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Healthcare in Brisbane

As an expat who’ll soon be living in Brisbane, you are bound to have a lot of questions about the capital of the “Sunshine State”. Never fear: The InterNations guide on staying in Brisbane covers all key topics of expat life in Brisbane, from leisure and education to transportation and health.
Before you consult a doctor in Brisbane, make sure that you have adequate insurance coverage!
Health insurance and medical care are two extremely important topics for expats all over the world. You’ll be glad to hear that Australia in general has a good healthcare system, especially in urban areas, and Brisbane is certainly no exception.

However, before you can start looking for a new family doctor or consult a dentist, you need to take care of your health insurance plan to cover for related costs.

Medicare and Private Health Insurance

Australia has a government-sponsored healthcare system called Medicare. If you have a permanent visa, for example as a skilled migrant who has decided to settle in Brisbane, you and your dependent family members have automatic access to this scheme. Otherwise only visitors from selected countries are entitled to benefit from Medicare in medical emergencies. These countries include Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK.

However, even visa holders from these states need to enter into a private insurance plan first and then claim an official exemption once they arrive in Australia. Only then do they have access to Medicare coverage.

It’s also important to know that the Medicare plan does not pay for all health-related costs. For instance, dental care or glasses are excluded from this policy. Therefore, many Australians and overseas residents take out additional health insurance from private companies. And if you aren’t eligible for Medicare at all, you usually have to provide medical insurance as part of your visa application — so remember to check out well in advance.

Healthcare Services in Brisbane

Once you have moved to Queensland, you can easily find all sorts of medical services (e.g. a dentist, an ENT doctor, or an ob/gyn) online via a specialized directory. However, your GP (general practitioner) should always be your first point of referral. He or she can send you to a specialist appointment at an outpatient clinic, if necessary.

If you should ever need hospital care during your time in Brisbane, it is good to be informed about the various medical facilities beforehand. Queensland is divided into several healthcare districts: Residents of Greater Brisbane usually belong to Metro North, Metro South, or parts of West Moreton.

Just click on your district in this map provided by the Queensland Department of Health, and then scroll down a little to go to the page called “More information on healthcare facilities” in the respective area. The district profile will provide you with a list of all hospitals and community health centers in your general vicinity.

Local Emergency Resources

In case of a medical emergency or health-related question, here are several numbers of interest for Brisbane residents:

  • 000 (serious and urgent cases)
  • 13 43 25 84 / 13 HEALTH (advice on minor ailments and information on available medical services)
  • 13 12 33 (ambulance for non-emergencies)
  • 13 11 14 (lifeline for mental health issues)
  • 13 11 26 (poison hotline)
  • 1 800 010 120 (helpline for survivors of sexual assault)

In the entire state of Queensland, ambulance services are provided for free. A so-called annual “ambulance levy” was scrapped by the regional government in 2011. However, this is not the case in all other Australian states and territories. So, if you travel outside Queensland a lot, ask your insurance provider if they reimburse ambulance fees as well.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Benoit Julien

"Before moving to Brisbane I contacted 5 members of their InterNations community. Today 3 of them are my friends."

Gabriela Jaquez

"As a traveling spouse it was not always easy to meet interesting people abroad. On InterNations I have many of them here in Brisbane in no time."

Global Expat Guide