Understanding the Australian Healthcare System and Your Rights
What you need to know
Here’s everything you need to know about the Australian healthcare system and your rights.
Australia’s health system provides quality, safe and affordable health care for people and their families. There are many providers of healthcare in Australia, including: primary care services delivered by general practitioners (GPs); medical specialists; allied health workers; pharmacists and nurses.
When getting healthcare in Australia, you have seven basic rights:
Access: You have a right to healthcare services and treatment that meet your needs.
Safety: You have a right to receive safe and high-quality healthcare and to be cared for in an environment that is safe and makes you feel safe.
Respect: You have a right to be treated as an individual, and with dignity and respect. Your culture, identity, beliefs and choices must be recognised and respected.
Partnership: You have a right to ask questions and be involved in open and honest communication. You can make decisions with your healthcare provider.
Information: You have a right to receive clear information about your condition, as well as the possible benefits and risks of different tests and treatments, so you can give your informed consent. You also have the right to access your health information.
Privacy: You have a right to have your personal privacy respected — information about you and your health must be kept secure and confidential.
Givefeedback: You have a right to provide feedback or make a complaint without it affecting the way that you are treated.
Most of what you say to health workers is confidential, and your confidentiality is a high priority as part of your health-care rights. However, health workers are bound by law to report certain things.
As an international student in Australia, you are required to have overseas student health cover (OSHC) for the entire duration of your study in Australia. OSHC includes cover for visits to the doctor, some hospital treatment, ambulance cover and limited medicines. Find out what you need to know about OSHC here.
Healthcare rights ensure all patients and carers in Australia receive safe, high-quality care in partnership with healthcare providers.
If you would like an interpreter to help you access health services or information, please contact the Translating and Interpreting Service on 131 450.
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We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we live and work and recognise their ongoing connection to land, waters and communities. We pay our respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples today.
Thank you to all the international students who participated in the hub development and design.>
Grant Partners NSW STI Programs Unit, Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District (LHD), South Eastern Sydney LHD, Southern and Murrumbidgee LHD, Sydney LHD, Western Sydney LHD, ACON, BUPA, Centre for Culture Ethnicity and Health (CEH), English Australia, Family Planning NSW (FPNSW), Medibank, Multicultural HIV and Hepatitis Service, University of NSW (UNSW)