Everyone who is seeking or receiving care in the Australian health system has certain rights regarding their care.
These rights are set out in the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. They apply to all people in all places where healthcare is provided in Australia – including public hospitals, private hospitals, urgent care clinics, GPs and family doctors, specialists, allied health, and community health services.
These rights ensure all patients and carers in Australia receive safe, high-quality care in partnership with healthcare providers.
It is important to know your healthcare rights and what you can expect when receiving healthcare. Health Consumers’ Council WA can help you understand your rights, and provide support to ensure your rights are upheld.
What are your healthcare 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 that meets national standards, 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, to the extent that you choose and are able to, and you may include the people that you want in planning and decision-making.
- 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 can receive information about services, waiting times and costs, and be given assistance, when you need it, to help you understand and use that health information. You also have the right to access your health information. You must be told if something has gone wrong during your healthcare, including how it happened, how it may affect you and what is being done to make your care safe.
- Privacy: You have a right to have your personal privacy respected — information about you and your health must be kept secure and confidential.
- Give feedback: You have a right to provide feedback or make a complaint without it affecting the way that you are treated. Your concerns should be addressed in a transparent and timely way, and you have the right to share your experience and to participate in the improvement of the quality of care and health services.
What are your responsibilities as a patient?
You also have responsibilities as a patient. To help your health service team provide you the best possible care please:
- tell them about your illnesses and hospital visits, symptoms, medications, allergies and other health related matters
- tell them about any religious or cultural beliefs and requirements
- treat all people you meet in the health service (staff, volunteers, patients, their families) with care, dignity and consideration
- ask questions and talk to your family before making any decisions about your health care if relevant
- follow staff instructions regarding your treatment and care
- be on time for appointments and let your health service know if you need to cancel or reschedule, and notify them if your contact details change
- respect the confidentiality and privacy of others.
Information for voluntary mental health patients
This brochure provides information about what your rights are and what you can expect if you are getting treatment for a mental illness as a voluntary patient in a hospital.
Information for involuntary mental health patients
If you have questions about your rights as an involuntary patient under the Mental Health Act, you can contact the Mental Health Advocacy Service for free support on (08) 6234 6300 or Freecall 1800 999 057 or by email email@example.com
Information about COVID
At times, there may be healthcare requirements and responsibilities related to COVID. You can find up-to-date information about COVID in Western Australia on the WA Government and Healthy WA websites.
Video animation on the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights – English language
Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights - Auslan video