Health Care Services – Consumer Overview

Health Care Services and Rights

Consumer Engagement

Consumers should be supported to be active partners in the design, delivery and evaluation of health care. To do this, consumers should be:
  • Supported to understand and exercise their healthcare rights
  • Provided with evidence-based information about treatment options for their medical conditions
  • Encouraged to share decision making about their health care to the extent that they choose
  • Involved in making decisions about how health services are designed and operate, how care is delivered, and in measuring and evaluating care and services.
Health care can be improved when consumers share – with their healthcare providers – what is important to them and any issues that may impact on their care and treatment plans.

Why do we talk about Consumers?

When we talk about healthcare consumers we mean a person who has used, or may potentially use, health services, or is a carer for a patient using health services. The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) has developed a series of factsheets for consumers and carers. Reference: Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare

Clinical Handover (occurs in various formats)

When in hospital, you will often notice nurses and other staff discussing the patient’s care. This is known as clinical handover.

What is clinical handover?

Clinical handover allows the nurses to discuss the patient’s care to ensure it continues as planned. These discussions can include doctors and other health professionals.

What happens during clinical handover?

During clinical handover, the patient will be introduced to the nurse coming on duty for the next shift. Information which may be shared includes:
  • the patient’s medical history
  • the patient’s current clinical condition
  • tests and procedures that the patient has had or that are scheduled
  • the patient’s need for assistance with everyday tasks such as showering and toileting
  • plans for the patient’s discharge, even if it is a few days away.

Why is the patient’s involvement important?

The patient has a right to be involved in the patient’s clinical handover. Research shows that patients who are involved in their own care are more likely to have better health outcomes.

If the patient prefers, they can ask a friend or family member to advocate on their behalf to ensure the patient has the necessary information to make informed decisions and choices about their care.

For any questions or concerns, please speak with the patient’s nurse.


Consumer Rights

Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights 2nd Edition

The second edition of the Charter reflects an increased focus on person-centred care and empowers consumers to take an active role in their healthcare. The charter describes the rights of health consumers.   Easy English Version

Guiding Principles

  • Everyone has the right to be able to access healthcare and this right is essential for the Charter to be meaningful.
  • The Australian Government commits to international agreements about human rights which recognise everyone’s right to have the highest possible standard of physical and mental health.
  • Australia is a society made up of people with different cultures and ways of life, and the Charter acknowledges and respects these differences.

Healthcare Rights

  • Access – I have a right to healthcare I can access services to address my healthcare needs.
  • Safety – I have a right to receive safe and high-quality care I receive safe and high-quality health services, provided with professional care, skill and competence.
  • Respect – I have a right to be shown respect, dignity and consideration The care provided shows respect to me and my culture, beliefs, values and personal characteristics.
  • Communication – I have the right to be informed about services, treatment, options and costs in a clear and open way I receive open, timely and appropriate communication about my healthcare in a way I can understand.
  • Participation  – I have a right to be included in decisions and choices about my care I may join in making decisions and choices about my care and about health service planning.
  • Privacy – I have a right to privacy and confidentiality of my personal information My personal privacy is maintained and proper handling of my personal health and other information is assured.
  • Comment – I have a right to comment on my care and to have my concerns addressed I can comment on or complain about my care and have my concerns dealt with properly and promptly.
Reference: Office of Health Ombudsman (OHO) Consumer Rights

Raising Concerns about Health Care Services

Right to Complain – If a consumer is not satisfied with a service provided by a health service provider, or they are concerned with the health, conduct or performance of a registered or unregistered health practitioner, then it is their right to make a complaint. (OHO) Consumer Rights

Ryan’s Rule – Ryan’s Rule assists a consumer to get help when they are concerned about themselves or a patient in hospital who is getting worse or not improving. Ryan’s Rule applies to all patients admitted to any Queensland Health public hospital and in some Hospital in the Home (HITH) services.

Background – Ryan Saunders was nearly three years old when he tragically died in hospital. His death was found to be in all likelihood preventable. Staff did not know Ryan as well as his mum and dad knew him. When Ryan’s parents were worried he was getting worse they didn’t feel their concerns were acted on in time. Ryan’s Rule has been developed to provide patients of any age, families and carers with another way to get help.

If you are concerned about someone in hospital – If you have any concerns you wish to raise, simply follow these steps:

Step 1
Talk to a nurse or doctor about your concerns.
If you are not satisfied with the response:

Step 2
Talk to the nurse in charge of the shift.
If you are not satisfied with the response:

Step 3
Phone 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or ask a nurse and they will call on your behalf. Request a Ryan’s Rule Clinical Review and provide the following information:
  • hospital name
  • patient’s name
  • ward, bed number (if known)
  • contact phone number.
A Ryan’s Rule nurse or doctor will review the patient and assist.

Complaints – If you’re concerned about your health treatment, you can make a complaint to the relevant Hospital and Health Service. If you are still unsatisfied with the response, you can complain about a health service provider to the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO). Office of the Health Ombudsman (Queensland Health’s service complaints agency) may be able to help. Call 133 646 or email:

Queensland Human Rights Commission

The Queensland Human Rights Commission (QHRC) has the power to receive and conciliate human rights complaints. If you are not happy with the response from the agency you complained to, you may complain to the QHRC. On 1 July 2019 the Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland was renamed the Queensland Human Rights Commission.

Health Consumers Queensland

Health Consumer Queensland has more information, go to Health Consumer Queensland
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