Healthcare in Australia – You & The Public Health System

In Australia, the public health system is called Medicare. Under Medicare you can be treated as a public patient in a public hospital at no charge, by a doctor appointed by the hospital. As a public patient you cannot choose your own doctor and you may not have a choice as to when you are admitted to hospital. Prenatal and maternity care is fully-funded under Medicare, regardless of possible surgical intervention and expenses. There are no out-of-pocket expenses when you give birth in a public hospital in Australia under the public health system.

If you’re a public patient in Australia you will receive prenatal care through your local hospital, beginning at around 12 weeks gestation. You will have an appointment with a midwife at the hospital in a clinic situation, and various prenatal checks will be done to document your baby’s growth and development and your own health. The clinic will be able to inform you of any birthing or breastfeeding classes being run by the hospital and you will also be referred for physiotherapy treatment and services within the hospital if required, at no cost. Most clinics are a wealth of information and there are often numerous leaflets and brochures for new mums covering every subject imaginable.