Visiting the doctor or hospital
  • Last updated:
  • 31 Aug 2021

Locate your nearest hospital soon after you arrive, so if there is an emergency later, you already know where to go and what to do. 

Finding a doctor 

A ‘family doctor’ will get to know your family and their health needs, and be your first contact for medical matters. These doctors are called General Practitioners or GPs.

Australian GPs usually work from offices or clinics. People usually visit a doctor near to where they live.

If you have a health concern and it is not an emergency, go to your family doctor. You usually need to make an appointment by telephone or online before you arrive. 

To find out what is wrong, the doctor will have a conversation with you and ask questions. Tell him or her what problems you are having with your mind or your body. It’s important to be honest and leave nothing out. Doctors are legally obliged to keep anything you tell them confidential. This means that they cannot give any information about you to the authorities, employers or even family members, unless you want them to.  

After your conversation, the doctor may need to examine you before they can tell you what’s wrong.

You can ask for a doctor who is the same gender as you, if you prefer. 

If you don’t understand what the doctor is saying do not be afraid to ask again. It is part of the doctor’s job to explain everything to you so you understand. If you have difficulty speaking or understanding English, you can ask the doctor for an interpreter service to explain to you. 

The doctor will either ask you to pay for your visit before you leave (some of the fee will be refunded by Medicare) or they may choose to bulk bill. Bulk billing is when your doctor bills Medicare directly so you do not have to pay anything. It is best to ask at the time of making your appointment if your doctor bulk bills. 

Medical emergencies

Emergency medical treatment is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at the Emergency departments of public hospitals and some private hospitals.

If you or someone else is dangerously ill, phone 000 immediately and ask for “ambulance".

When you go to hospital, bring any medicines and your Medicare, private health insurance membership, Health Care or Pension concession cards.

If the situation is not an emergency, contact your family doctor. You should always try to contact your family doctor first if you have health issues. But if they are unavailable and the situation is not an emergency you can phone Healthdirect. 

Healthdirect have qualified nurses who can give you immediate over the phone professional advice. You can advise them if you need an interpreter:

Phone: 1800 022 222


There are several public and private hospitals on the Sunshine Coast. For a full listing visit the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service website.


Emergency departments are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The largest hospital on the Sunshine Coast is:

Sunshine Coast University Hospital
Doherty Street, Birtinya
Phone: 5202 0000


The Poisons Information Centre is available 24 hours a day

Phone: 1311 26

Chemist or pharmacy

You can only buy prescription medications from chemists/pharmacies. Some pharmacies are open 7 days a week.