Healthcare in NSW
New South Wales' healthcare system is world-class, affordable and readily available. Professionals throughout the state offer advanced treatment options from the international vanguard of medical research.
Affordable, available healthcare
NSW Health is a government-run organisation and the state's official healthcare body. It offers a range of healthcare services and manages the state's public hospitals, community health centres and early childhood health centres.
NSW has an extensive network of hospitals and clinics throughout the state:
- 84 private hospitals
- 210 public hospitals
- 280 community-run health centres
- 500 early childhood centres.
To find a public or private hospital near you, visit the NSW Department of Health.
Visiting a doctor or hospital
Every city, town and centre has doctors and general practitioners (GPs) who treat everyday illnesses and can refer you to a specialist if you need further medical treatment. GPs are listed under 'Medical Practitioner' in the Yellow Pages telephone directory or can be found online at Yellow Pages.
For life-threatening emergencies go directly to the Accident and Emergency department of your nearest hospital. If you need an ambulance, call 000 (triple zero) immediately. For non–life threatening emergencies, visit your nearest GP or medical centre.
Medicare Australia is the country's public health service. If you have recently arrived in Australia or intend to move here or visit, Medicare offers an online information kit for migrants and travellers.
Permanent residents of Australia have access to full Medicare benefits. For information on enrolling with Medicare, visit the travellers' section of the Medicare Australia website.
Reciprocal Health Care Agreements
The Australian Government has Reciprocal Health Care Agreements (RHCAs) with several countries. If you come from Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden or the UK, you can access free or low-cost visits to doctors and treatment in public hospitals while you are in Australia.
If your country of origin has an RHCA with Australia and you need medical treatment, you should enrol at a Medicare office.
During your time in Australia, you will have to pay the full amount for prescription medicines. You may be able to claim some of the cost against your private insurance. Some drugs are not permitted in Australia, so if you rely on prescription medication, check with the manufacturer whether the drugs are available in the country.
If you are visiting Australia from a country without an RHCA, you will need to purchase travel insurance or buy private health insurance in Australia. Check that your level of cover includes all hospital, ambulance and doctors' fees.
Family private health insurance in Australia is substantially cheaper than in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, the UK and the US.
For an overview of private health insurance, including lists of insurance companies and explanations of the types of cover available, visit the Private Health Insurance Administration Council.