disabilities: I’m the Expert About My Body.  Kripke 2018 

    Patients with disabilities: Avoiding unconscious bias when discussing goals of care.  Kripke 2017

    Kripke 2016 Supported health care decision making for people with intellectual and cognitive 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 5 October 2022.