The RMH aims to provide the best possible health services and care.

Your participation in your care is important. We can work together when we recognise the knowledge and experience each of us brings to any discussion, listen to each other and respect each other's views. An important feature of this partnership is the acknowledgement of the feelings you may be experiencing as a result of your illness and / or being in care. This statement helps you understand how you can expect to be treated and how we can work together.

An effective partnership in healthcare is made possible when we:

  • speak to each other with respect and honesty
  • listen to each other’s opinions
  • treat each other without prejudice, and with consideration for cultural diversity
  • respect each other’s private time and space.

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in Victoria material is available on all hospital wards. This material explains your rights in relation to making decisions about your treatment and care, as well as your responsibilities to ensure staff can best meet your needs.

Find out more about the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in Victoria. You can also access the material in 25 community languages on this website.

The partnership between you and the staff who provide your care is an important one. Respect and consideration of others is at the heart of this partnership. These rights and responsibilities are displayed in ward areas. The Partnerships in Care brochure is available on all hospital wards and departments. It explains your rights in relation to making decisions about your treatment and care, as well as your responsibilities to ensure staff can best meet your needs.

Keeping in touch with family and friends

You have a right to:

  • have visitors during visiting hours
  • be able to see visitors in reasonable privacy, as far as we can provide this
  • have reasonable access to a telephone
  • be visited by a representative of your religion at any time, if you wish
  • wear your own clothes and have some personal possessions with you as your condition and space permits

Protecting information about you

You have a right to:

  • have information about you kept confidential, except where the health service is required by law to provide it
  • allow or refuse to allow the health service to pass on information about you to other people and to other health services
  • make an application under Freedom of Information (FOI) to read or copy your medical record

How you can play your part

You have a responsibility to:

  • actively participate as much as you can in your treatment, for example, by following your agreed treatment plan, asking questions about your care and raising any concerns you might have
  • provide as much information as you can about your medical condition to assist the staff caring for you
  • let staff know if you do not understand anything, need more information or feel unable, at any time and for whatever reason, to assist staff in your own care
  • treat staff and other patients with consideration and respect, and ask your visitors to do the same
  • understand that the health service is trying to meet the special needs of many patients at any one time; we aim to meet your needs as quickly and as well as we can, but we must attend to people with the highest needs first
  • ensure that in exercising your rights, you do not restrict the rights of others
  • ensure that your actions do not threaten or harm other patients, staff or visitors

Making decisions on your behalf

You might like to think about appointing someone as your Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment) so they can make decisions on your behalf if, in the future, you become unable to do so. Your next of kin cannot automatically make decisions on your behalf without this authority, which is not the same as a Power of Attorney appointed for other purposes.

Forms are available from most newsagents. For more information contact the Office of the Public Advocate.

The Social Work Department can also provide information about appointing an Enduring Power of Attorney (Medical Treatment).

An effective partnership in health care is made possible when we:

  • speak to each other with respect and honesty
  • listen to each other's opinions
  • treat each other without prejudice, and with consideration for cultural diversity
  • respect each other's private time and space

As part of this partnership it is important that you let us know what you think about the services we provide. We welcome your feedback, suggestions or complaints as they give us the opportunity to improve the care we provide to you and to our community. Your rights and responsibilities may vary if decisions concerning your care are subject to the Guardianship Act (1986) or the Mental Health Act (1986). To find out how this may impact on you, please speak to your care provider.

Your access to services

You have a right to:

  • receive the best care possible to meet your needs regardless of your ability to pay or your insurance status
  • be able to choose to be admitted as a public or private patient
  • receive treatment regardless of your social status, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, cultural or political beliefs
  • be assessed within a reasonable time and be informed about how long you will have to wait for treatment

The care you receive

You have a right to:

  • be treated as an individual
  • be treated with dignity, respect and consideration for your privacy, safety and comfort
  • be treated in a way that respects your culture and beliefs, provided this does not limit the rights of others
  • have your care explained to you in plain terms in a language you understand
  • receive interpreter services by phone or in person for essential information such as discussions regarding treatment
  • be told by the doctors, nurses and other health professionals who care for you, who they are and their role in your care
  • be told, if you wish, the professional qualifications of the people who treat you

Suggestions, concerns or complaints about your care

You have a right to:

  • raise any suggestions or complaints with the person caring for you or the department manager ask to see a patient advocate who can help
  • be confident that the health service and staff will take your feedback seriously receive prompt feedback about the outcome of your suggestion or complaint
  • have another person make a suggestion or complaint on your behalf

Your decisions about your treatment will be respected

You have a right to:

  • be informed about your treatment
  • have time to ask questions and have a friend or relative present when you have to make decisions about your treatment
  • be told about the treatment options available to you and the benefits, risks and side effects connected with each option, including refusing or stopping treatment
  • ask for a second opinion, and for the health service to help arrange this for you
  • refuse to have a test or treatment at any time provided you are capable of making an informed decision
  • discharge yourself from the service against medical advice
  • have your opinion about your condition and the decisions you make about your treatment respected
  • request a meeting with your treating team to discuss your condition and treatment and be provided with accurate information
  • refuse to participate in a research project
  • be consulted about when you leave hospital and your specific needs
  • be provided with accurate information about arrangements for your ongoing care and treatment

Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights was developed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care during 2007 and 2008. The charter was developed with extensive and widespread consultation and specifies the key rights of patients and consumers when seeking or receiving healthcare services. In July 2008, Australian Health Ministers endorsed the charter as the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights for use across the country.

The charter applies to all health settings anywhere in Australia, including public hospitals, private hospitals, general practice and other community environments. It allows patients, consumers, families, carers and service providers to have a common understanding of the rights of people receiving health care.

Find out more about the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.