Key messages

  • The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes the rights of people using the Australian healthcare system.
  • Everyone has the right to access healthcare.
  • Everyone has the right to the highest possible standard of physical and mental healthcare.
  • The Charter recognises and respects the diversity of Victoria’s population.
  • Patients and health service consumers who have concerns or need support within large public hospitals can access patient representatives.
  • The Victorian Government has produced a healthcare rights brochure.

Guiding principles for healthcare rights

The following principles describe how the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights applies in the Australian health system.

  • Everyone has the right to be able to access healthcare.
  • The Australian Government commits to international agreements about human rights that recognise everyone’s right to have the highest possible standard of physical and mental healthcare.

Australia is a society made up of people with different cultures and ways of life, and the Charter acknowledges and respects these differences.

Patient rights in the Victorian health system

The following patient rights apply in the Victorian health system:

Principle

Patients’ rights

What this means

Access

All patients will have a right to healthcare.

Patients can access services to address their healthcare needs.

Safety

All patients will have a right to receive safe and high-quality care.

Patients receive safe and high-quality health services, provided with professional care, skill and competence.

Respect

All patients will have a right to be shown respect, dignity and consideration.

The care provided shows respect to patients and their culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.

Communication

All patients will have a right to be informed about services, treatment, options and costs clearly and openly.

Patients receive open, timely and appropriate communication about their healthcare in a way they can understand.

Participation

All patients will have a right to be included in decisions and choices about their care.

Patients may join in decisions and choices about their care and about health service planning.

Privacy

All patients will have a right to privacy and confidentiality of their personal information.

Each patient’s personal privacy is maintained and proper handling of their personal health and other information is assured.

Patients and consumers

Patients and health service consumers who have concerns or need support within large public hospitals can access patient representatives and most also have an Aboriginal liaison officer. Many mental health services have consumer and carer advocates.

Healthcare rights and human rights

The Australian and Victorian governments are committed to several international human rights agreements that recognise everyone has a right to the highest possible standard of physical and mental health. They recognise everyone’s right to healthcare and to other services essential to health, including safe water, housing and health-related education. In Victoria, publicly funded healthcare services must comply with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006, which protects many human rights.

Healthcare Charter in Victoria brochure

The Victorian Government has produced a healthcare rights brochure that describes the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights and what it means to patients, consumers, family members or carers using the Victorian healthcare system. The brochure is available in audio, Auslan, easy English and 25 community languages. Brochures can be ordered for free – both printed or braille versions of the brochure are available.

Healthcare services and healthcare professionals

The brochure informs healthcare services about improving service quality and responsiveness relating to consumer and patient rights.

Order the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in Victoria brochure

To order the brochure please complete the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in Victoria online order form and select the language(s) and quantity of brochures you require.

Contact details

  • Sector Performance Quality and Rural Health Branch

    • Telephone Number:+61 3 9096 6176