Get the most from your appointment

Australia has one of the best health care systems in the world. When you need to visit a healthcare professional, you can expect to receive the safest care available.

Good health care is achieved through an active and positive partnership between you and your healthcare professional. To get the best possible care, see yourself and your healthcare professional as a team and be involved as much as possible in every decision about your health.

Be actively involved in your own health care

Take part in every decision to help prevent things from going wrong and get the best possible care for your needs. Ask questions, and expect answers you can understand. Some questions you can ask your healthcare professional are:

  • What should I look out for?
  • Please tell me more about my condition, tests and treatments. How will the tests or treatments help me and what is involved?
  • What are the risks and what is likely to happen if I don’t have this treatment?

Have a family member, carer or interpreter there with you if you want, and speak up if you have any questions or concerns.

Learn more about your condition and or treatments. Collect as much reliable information as you can.

Know your medications

Keep a list of all the medicines you are taking, including prescriptions, over the counter and complementary medicines (for example vitamins and herbs).

Make sure you understand the medicines you are taking – read the label including warnings. Make sure what you are given is what your doctor ordered for you.

Ask about directions for use, possible side effects or interactions, and how long you will need to take it for.

Tell your healthcare professional if you have any allergies or if you have ever had a bad reaction to an anaesthetic or any other drugs.

Follow up with your doctor

Talk to your doctor to find out the results of any tests or procedures, and ask what they mean for your care.

If you need to go into hospital, talk about the options. Make sure you understand what will happen if you need surgery or a procedure. Some questions you can ask are:

  • What will the surgery or procedure or involve and are there any risks?
  • Are there any other possible treatments?
  • How quickly does this need to happen?
  • Is there an option to have the surgery/procedure done as a day patient, or in an alternative hospital?
  • How much will it cost?

Make sure you, your doctor and your surgeon all agree on exactly what needs to be done. Confirm which operation will be performed and where, as close as possible to it happening.

Before you leave hospital, ask your healthcare professional to explain the treatment plan you will use at home. Make sure you understand your continuing treatment, medicines and follow up care.

Visit your doctor as soon as possible after you are discharged.

We’re committed to working with you to achieve the best possible care and maximise your health and wellbeing.