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Your Rights and Responsibilities

Your Rights and Responsibilities

  Click to play the Rights and Responsibilities video resource

The video resource was produced in partnership with Life Without Barriers – a non-Government organisation that supports people with a disability across the Illawarra and Shoalhaven. The video uses vignettes that incorporate easy language and captions to convey the Rights and Responsibilities of people using the health system. It also features health staff and clients of Life Without Barriers.

Rights and Responsibilities

As a patient, client, consumer, carer, family member or visitor to the Hospital, you have a number of rights and responsibilities.

You have the right to:

  • Access - To use our health services and facilities.
  • Safety - To be treated with high quality health care in a safe environment.
  • Respect - To be shown respect regardless of your culture, religion, beliefs, values, sexuality, age, gender or ability.
  • Communication - To receive information about your health care in a way that you can understand so that you can give consent for treatment.
  • Participation - To be included in decisions made about your care by talking to your health care worker and asking questions.
  • Privacy - Your personal and medical information will be kept secure.
  • Comment - To let us know when we are doing things well and when we are not. To find out how to give us feedback please ask our staff for a ‘Compliments and Complaints’ brochure.

You have the responsibility to:

  • Access - Come to your appointment on time and let us know when you cannot make it.
  • Safety - Tell us about your medical history, the medications you take and any allergies you may have. If you are unsure about the care you are receiving talk to your health care worker.
  • Respect - Be courteous to our staff and other patients. Respect the policies and practices of the facility, such as smoke free zones and zero tolerance to violence.
  • Communication - Be open and honest with us. Please ask questions if you need more information. If you require an interpreter ask the staff to organise one for you. Interpreters are free and can be booked anytime by calling 131 450.
  • Participation - You can be involved in the decisions made about your care by talking to your healthcare worker and asking questions.
  • Privacy - Respect the privacy and confidentiality of others.
  • Comment - Let us know when we are doing things well and when we are not. To find out how to give us feedback please ask our staff for a ‘Compliments and Complaints’ brochure.

View or download the Rights and Responsibilities brochures

Plain Language versions

Easy Language versions - This information is for people with an Intellectual Disability.

Private and Public Health Care

You have the right to use public services as a public or private patient. If you choose to be treated as a private patient you are responsible for the cost. Some items such as TV hire, particular prescription drugs and appliances, are not covered by Medicare or Private insurance.

Contact the admissions office at your hospital to find out. In an emergency you, or the people supporting you, will be told about these costs by the hospital’s admissions office.

Accessing your Medical Records

The right to medical record information
You have the right to speak to a healthcare worker about the information contained in your medical record. You can also request a copy of your medical record. Requests to view or obtain a copy of a medical record are made to the Manager of the health service you attended.

Other people, such as a family member or legal guardian can view your medical record if authorised. For further information go to:

Breach of privacy
Sometimes your doctor may decide that the information contained in your health records may adversely affect your physical or mental wellbeing. At other times the contents of the record might breach another person’s privacy. In these cases you might be denied access to your records.

You, and others who are authorised, have the right to take the matter further. Under Health Privacy Legislation (section 12.3) you can ask for an independent doctor to review the contents of the medical record and make a recommendation.

If access is still denied you can request more senior managers in the health service conduct an internal review. For further information speak to the Privacy Contact Officer in your health service or go to

The NSW Privacy Commissioner can also investigate complaints about privacy. For more information go to If you are not satisfied with the outcome of an internal review you have the right to apply to the Administrative Decisions Tribunal. For more information go to

Special circumstances where medical information may be disclosed
Aspects of medical information can be released in special circumstances. These include:

  • notifying infectious diseases
  • notifying suspected child abuse
  • where there is a serious threat to a person's
  • health or welfare
  • finding a missing person
  • where there is a court order or when offences have been committed and the information is necessary for law enforcement.

Aspects of personal health information may also be disclosed for research projects. In this case the use of patient information must comply with strict protocols and be approved by a Human Research and Ethics Committee. A privacy leaflet containing more information is available in English and other languages at:


Right to Information