Healthcare in Melbourne



Any expat would admit that a good health care system is more attractive than a great adventure in the Australian outback. And one will not be disappointed with the Melbourne’s excellent health care.

The healthcare system in Melbourne is a mix of public and private, with all Australians being covered by public health care service Medicare, which was established in 1984. About 75% of the costs of private health care are covered by Medicare, although there are several medical services that Medicare does not cover. To save money, expats are advised to obtain private or international health insurance services which can cover them for services that Medicare cannot provide. Generally, expats who are planning to relocate to Melbourne will find the healthcare system to be quite dependable, as medical practitioners and hospitals in the city of Melbourne and the rest of Australia are up-to-date and feature world-class standards. It is worth noting down that private hospitals do have better waiting line times and more staff members than public hospitals. 

Public healthcare

As a country, expatriates will be glad to know that Australia ranks 32nd in world health systems ranking according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Melbourne possesses several well-established public and private hospitals and some of the best medical schools in all of Australia, which make the health and medicinal sector a reliable one. When it comes to insurance, it is not compulsory for expatriates to purchase private medical insurance as Australians, permanent visa holders and permanent visa applicants are eligible to obtain access to Medicare. Medicare is a government-funded healthcare system that Australia offers, which provides citizens with fees for medical tests, check-ups and consultations. To apply for Medicare, expats will need to download application forms via the Department of Human Services Australia website and submit them to the nearest Medicare office along with copies of a valid passport and birth certificate. Once the application has been processed, a Medicare card will be provided which expats may use to receive Medicare services.

Medicare coverage

It is important for expats to know that there are several things that Medicare does not cover, such as home nursing, cosmetic procedures, some surgeries and dental work. The costs of these healthcare services can be expensive as they are not covered by Medicare. Even phoning an ambulance can lead to exorbitant fees as ambulance services in Melbourne and the rest of Australia are not for free. Thus, it is recommended for expatriates to enrol in Medicare while taking out private or international health insurance services to cover the costs of additional medical facilities. Additionally, expatriates who hail from countries that have reciprocal health agreements with Australia (such as New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom) may receive free treatment at public hospitals and subsidised medicines. 


Expats who require medication will need to obtain an official prescription from a doctor, which is known locally as a “script.” Unlike other countries, there is no specific symbol in Melbourne which can help people identify a pharmacy. The worlds “pharmacy” or “chemist” are displayed in stores with their wares instead. Pharmacies are found on nearly every city block in Melbourne, with at least two branches being available in the suburbs. 

Emergency Numbers

If you want to avail of emergency services in Melbourne, here are some helpful numbers that you can call: 

National state and territory emergency services number - 132 500

Police and Ambulance –000

Non-Emergency Police - 131 444

Poisons Information Centre – 131 126 

Life Line - 131 114


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Healthcare in Australia