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Patient information

Your admission choices

When admitted to NSW public hospitals, holders of Medicare cards have a choice to be treated as either a public or private patient. This is called your financial election. An election choice can be made before, at the time of, or as soon as practical after you are admitted.

If you choose to be admitted as a public patient:

  • you will be treated by doctors nominated by the hospital
  • you will not be charged for hospital accommodation, medical and diagnostic services, prostheses or other relevant services
  • your follow-up care when you leave hospital will usually be provided in an outpatient clinic of the hospital.

To help you make an informed admission choice, read My Admission, My Choice, My Election.

When admitted to NSW public hospitals, holders of Medicare cards have a choice to be treated as either a public or private patient. This is called your financial election. An election choice can be made before, at the time of, or as soon as practical after you are admitted.

If you choose to be admitted as a private patient:

  • you can choose the specialist doctor who will treat you
  • you will be informed prior to making a choice, whether there will be any out-of-pocket expenses for hospital-generated accounts or doctor(s) fees
  • your specialist doctor will usually provide follow-up care in their private room after you leave hospital. As a private patient you may also be eligible to transfer to a private hospital for further treatment or for follow-up care
  • you will have access to a single room if one is available and you have single room health cover.

For further information on the benefits of choosing to be a private patient read What it Means to be a Private Patient.

To help you make an informed admission choice, read My Admission, My Choice, My Election.

Preparing for your surgery

Before going to hospital for your surgery, you may attend a pre-admission clinic where staff will provide you with information about the surgery and make plans for after the surgery.

You may require admission before the day planned for their surgery if your doctor needs to do further tests before the surgery, or to prepare you for surgery.

Day only admission is when you are admitted to hospital, have the surgery and go home on the same day. Day only admission causes less disruption to your normal activities and also reduces the chance of post-operative infections and blood clots.

Day of surgery admission means that you are admitted to hospital and have the surgery on the same day, but you stay in hospital after the operation, at least overnight.

In all of these cases, your doctor will let you know the arrangements for your admission to hospital.

During your stay

Patients, their families and carers who do not speak English as a first language or who are Deaf have the right to free, confidential and professional interpreters when they use public health services.

NSW Health Care Interpreting Services provide access to professional interpreting services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, onsite and by telephone in over 120 languages, including Auslan.

Discuss this with a member of your health care team who will arrange an interpreter for you.

If you have any questions regarding your treatment while you are in hospital, don’t hesitate to ask the hospital staff.

For more information about what you can expect from your time in hospital, see Planning Your Hospital Stay and Patient care, treatment and concerns.

If you’re worried about a recent change in your condition or that of your loved one, first talk to your nurse or doctor. If you’re still worried, ask to speak to the nurse in charge and request a “clinical review”.

If you’re still worried, call your hospital’s REACH number. You can use the bedside phone or ask for a ward phone.  Your nurse will show you which ward phone to use or will help you to make the call. Visit the REACH page to find out more about the program and contact details.

The Top Tips for Safe Health CareOpen this document with ReadSpeaker docReader booklet is designed to help consumers, their families, carers and other support people get the most out of their health care. Being actively involved, and working in partnership with healthcare providers, can help ensure you get the care that is right for you.

You can use the information in this booklet when you talk to your doctor and healthcare providers, including nurses, pharmacists, specialists, allied health and mental health workers.

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