Rights & responsibilities

The Women's cares for the wellbeing of our staff and patients.

Please be respectful towards our staff. Abusive behaviour, violence or threats of violence over the phone or in person are unacceptable.

If our staff feel they are being treated in an aggressive manner they have the authority to end the telephone call or to report to security services and, if necessary, the police.

On this page:

What are my rights as a patient?

As a patient of the Royal Women's Hospital you have the right to:

  • be treated with respect and dignity
  • treatment and care in a safe environment
  • privacy and confidentiality for your personal and health information, except where the law permits this to be disclosed
  • choose to receive care as a public or private patient
  • discuss any questions or concerns you may have about your care
  • participate in making decisions about your treatment, care and discharge from hospital
  • be accompanied by a support person at most times
  • information about which staff are responsible for your care
  • information about your health care and, if you wish, a second opinion
  • seek an accredited interpreter
  • refuse treatment and services offered to you
  • access your health records according to the law
  • receive a culturally sensitive service
  • make a complaint

What are my responsibilities as a patient?

You are also responsible for your behaviour and care.

You should try to:

  • tell everybody involved in your care what your expectations are
  • tell staff if you have a problem
  • understand your treatment and ask questions if you don't
  • give staff accurate information about your health and your present treatment
  • tell hospital staff if your condition changes
  • follow your prescribed treatment
  • be considerate of staff and other patients and ask your visitors to do the same
  • come to your appointment, or tell staff if you need to change an appointment.

For further information, view the Health Victoria Patient Charter.

Informed consent

Whenever you or your baby need to have medical treatment you are normally asked to give your consent. This may be verbal consent or you may be asked to sign a document.

Informed consent is when you understand the full nature of what you are agreeing to. This means that the treatment or procedure, and associated risks, have been explained in your language (with an interpreter) and in a way that you understand. 

You can only give informed consent if you fully understand why you or your baby are having the treatment or the procedure; what is involved; and you understand the risks of any treatment or procedure. You also understand the risks of not having the procedure and what the alternatives are.

Your doctor or medical team will recommend the best treatment for you based on their expertise and knowledge. You have the right to ask questions, to ask for a second opinion and to refuse treatment if you wish. But you also have a responsibility to learn as much as you can about your condition and the treatment being offered.

  • If you don’t understand anything your doctor, nurse or midwife tells you, ask them to explain again.
  • Ask for written information that you can use to discuss with your friends or family, and that you can refer back to when you are making decisions.
  • Repeat back to the doctor, nurse or midwife what they have said to you. This will help them know that you understand what you have been told about your treatment or your condition.
  • Telephone the Women’s Health Information Centre if you need more information.

It can be difficult to feel ‘fully informed’ about procedures or treatments for you or your baby. Some procedures are very complex and difficult to understand. Some information, however, may help you to feel more comfortable or more involved in decisions about you or your baby’s care. 

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