Stand up for your health care rights


When you are sick and under stress, worrying about health care rights can be the last thing you want to do.

But we are being encouraged to be more active about how we are spoken to, how records are handled and even whether we wish to be treated at all.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has updated its charter of patient rights, including access to health care, safety, respect, partnership, information, privacy and giving feedback.

What do these rights mean when you or your family visit the GP, hospital or nursing home?

In an article in The Conversation, writers Lisa Eckstein and Rebekah McWhirter provide informative examples of how these rights play out in real life situations.

Examples include:

  • leaving hospital early
  • dementia restraints
  • health information disclosure.

Complaints can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency or your state or territory health complaints organisation. Details can be found here.

Toothless tiger


The article warns that the charter may not go far enough in protecting groups who experience systemic bias, including many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Another pitfall of the charter is its non-binding nature. It describes the rights but does little to enforce them. This can leave the charter as something of a toothless tiger.

The charter also doesn’t deal with potential patient responsibilities. These are the obligations consumers have to their own health practitioners, like treating staff considerately and keeping medical appointments.

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Out-of-pocket Health Costs remain a concern for National Seniors Australia and many of our members and older Australians.

According to a survey of 6,000 National Seniors members, seniors want reduced out-of-pocket specialists’ fees, cheaper private health insurance premiums, increased funding for public hospitals, and more services covered by Medicare.

Add your voice to the campaign today.

Together, we can make a difference.

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