Your rights in the health system

When you visit a doctor, counsellor or other health professional, you have certain rights by law. These include:

  • advice from an appropriately qualified practitioner
  • confidentiality
  • respectful treatment without discrimination
  • the right to give consent about your own treatment
  • free treatment in a public hospital, if you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident. Fees may apply to overseas citizens.

For more information about your healthcare rights visit Reach Out.

Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights – a brief table of your rights.

How to see a specialist

To see a medical specialist in Australia, you need a referral from a general practitioner (GP). The GP will assess your health issue and write a letter of referral to an appropriate specialist. You can then make an appointment with the specialist. You have the right to nominate the specialist you see.

Dentists and allied health professionals (e.g. psychotherapists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, dieticians, chiropractors) do not require a referral. You can contact them directly.

Find a health service near RMIT.

Find a health professional in your area.

About health insurance

If you are an overseas student, you must by law have an Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) insurance policy for the duration of your Australian visa.

If you are an Australian citizen or permanent resident, your medical bills may be paid partly by the public Medicare system and/or by private health insurance. Depending on the medical care you need, you may have to pay for some of it yourself.

All Australians are entitled to Medicare benefits but private insurance is optional. There are various companies and policy types to choose from, some more costly than others.

Privacy and confidentiality

RMIT Health Promotion collects personal information in accordance with the Health Records Act 2001 (Victoria) and The National Privacy Principles under the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988.

Health promotion officers are qualified health promotion practitioners bound by the constitution and bylaws of the Australian Health Promotion Association.

To request a copy of the Health Promotion Privacy Policy please email