Q&A with UNSW Health Service: how to see a doctor in Sydney?

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Studying abroad is fun and exciting, and UNSW will help you settle into your new life in Sydney. When the time comes when you want to see a doctor, you can take full advantage of the UNSW Health Service on campus.

UNSW Health Service safeguards the health and wellbeing of the UNSW community. Its on-campus clinic provides a wide range of healthcare service and is available to all UNSW students at no or small cost with your international student health insurance.

We interviewed Belinda Meggitt of UNSW Health Service, so you are equipped with essential knowledge for living in Australia.

In Australia, your first contact for anything health-related is your local health service or general practitioner. General practitioners, or GPs in short, are highly trained doctors who can refer you to specialist services when required. Hospitals in Australia are used for accidents and emergencies, or when visiting a specialist or having surgery.

A GP service like UNSW Health Service should be the first place you contact with any health concern apart from an emergency, where you would either call 000 or go straight to your nearest emergency unit at your local hospital.

Appointments at UNSW Health Service are covered by your Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC), but there may be some additional costs if you attend other general practices. It is a good idea to have a general check-up when you arrive in Australia and to establish a relationship with a local doctor.

What is Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC)? 

OSHC is a kind of health insurance that is for international students who study in Australia. It is a mandatory requirement of your student visa. There are plenty of insurers that provide OSHC that you can choose from.

Medibank is the preferred OSHC provider for UNSW, and you don’t need to pay out-of-pocket with Medibank OSHC if you visit UNSW Health Service for GP service.

UNSW Health Service is a large general practice with many doctors, nurses and even a small team of psychiatrists. They offer general health care, but with a focus on youth.

Doctors and nurses treat all non-emergency concerns, offering general health check-ups, vaccinations, wound care, mental health care, and support when you are not feeling well.

UNSW Health Service website has a dedicated page for international students that contains helpful information and contacts in the event that you need to seek medical service. You can also watch the video below to learn more about UNSW Health Service.

Booking at UNSW Health Service is simple, you can either call up or book online. If you are insured with Medibank OSHC, there is no out-of-pocket cost to see a doctor. Plus, you will be offered discounted rates for many vaccinations including HPV and Hepatitis B and free Rapid Antigen Tests. UNSW also offers Pfizer and Novovax vaccinations and encourages all students to be triple vaccinated.

COVID-19 testing is also available on-campus through a specialised clinic located outside of the UNSW Health Service at the Quadrangle. Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, UNSW Health Service has remained opened, providing a safe and confidential service for all of the community.

Sydney has a very high vaccination rate – more than 94% of all NSW residents over 16 currently being double vaccinated and over 57% being triple vaccinated, combined with one of the strongest healthcare systems globally and a country generally amenable to public health measures making Australia a very safe country to reside.

Although NSW is still dealing with the last Omicron wave it appears that the peak of this wave has passed, with a corresponding drop in hospitalisation rates. Immunity is high within the community and citizens abide by the recommended public health measure.

Absolutely! UNSW prioritises the health and wellbeing of its students and staff and works closely with NSW Health to ensure the safety of the UNSW community. Triple vaccination for all students and staff is encouraged and is provided free of charge by the Australian government.

Public health measures at the university include wearing masks and social distancing in accordance with NSW Health. To ensure learning is optimised, in-person teaching is resuming from Term 1 2022. However, all face-to-face classes, tutorials, labs and lectures are timetabled based on the 1-person-per-2-square-metre rule and this approach will remain in place for as long as required.

Due to the diversity of Australia, most doctors and health practitioners are familiar with working with people where English is not their first language. NSW Health and Medibank OSHC both provide translation support for medical appointments free of charge.

At UNSW Health Service and UNSW Psychology and Wellness there are also bilingual doctors and health practitioners available should that be required. You can also ask your doctor for a translator if you prefer.

Your journey to study in Sydney starts here. 


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