For free and confidential legal advice about this topic, you can contact us here.
There are no laws that stop you from seeing the doctor without your parents or guardians. However, if you plan on going alone, you should contact the doctors’ office beforehand to confirm you want the appointment to be kept private.
While you can see a doctor without your parents or guardians, a doctor can only give you medical treatment (eg prescribe you medication) if you give informed consent (except in emergencies where it is necessary to save your life or prevent serious damage to your health). Before you can give your consent to medical treatment, the doctor must make sure you understand the medical advice they have given you, the consequences of any treatment and any alternative treatments that may be available.
You can also choose to have someone else come to a doctor’s appointment with you for support. This might be a friend, or another family member.
There is no set age at which a young person who is under 18 can consent to medical treatment without the approval of their parents or guardian.
Whether you can consent to medical treatment depends on things like how old you are and how serious the treatment is. Generally:
A doctor is someone you can talk to and trust.
A doctor is usually required to keep information about your appointment and your health private. However, a doctor can share your information with your consent, or in some other situations for example where they think you or someone else is at risk of serious harm.
In some situations, a doctor has to share your information, even if you don’t agree, for example:
Usually a doctor should talk to you first, before they share your information. If you are worried about a doctor sharing your information, you can talk to them about your concerns.
Sometimes you might need emergency medical treatment. A medical practitioner is allowed to carry out medical treatment on you if you are aged under 16 without your consent or the consent of your parents or guardians, if they believe it is necessary to treat you to save your life or prevent serious damage to your health.
Most of the time simple visits to the doctor will be paid for by Medicare. However, depending on the doctor and medical treatment you have, you might need to pay a fee.
Medicare is a government service that pays some or all of the cost for Australian citizens, Australian permanent residents and other people living in Australia to receive certain medical services (like visits to the doctor, dentist or hospital). You must have a Medicare card to use Medicare. Information about Medicare cards can be found here.
Not all medical services will be paid for by Medicare. You should ask about payment options before you make your appointment with your doctor. In particular, you should ask:
|Bulk billing||When your doctor accepts your Medicare card as payment for the appointment.|
|Gap||The left over amount that you have to pay when Medicare does not cover the whole cost of the appointment.|
If the doctor does not bulk bill, you may need to make a Medicare claim to get a refund after your appointment. Most refunds are paid directly into the bank account that is connected to your Medicare card. More information about claiming can be found here.
|Medicare claim||When your doctor charges you directly for the appointment and Medicare gives you a refund later.|
We’ve also put together a handy animation that explains this process:
Your Medicare history can be accessed online through www.my.gov.au. If you are 14 years or over, you can create your own myGov account to be able to access this information.
If you are listed on your parent’s or guardian’s Medicare card:
You or your parents may also have registered for a My Health Record. If you live in the Nepean Blue Mountains a My Health Record will have been automatically created for you unless you opted out prior to 27 May 2016.
A My Health Record will contain certain health information you or your parents choose to include in it. It may include details of claims made for Medicare benefits, claims for pharmaceutical benefits, organ donator status and immunisations administered until the age of 20.
Your parents can access your My Health Record until you turn 14. After this, they can only see it with your written permission. You can find out more information about My Health Records here.
|Sexually Transmitted Diseases||
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