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For health consumers & carers

Being involved in your care

Every consumer has a right to partner with their doctor or health professional in their health care.

Family and carers also have the right to be involved in care if that is what the consumer wishes.

There are some simple things you can do to be more proactive in your health care and make sure the care you receive is based on what matters most to you.

To get more involved and informed in your health care, ask questions and seek further information. The more you know and understand the more active you can be in your health care choices.

You may choose to bring a friend, family member or carer to support you when you visit the doctor and you have the right to request additional support such as an interpreter if you do not speak English.

Partnering in your health care will give you safer and better health outcomes.

Before you go to the doctor, think about what you might need to find out. There are some questions that can get you started:

  • Why do I need this treatment?
  • Are there any alternatives?
  • What is the test for?
  • When will I get the results?
  • Which hospital is best for my needs?
  • How do you spell the name of that drug?
  • Are there any side effects?
  • Will this medicine interact with the medicines that I’m already taking?
  • What will happen if I stop taking the medication?

Health Direct has a useful guide of questions to ask your doctor.

Question Builder

Another way to think about what to ask your doctor is the online Question Builder.

Question Builder is a free web-based tool to help you prepare for a visit to the doctor. The tool enables you to build a list of questions that you would like to ask your doctor, and consider questions your doctor might ask you. Question Builder guides you through a series of steps, from selecting which type of appointment you are preparing for, to developing the questions that you would like to ask and helping you to prioritise the most important questions to ask first. These questions can then be printed or emailed to a phone/device for use during the appointment.

Question Builder is designed to be used with general practitioners and specialists in Australia.  It encourages you to ask questions that matter most to you, participate in the appointment and share decisions with your doctor about your own health care.

Whether you are seeing a doctor for a new condition, having a check-up, talking about a recurring health condition, or discussing medication, a test or surgery, Question Builder can help you to get the most out of your appointment with your doctor.

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has developed Question Builder in partnership with Healthdirect Australia.

Looking at health information on the internet can be helpful, but not all information is accurate and reliable. Talk through information you have read with your doctor and ask them where you can find additional information about your condition.

Use the Question Builder >