The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare has developed the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights for all people receiving, seeking or delivering health care in all settings in Australia. The Charter summarises the basic rights that all patients and consumers are entitled to receive when accessing health care services.
About the Charter
Everyone who is seeking or receiving care in the Australian health system has certain rights regarding the nature of that care. These are described in the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights. The rights included in the Charter relate to access, safety, respect, communication, participation, privacy and comment.
The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights is available to everyone in the healthcare system. It allows patients, consumers, families, carers and providers to share an understanding of the rights of people receiving health care.
Patients, consumers, healthcare providers and health service organisations all have an important part to play in achieving healthcare rights and contributing to a safe and high quality healthcare system.
A genuine partnership between patients, consumers and healthcare providers is important so that everyone achieves the best possible outcomes.
Healthcare providers are aware that in some circumstances, your ability to interact with the healthcare system may be restricted. Where possible they will alert family or support services about your circumstances if they consider that you need assistance.
This section discusses each of the seven Charter rights and provides some guidance to patients, consumers, carers and families on ways they can contribute to ensuring that the rights are upheld.
You are entitled to raise issues about your healthcare rights. You are encouraged to read the Charter, or have it explained to you, and to discuss the Charter with your healthcare provider or family or carer. Healthcare staff should be able to advise you how to obtain further information about your rights.
If you have a complaint, it is always best to try to resolve it with your local health service provider. If you have tried this and are still unsatisfied, you can make a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commissioner.
Click here for more information about The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.
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You have a fundamental right to adequate and timely health care. Sometimes this may not be at the healthcare facility you first attend as not all services are necessarily available everywhere.
If you are unsure about what is happening to you or if you think something has been missed in your care, alert your healthcare provider. Let your provider know any circumstances that might make your health care riskier.
You are entitled to receive care in a way that is respectful of your culture, beliefs, values and characteristics like age and gender. It is important to tell your healthcare provider of any changes in your circumstances. Respect also includes being mindful of healthcare staff and other patients.
Healthcare providers will tell you about the care you are receiving and help you understand what is happening to you.
You can contribute to communication by being as open and honest as you can be. To understand the instructions given to you, you can ask questions if you would like more information.
You can use interpreters if English is not your first language. Interpreter services are free and can be provided in person or by phone.
You are encouraged to participate in decisions about your care. Ask questions if you are unsure about what is happening to you. Involve your family or carer if this makes you more comfortable and sure.
You are able to see your records and ask for information to be corrected if it is wrong. In some situations your health information will need to be shared between healthcare providers.
Healthcare providers want to solve problems quickly, but they need to be told about the problem first. If you have any suggestions about how services could be improved please let staff know.
The procedures used by the health service organisations to comment about your care should be made available to you. You can provide verbal or written comments about the procedures and your experiences.
To commend health workers, to complain about your health care and/or to be advised of the procedure of expressing concern about your care please contact your health service provider’s patient liaison representative.