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Chapter 3 Section D: Rights in private hospitals

Most of your rights and obligations in private hospitals are the same as those that apply in public hospitals.

In this section you can find out more about:

  • private health insurance ;
  • involuntary patients in private hospitals; and
  • difficulties that may arise from behaviour that is seen as inappropriate in a private hospital.

3D.1: Private health insurance

Most patients in private hospitals are getting care and treatment that is paid for by private health insurers. In this situation, your right to particular health care, without having to pay extra costs, depends on the terms of your private health insurance policy.

If you have concerns, questions or complaints about private health insurance, you can contact the Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Ombudsman between 9.00 am and 5.00 pm, Monday to Fridays:

Complaints Hotline: 1300 737 299* (free call anywhere in Australia)
Address: Suite 2, Level 16, 580 George St
SYDNEY NSW 2000

Click here to visit the Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Ombudsman website.

For Non-English-Speaking people

Consumers who do not speak English should contact the Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Ombudsman through the Translating and Interpreting Service on 13 14 50. The services of the translating and interpreting service are not charged to you.

Commonwealth Private Health Insurance Ombudsman also manages the website PrivateHealth.gov.au where you can find out about private health insurance and search for and compare selected features for all private health insurance products offered in Australia.

*Remember, mobile phone calls to freecall numbers (numbers starting with 1800) are charged to the caller at the usual mobile rate.

3D.2: Involuntary patients in private hospitals

Private hospitals can treat involuntary patients under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW). To do so, the NSW Government must have approved the private hospital for this purpose. Currently there is only one private hospital in NSW with approval to treat involuntary patients under the Mental Health Act 2007 (NSW). That facility is the Northern Beaches Hospital, which is both a private and public facility in French Forest NSW.

The same procedure applies for you to be made an involuntary patient in a private hospital as in a public hospital.

3D.3: Behaviour in a private hospital

If a private hospital does not like the way you are behaving, it is allowed to ask you to leave. Private hospitals are less likely to be tolerant of what they consider to be disruptive behaviour than public hospitals. Arranging admission to another private facility in these circumstances is likely to be difficult, however unfairly you think the first hospital has treated you. The only alternative could be to be admitted to a public psychiatric hospital or unit.

Updated October 29, 2019