Healthcare in Canberra



Canberra, the capital of Australia, with its open spaces and clean air, is well worth visiting and offers a healthy environment for medical patients and residents in general. This city’s well-managed healthcare system is one factor that attracts expats from all over the world to relocate to Australia.

Most locals and expats in Canberra are under a national health plan that is focused more on the coordination of each functioning unit that streamlines basic services such as preventative health, disease management and a more effective targeting of and response to aboriginal health issues. The people of this city are also blessed with a government that puts significant emphasis on their welfare. On top of the Australian Capital Territory or ACT Government's health programs and initiatives is the ACT Health Council which is composed of Minister-appointed medical professionals from ACT communities. The key thrusts of the council are summarized in a few key points, namely, Aged Care, Mental Health, Chronic Disease Management, Early Childhood and vulnerable families, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health.

The Public and Private Healthcare System

Canberra’s public healthcare system is run by Medicare, which is the universal public healthcare scheme that covers Australian citizens and permanent residents. Medicare is funded by taxes, and it assists patients by covering medical expenses such as:

  • Seeing a General Practitioner or specialist
  • Getting laboratory tests such as blood tests and x-rays
  • Purchasing prescription medicines
  • Treatment in state-funded or public hospitals

The private sector, on the other hand, mainly caters to paying locals and expats or those that are covered by private and/or international health insurance. Being a private patient in Canberra means you have more flexibility in choosing your doctor and can have direct access to a specialist. The wait time in Canberra’s private hospitals is also lesser compared to the queue in the public medical facilities. Some of the services that are under the umbrella of the private healthcare system that is not covered by Medicare are:

  • Treatments in private clinics and hospitals
  • Ambulance trips
  • Treatments such as acupuncture and physiotherapy
  • Eyeglasses
  • Dentistry

Doctors and Hospitals

Nearly all public and private hospitals in the city are staffed significantly with world-class medical professionals from other parts of the globe. Most doctors, dentists, nurses, caregivers and surgeons either studied or practised abroad through government-initiated funding or are foreign nationals turned Australian expats. A growing number of caregivers trained under a collaboration of offshore and onshore education and skills program have been noted, further adding to the strength of healthcare services provided- particularly to elderly and young citizens and expatriates.

Canberra houses some of the most modernised and prominent hospitals in Australia. Currently, the city has three private hospitals and two large public hospitals namely:

Importance of Immunisation

Immunisations are an important issue for the parents, travellers and people who are at risk of some illness and diseases. Hence, the government requires flu vaccinations, especially for newly arrived expatriates who have to deal with immunity issues as they adjust to Canberra's winter season which often carries with it an outbreak of influenza. 

Residents are also urged to get their annual flu shots. Other diseases for which immunisations are required by the local government include chickenpox, diphtheria, whooping cough, meningococcal disease, hepatitis A, B, and AB, haemophiulus influenzae type B (HIB), measles, mumps and rubella, poliomyelitis and tetanus, along with the yellow fever vaccine should be obtained three to six weeks before departing a Canberra airport.

Emergency Service

Every type of emergency is accommodated by the Canberra emergency hotline, 000 which goes for all mobile phones, 112 for GSM phones and 106 for text messages. For public health emergencies, the numbers to call are (02) 6205 1700 for the Canberra Hospital and (02) 6244 2222. For police emergencies, it's 13 14 44.


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Healthcare in Australia