Finding a Family Doctor
You don’t need to be registered with a doctor in Australia. However, many people have a family doctor – a medical practitioner who they see for general health matters, including immunisations, prescriptions, medical certificates, health checks, mental health care and health advice.
These doctors are called General Practitioners (GPs). They may work in a small private clinic or practice, or in a public or private medical centre with other doctors. You can choose which doctor or medical centre you attend. GPs are listed online and in the telephone directory under ‘Medical practitioners’. You can decide whether you want to be seen by the same doctor each time, or if you are willing to be treated by other doctors in the same centre.
You may need to visit more than one practice to find your preferred family doctor. Some practices may not accept new patients.
The healthdirect website at www.healthdirect.gov.au also features a General Practice search to find your closest General Practice services.
Routine health concerns
If you have a health concern and it is not an emergency, go to your family doctor or to a medical centre. You may need to wait before seeing a doctor.
You usually need to make an appointment by telephone or online before you arrive. Make sure you are on time for your appointment.
If you are from a country in Asia, Africa, the Indian sub-continent, South America or Eastern Europe it’s likely you have been exposed to tuberculosis and are at a higher risk of being infected and getting sick from it.
Although you may have already been checked for tuberculosis before arriving in Australia, it is possible that you may have a latent or silent infection which is not found on a chest x-ray.
If you become unwell or are concerned about your risk of developing active tuberculosis speak to your family doctor or contact one of the telephone information and advice services listed below.
You cannot consult a medical specialist without seeing a general practitioner (family doctor) first. The doctor may refer you to a medical or other specialist for further treatment.
Doctors’ interpreting priority line
Doctors may use a TIS National interpreter if necessary. This is a free service if you are a permanent resident or an Australian citizen and the medical consultation is covered by Medicare. Your doctor can also book an onsite interpreter if required. See Chapter 3, English Language.
Emergency medical treatment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Emergency departments of public hospitals. Public hospitals are listed under ‘Hospitals’ in the White Pages. Emergency treatment may also be available at some medical centres and some private hospitals.
If you or someone else is dangerously ill, telephone 000 immediately and ask for an “Ambulance”. When you go to hospital, bring any medicines and your Medicare, private health insurance membership, Health Care or Pension Concession cards.
If the situation is not an emergency, contact your family doctor.
Telephone health information and advice services
All states and territories have telephone health services that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They provide free guidance and can direct you to local health services.
You should always try to contact your family doctor first if you have health issues. But if they are unavailable, these telephone services have qualified nurses who can give you immediate professional advice.