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1.8 Advocacy and your rights

Your rights

Your rights as a user of the Australian Healthcare system are contained in the Australian Charter of HealthCare Rights. Your rights as a carer are to be treated fairly and with respect, and not be discriminated against based on age, ethnicity, abilities, sexuality, gender/sexual preference.

Note: We value your feedback on our service – complete the Having Your Say Form available from PCSE

Your role as advocate

As carer, one of your important roles on the health care team might be as advocate – to speak on behalf of the person you care for. This might be to:

  • ensure their rights and wishes are respected
  • ensure they are treated with respect
  • ensure their needs are being met
  • ensure services are provided in a professional manner
  • challenge any barriers or discrimination.

You can be an advocate during an appointment with a health professional or by telephone or email outside of a care meeting.

Public advocate

The Office of the Public Advocate can be contacted to act on your behalf on issues around care.
Telephone: 1300 309 337 or visit

Second opinions

You have the right to a second opinion. In summary:

  • You have the right to ask a doctor for a second opinion if you are unsure about the doctor’s suggested medical treatment or a diagnosis
  • Ask the doctor to give you a referral to another doctor or medical specialist
  • Ask the doctor to send the other medical practitioner any test results or medical history

Making a complaint

See our brochure on Working Together in Partnership for details on how to make a complaint about a health service to the Office of the Health Complaints Commissioner – or telephone 1300 582 113.

If the complaint relates to aged care services, refer to Seniors Rights Victoria. Telephone: 1300 368 821 or visit