When you are not in hospital
Outside of hospital you have the right to choose which healthcare people will treat you. This is important. It means you can choose somebody who listens to you, looks after you, and makes you feel comfortable. For example, you might feel most comfortable with a male doctor or a female doctor.
Except for some special times, nobody should force you to be treated by a particular healthcare person. Outside of hospital you have the right to choose to stop seeing a healthcare person at any time, and start seeing a different one. You don’t have to give a reason for your choice, but you can.
When you are in hospital
If you are in hospital, your rights depend on whether you are a ‘public patient’ or a ‘private patient’. You might:
- Have private health insurance and are being treated in a private hospital. In this case you are a private patient.
- You have private health insurance and are being treated in a public hospital. In this case you (or the person who makes medical choices for you) can choose whether you will be a private patient or public patient.
- You do not have private health insurance and are being treated in a public hospital. In this case you are a public patient.
Private patients have the right to choose the doctor who will look after them in hospital.
Public patients do not have the automatic right to choose which doctor will treat them. Public patients can still have a say. For example, cultural beliefs might make you uncomfortable with a doctor of a male or female doctor. You can tell the hospital this. But the hospital has the right to make the final choice.