Helping communities understand the Australian Healthcare System

healthcareIt is known that many refugees in Australia will often suffer poorer health than the people of their new country. This is often due a range of factors, which may include traumatic experiences encountered in their home countries as well as poor health access, the journey to the new country, and problems understanding and utilising their new countries' health care system.

It has been shown that refugees settling in Australia may experience barriers accessing the health care system and find it confusing and intimidating. These issues are of high priority to The Water Well Project and, because of this, one of the most popular education sessions that we offer is ‘Navigating the Australian Health Care System'.

During this session, we discuss topics such as:

  • Medicare and the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme)
  • how to prepare for your appointment with your GP and/or specialists
  • the role of allied health professionals
  • accessing ambulance services
  • entitlements including preventative healthcare screening, free access to interpreters etc

At the end of the session, there is a scenario based discussion aimed to help participants understand when to present to an Emergency Department, instead of their GP clinic.

The aim of these sessions is to develop a better understanding of the Australian Healthcare System to facilitate more effective utilisation, and better healthcare outcomes for individuals and their communities.

Andrea Neale, Jamileh Abu-Duhou, Jim Black, Beverley-Ann Biggs (2007), Health services: knowledge, use and satisfaction of Afghan, Iranian and Iraqi settlers in Australia, Diversity in Health and Social Care, 4:267-76