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How to find the right health professional

5-minute read

Key facts

  • There are many health professionals in Australia’s healthcare system.
  • It’s important to ask questions before choosing a health professional, to ensure sure you’re comfortable and treated properly.
  • Before making an appointment, consider where they are located, what they treat, and what payment they accept.

How do I choose the most appropriate health service?

Watch these videos to learn which services are best for your health needs.

How do I find a health professional?

There are many health professionals to choose from. It’s worth thinking about which is best for you. Knowing which questions to ask, and how to search for the right professional, can help you make the right decision.

Many people find health professionals by asking people they trust. You can ask your:

  • family members
  • friends
  • colleagues
  • other health professionals (like a general practitioner)

To search for a health professional, you can visit the websites of medical colleges and associations, such as:

You can also use the healthdirect service finder to search for health professionals near you.

Ensure that any health professional you see is qualified. To check this, you can visit the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Here, you can also find out if a health professional has been disciplined, and why.

What should I think about before making an appointment?

There are several things to think about when you’re looking for a health professional:

  • the service location
  • the services they offer
  • their opening hours
  • the doctor’s sex — many females prefer to see a female doctor
  • the language they speak
  • how you can pay for your appointment

Where is the service located?

Some practices might be easier to travel to than others. You might find it easier to visit a health professional closer to your home or work.

What services to they offer?

It is important that you see a professional that is experienced in an area you need.

Some services might suit you better, so it helps to do as much research as you can.

For example, if you need psychological treatment, the appointment can be done in different ways, such as:

  • working one-on-one with a health professional
  • in a group setting

Choose a health professional that offers something you’re most comfortable with.

You might need a referral from your general practitioner (GP) to see a specialist.

When do they open?

To help you choose a health professional who will suit your needs, you can ask about:

The doctor’s sex

Some people may feel more comfortable seeing a doctor who is a female. Others may feel more comfortable with a health professional who is a male. For some people, it doesn't matter.

What language do they speak?

If you speak a language other than English, you might be more comfortable seeing a professional who speaks your language. Some healthcare professionals might also understand your cultural needs better than other.

How can I pay for my appointment?

Ask how much your treatment will cost, and how you will be billed for your treatment. Some health professionals bulk bill through Medicare. This means you won't have to pay them for your treatment.

If you have private health insurance, your insurance might cover some of the costs of your care. It’s best to speak to your health insurer.

What questions should I ask after my appointment?

After your first visit, you might like to ask yourself the following questions:

  • Did I feel comfortable with them?
  • Did I feel comfortable asking questions?
  • Did they listen to me?

What if I need to see a new health professional?

Sometimes you might need to see a new healthcare professional, such as if you:

  • change where you live
  • no longer want to see your previous healthcare professional
  • need to see someone for a different health problem

In Australia, your My Health Record allows you to share your health information with your:

  • doctors
  • hospitals
  • other healthcare providers

This helps them to get to know your medical history, and treat you effectively.

Here are some more questions you may want to ask your doctor. They include questions about health problems, treatments, medicines and tests.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR — Preparing for an appointment? Use the Question Builder for general tips on what to ask your GP or specialist.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2023

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