Healthcare and Medical services
An Insider’s Guide to Living in Syndey
An adventure a day, keeps the doctor away
So, you’ve done it. You’re relocating to Sydney and you’ve thought of everything. The flights are booked and your new home is waiting. You have planned for every conceivable outcome – but what about the inconceivable ones?
If you’ve been living in the UK, you might have enjoyed the benefits of the British National Health Service. Sydney also benefits from a very effective national healthcare system, boasting one of the most efficient systems for healthcare in the entire world. The national healthcare system in Sydney is called Medicare and it is available, free, to all citizens of Australia and New Zealand. If you have a permanent Visa to live in Australia, then you will also be entitled to Medicare. If you’re just a temporary visitor or resident however, you will need to register for private insurance.
Paying for your healthcare
In Sydney, those eligible for free healthcare include:
- Permanent residents of Australia
- Permanent residents of New Zealand
- Permanent Visa holders
If you are not any of the above, then it is important to look at the health insurance provided by your employer and think about the option of private healthcare too.
To avoid high medical costs, it is always best to check with your employer on your health insurance plan. Most visas will also require that you have proof of adequate health insurance for the length of your stay in Australia.
If you don’t have a health insurance plan included with your employment, it is best to do your research to find health insurance for your time in Sydney. This can be with an international health insurance company or a local one. Always check to see which practitioners accept your cover and look to the practitioners first, as an indicator of which health insurance providers you should be looking at.
Private Health Insurance
The public hospitals in Sydney are so highly regarded, that there may be little need for you to go private. If you do choose this option, then you should check with the Australian Government Private Health Insurance Ombudsman to find the best option for you.
International Health Insurance
If you’re planning on staying in Sydney for less than one year, a simpler option might be to choose an international health insurance, which covers you in multiple locations all over the globe. This could also be a very good option for you if you tend to travel extensively. Do your research however and ensure that the health insurance you opt for is one that is recognised in Sydney hospitals.
Always look into the following when you’re selecting your health insurance:
- Duration of the time you are covered
- Conditions, diseases, and services covered
- Amount up to which you are covered
- Can your insurance provider be reached 24/7?
- How are claims handled?
It may sound silly, but always check that your healthcare insurance definitely covers Australia.
Choosing your plan
It is worth checking with your place of work if a health insurance package is offered as part of your employment contract. Many companies offer their employees a healthcare package, which sometimes can cover immediate family too. You can often choose between paying a contribution to your health insurance each month and your excess will vary on the amount you choose to pay into this every month. The lower your monthly rate, the higher your excess is likely to be.
Finding your hospital
There are several leading hospitals and clinics in Sydney, with plenty more private options too. You can rely on the general public hospitals to offer all inpatient and outpatient services you would expect at any UK hospital along with an ER department for each too. These public sector hospitals are far more superior compared to the “government hospitals” in other countries, so rest assured you’re in safe hands when visiting hospital in Sydney.
Recommended hospitals include but are not exclusive to:
575 Canterbury Rd, Campsie NSW 2194, Australia
+61 2 9787 0000
Mona Vale Hospital
18 Coronation St, Mona Vale NSW 2103, Australia
+61 2 9998 0333
St Vincents Private Hospital
406 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
+81 03 5550 7166
North Shore Private Hospital
Westbourne Street, ST LEONARDS NSW 2065
+604 6433 888
Corner of Elizabeth and Goulburn Streets Liverpool NSW 2170
+61 7 3163 8111
You can also visit The NHSD (National Health Services Directory) website for a comprehensive listing of public and private hospitals.
Registering with a doctor
Seeing a doctor in Sydney is relatively easy - perhaps easier than getting an appointment with your current doctor in the UK or the US. Most General Practitioners work from group clinics in which you don’t actually need to be registered with one doctor. You can choose to visit any doctor and can make an appointment around two days in advance of seeing the doctor. Surgery hours usually run between 8:30am and 6-7pm Monday to Friday. Australian doctors also make house calls, so know that this could be an option for you too, if you’re feeling particularly unwell.
Pharmacies (or chemists as they are known in Sydney) are dotted all over the city but medicine requires a prescription from a registered doctor. If you require a repeat prescription for any medication you were taking before the move, be sure to see a doctor as soon as you get to Sydney so you can get back onto the correct medication.
Dental care in Sydney is second to none and there’s definitely no shortage of dental care professionals out there to take care of your pearly whites. There are thousands of dentists registered in Sydney, so look no further than this city for perhaps the best dental care you will receive.
In Sydney, most dental care is run privately, with many dentists operating out of private dental clinics. This means that prices can vary dramatically so be sure to fully understand what your health plan covers and what type of dental care you are entitled to within your plan. Even routine dental treatments like fillings aren’t covered by Medicare in Australia, so registering with a private clinic as soon as you get to Sydney will save any delays when you most need to see a dentist.
When looking for a dentist, be sure that the clinic you’re choosing recognises international health insurance and your health insurance provider. Some dentists don’t honour it in Australia so be sure to find the right one for your health insurance. The cost of seeing a dentist in Australia is quite high, but the service and quality of treatment is second to none.
When looking for a dentist, ask friends and co-workers for referrals. You can also check out dentist.com.au for a full listing of dentists, but obviously, you may feel more comfortable seeing a dentist that has been highly recommended to you by someone you trust.
As with a dentist, same goes for your optician. Look at your insurance provider’s and your GP’s recommended optometrists and ensure before visiting any eye care specialist that they do in fact accept your medical insurance.
Emergencies and Helplines
For immediate health care for potentially life threatening situations, dial 000
Veterinary care is available all over Sydney but there is no government funded service available for your little furry friends so make sure you have checked out all options for your pet way before you need to take it to the vet. Choose from pay-as-you go options to monthly packages according to the practice you opt for.
So there you have it.
Your very own guide to what to do, who to call or where to go if you have any medical requirements (emergency or not). Although the likelihood of you needing to use any of these services are minimal, you can never be too careful when planning your trip.
This guide simply gives you the peace of mind so that you are able to fully focus on the many fantastic places you will be visiting. Be sure to check out our destination guide that unearths some hidden gems in the world of dining, entertainment and places to visit in Sydney.