- Cancer Information
- Practical concerns
- Cancer care and your rights
- Key questions about your health care rights
- Your health care rights
Your health care rights
The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes your rights when using health care services. Below is a summary of the 7 rights included in the charter and how they may contribute to the quality of health care your receive.
AccessYou have a right to access health services and treatments that meet your needs. If you have a current Medicare card and are treated in a public hospital as a public patient, you have a right to access care at little or no cost.
SafetyYou have a right to receive high-quality, evidence-based care in an environment that is safe. If you are worried that something has been overlooked, talk with your health care provider and ask for a clinical review. This means that your condition and the treatment you are receiving is checked. If required, you should receive instructions about how to safely care for yourself at home.
RespectYou have a right to be treated as an individual and with dignity and respect. You also have a right to have your culture, identity, beliefs and choices recognised and respected.
PartnershipYou have a right to ask questions and make decisions about your treatment and care in partnership with your health care team. For example, you have the right to accept or refuse any treatment you are offered, and to decide whether to take part in clinical trials. You have the right to include family members and carers in your decision-making and meetings with doctors.
InformationYou have a right to receive clear information about your health and the possible benefits and risks of different tests and treatments, so you can give informed consent. You have the right to receive information about the costs of tests and treatments and wait times. You can ask questions if you need more information. If English is not your first language, you can request interpreter services, which may be free. If something goes wrong, you should be told about it and what is being done to fix it. You have the right to obtain a second opinion and to gain access to your own health information.
Give feedbackYou have a right to give feedback or make a complaint, and for any concerns to be dealt with fairly and in a timely way.
PrivacyYou have a right to privacy. Your personal and health information must be kept private secure and confidential (except in limited circumstances). This includes discussions with health care providers, and your written and online medical records.
In addition to the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights, The Private Patients’ Hospital Charter sets out the rights and responsibilities of private patients in public and private hospitals and day procedure centres.
Podcast: Coping with a cancer diagnosis
Prof Sarah Lewis, Faculty of Medicine and Health, The University of Sydney, NSW; Kevin Bloom, Senior Social Worker, Haematology and Bone Marrow Transplant, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW; Danielle Curnoe, Consumer; Alana Fitzgibbon, Clinical Nurse Consultant – Gastro-Intestinal Cancers, Cancer Services, Royal Hobart Hospital, TAS; Hall & Wilcox (law firm); Johanna Jordaan, Consumer; Dr Deme Karikios, Medical Oncologist, Nepean Cancer and Wellness Centre, Nepean Hospital, NSW; Melissa Lawrie, Breast Cancer Clinical Nurse, Cancer Services, Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service, QLD; Jacqueline Lesage, Consumer Reviewer, Cancer Voices NSW; Andrew Potter, Consumer; Siân Slade, PhD Candidate, Nossal Institute for Global Health and Non-Executive Director (health, disability sectors), VIC; Paula Watt, Clinical Psychologist, WOMEN Centre, WA.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.