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The Guide and Process to See a Doctor in Australia

Where to See a Doctor in Australia?


Clinics are the most common and popular places to see a doctor in Australia. Generally speaking, family doctors (general practitioners), also known as GPs (General Practice), will provide services in clinics. People in Australia can go to a GP if they have a headache, a fever or a minor health problem.

In Australia, GPs play a vital role in your medical treatment. The GP records Your medical history and will recommend you go to the hospital for further examination. After seeing a specialist, the assessment results, the treatment plan, and the medication prescription will all need to be sent back to the GP, who will follow up with you.

In an emergency, the emergency services can go straight to your GP and get your complete medical history, rather than you having to talk to them because you don’t speak the language.

How Do I Choose a GP?

When looking for a GP, there are several factors you can consider, including the distance of the clinic from where you live, whether the opening hours are convenient for you, and whether the doctor can speak Chinese. And whether the GP has other professional certificates, such as paediatrics, obstetrics, or gynaecology, which are more suitable for those planning to give birth to a baby or have children at home.

Medical Centres

A medical centre in Australia is similar to an outpatient clinic in China, with specialists such as ophthalmologists, obstetricians, and gynaecologists. Suppose a GP finds that a patient’s condition is beyond his or her ability to treat. In that case, the GP will recommend that the patient go to the relevant specialist based on the severity of the examination report and the patient’s condition after a series of examinations.


There are two types of hospitals in Australia: public and private, each with a 50/50 split. Whether Australian or an expat, you can go to a public hospital for free in an emergency. Of course, to send in is to send in, but row to you to give you treatment is another story …… If you have an ordinary general minor cold and go to the hospital, it is impossible to find a doctor. The hospital only receives emergencies; you can see a doctor, according to you and the order of queuing for medical treatment.

Australia private hospitals also have a lot, if you have a separate purchase of personal health insurance can consider going to a private hospital to see.

Procedures for Seeing a Doctor in Australia

General Practitioner (initial consultation, appointment with specialist) – Specialist (billing) – Examination (waiting for report) – Specialist (reading results, prescribing medication) – Pharmacy to buy medication.

Generally, when visiting a doctor in Australia, most people will first visit a GP practice or medical centre if it is not an emergency. The GP will then refer the patient to a specialist clinic or hospital specialist outpatient department if necessary. The specialist will then diagnose the patient’s condition and recommend treatment or hospitalisation for observation.

Where Can I Buy Medication in Australia?

Pharmacies in Australia can sell prescription medicines. It would be best if you had a prescription from an Australian doctor to buy them.

Pharmacies also sell generic over-the-counter medicines that do not require a doctor’s prescription. You can visit a pharmacy for minor ailments, such as a cold or cough. The pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter medicines for the symptoms. Pharmacists do not usually charge a consultation fee. If the pharmacist thinks it is necessary, he will advise you to go to a doctor’s clinic for treatment.

How Do I Go to the Emergency Room?

Call an Ambulance

You can call an ambulance service if you have a dire medical emergency or trauma. In Australia, the ambulance number is 000. Medicare does not reimburse ambulance costs, so you must pay for the ambulance and emergency treatment yourself. (Of course, if you have other private insurance, it’s a different story.)

Tips: The cost of calling an ambulance alone is very high in Australia, so be careful if you don’t have to. Once you have called an ambulance, if you don’t need it, you must pay an extra fee for the return journey.

Emergency Care in Public Hospitals

All public hospitals in Australia have a 24-hour Emergency and Casualty department. You can go directly to a public hospital near your home without an appointment if you have a severe illness or injury. Emergency and Casualty Departments in public hospitals generally prioritise patients according to the urgency of their condition. The most critically ill patients will be treated first. Ordinary emergency cases may require one or two hours before a doctor can be seen.

Finding a Family Doctor

Patients with common emergencies can see their family doctor (GP). It is best to call the doctor beforehand to make an appointment. Usually, emergency patients can arrange to be seen on the same day.

The Australian Government has an out-of-hours GP helpline (1800 022 222), which is usually available in the evenings from Monday to Friday and all day on weekends and holidays. After dialling the number, patients are first assessed by the nurse on the line for medical conditions and medical advice. If necessary, the nurse can contact a GP to give medical advice over the phone. Please note that if a patient’s condition is urgent and requires immediate medical attention. It is best to go to a hospital or clinic as soon as possible to see a doctor.

Medicare in Australia

Australia is a country with a highly developed welfare system. Australian citizens, immigrants, international students and working people from other countries can enjoy many social benefits. One of these benefits is Medicare, which covers the entire population.

Medicare is Australia’s federal healthcare system that covers most medical expenses and provides high-quality healthcare for Australian citizens and permanent residents. Every Australian citizen and permanent resident can enrol in Medicare and apply for a Medicare Card. Cardholders can access a range of free services at any community clinic and public hospital in the country.

The Services Provided by Medicare Include:

Free emergency, outpatient (Medical) and inpatient medical services in public hospitals. Free or partially subsidised private general and specialist medical services. Subsidised community private pharmaceutical services; free pathology tests, imaging tests and treatment services.

In addition to the mandatory payment of Medicare, there is private health insurance (Private Health Insurance). So Medicare does not reimburse the items that can be insured through private health insurance to give you double health protection.

Medicare Reimbursement Rates

According to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) set by the Australian government, Medicare reimbursement rates are based on the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS):

As a National Health Insurance patient, under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) criteria, you are entitled to free accommodation, food, treatment, nursing care and post-discharge continuation of therapy in Australian public hospitals. However, patients do not have the right to choose their doctor; the hospital will appoint a doctor for the patient. Specifically, suppose a patient is admitted to a public hospital as a publicly-funded patient. In that case, the hospital will not charge for hospitalisation and medical treatment covered by Medicare if the patient presents his/her Medicare card. Other than that, the patient will still need to pay the hospital for other expenses not covered by public healthcare reimbursement.

When medical services are received at medical institutions other than hospitals. Such as general practitioners’ and specialists’ clinics, medical centres, laboratory testing centres, etc.. According to the MBS standard, universal health insurance will reimburse 100% of the fees of a general practitioner (General Practitioner) or pay 85% of the costs of a specialist.

Pharmaceutical Benefits: The government provides prescription drug subsidies to patients enrolled in universal health insurance through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS), which specifies a list of prescription drugs subsidised by the government and the out-of-pocket payments (Co-Payment) for each drug. The Co-Payment rate is adjusted annually. For more details, please visit the official website.

Medical Fees in Australia

General Practitioner

Depending on the complexity of the condition and the length of the visit, Medicare reimburses different rates for GP services. For example, Medicare will reimburse AUD$16.95 for an outpatient visit to a GP within 10 minutes of the visit and AUD$37.05 for a visit within 20 minutes.

The Australian government does not require Doctors to charge the Medicare rate, so it is up to them to decide how much they want to charge. Most GPs charge the government rate, but if you have Medicare National Health Insurance and the doctor’s surgery is billed directly to the government’s Medicare, there is usually no further charge for the visit.

Specialist Doctors

Specialists can usually determine their fees. Depending on the speciality and location, specialist fees can range from $100 to several hundred. Medicare reimburses 85 per cent of the specialist’s cost at the MBS specialist fee rate for patients with Medicare National Health Insurance. Depending on the specialist’s fee schedule, Medicare reimburses around A$50 to A$150 per general specialist visit. The patient will be responsible for any costs over the reimbursement rate.


Suppose you are admitted to a hospital as a Medicare patient. In that case, you must be seen by a hospital-appointed doctor, and you cannot choose the length of your stay, which is determined by the hospital based on your condition and the availability of hospital beds. However, the benefit is that Medicare will pay for medical and accommodation costs during the hospitalisation period based on MBS reimbursement rates.

If you have private hospital insurance, you can choose your doctor, be seen in public or private hospitals, etc. As a private patient, Medicare generally reimburses 75 per cent of the cost of medical services based on MBS criteria, with your private insurer reimbursing the remaining 25 per cent of the cost of medical treatment and other costs such as private room charges.


 Finding a GP is simple through platforms such as the HealthDirect Australia website, which offers a comprehensive directory of registered general practitioners nationwide.

 To book an appointment, you can call the doctor’s office directly, use their online booking system if available, or use healthcare apps that list local practitioners and provide scheduling services.

Visitors holding specific visas may be eligible for Medicare under reciprocal healthcare agreements; otherwise, health insurance is recommended to cover medical costs.

 For medical emergencies, dial 000 for an ambulance. Always go to the hospital emergency department for urgent, life-threatening conditions.

 Waiting times can vary from one day to a few weeks, depending on the practice and the situation’s urgency. Booking in advance or contacting multiple clinics can help reduce wait times.

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