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Healthcare and Medical Services in Perth

Living in Perth is a rewarding experience for expats and locals. The capital of Western Australia is the most relaxed metropolis “down under”, providing both cultural activities and scenic beauty. Our expat guide to Perth introduces leisure, education, healthcare, and transport in the city.
Make sure to have adequate health insurance for your time in Perth to cover even pricier treatments.
Obviously, it would be ideal to stay in good shape and health during your expatriate life in Perth. However, in case you should fall ill after all — be it a knee injury from running, a particularly tenacious flu, or a serious accident — having a suitable health insurance plan is extremely important. Getting a sufficient health insurance plan should be one of your top priorities.

Medicare: Australia’s Public Healthcare Provider

People who have a permanent visa for Australia have automatic access to Medicare, Australia’s government-run healthcare system. Medicare patients are lucky; their public healthcare policy covers all medically necessary treatments at public clinics, consultation fees for most doctors, as well as all tests and examinations required to diagnose and treat illnesses. Medicare also includes a limited number of mental health services per year and a subsidy on most prescription medication. Although Medicare does cover most of your appointment fees, a co-payment of 7 AUD is required at GP visits.  

If you do have a permanent visa for Western Australia and are thus eligible for Medicare, be aware of what it doesn’t cover. For example, it excludes most dental costs, full reimbursement for stays in private hospitals, glasses, hearing aids, home nursing, acupuncture, most physiotherapy, elective surgery, and even ambulance services. For this reason most people who can afford it take out additional private health insurance for such eventualities.

Medicare: Eligibility and Alternatives

Unfortunately, only a small minority of temporary/provisional visa holders are eligible for Medicare. This applies to visitors from those countries which have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia: Belgium, Finland, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Slovenia, Sweden, and the UK.

Nevertheless, even as a citizen of one of these nations, you need to arrange for private health insurance back home and officially apply for an exemption once you have arrived in Perth. Everyone else should just look into private healthcare plans for Australia right away. Remember to do so well in advance of your move to Perth: Proof of health insurance is required for a successful (provisional) visa application.

Medical Service Providers in the Perth Metro Area

While living in Perth, you may find yourself in need of specific medical services. To avoid any unnecessary stress when you are feeling ill, let alone in an emergency situation, here are some phone numbers and websites to remember:

  • In case of a serious accident or medical emergency, just phone 000.
  • For minor injuries or ailments, you can call 1800 022 222, a toll-free 24/7 hotline for medical advice by qualified nurses. For example, if it is 10 o’ clock at night and you have a really bad cold, you could ask them for household remedies that will actually work. If they think you might require emergency help (i.e. that chest pain could be the first sign of a heart attack), they will immediately put you through to 000.
  • If you are suffering from mental health issues and do not know whom to talk to, +61 8 9224 8888 is the mental health support hotline for metropolitan Perth.
  • To find a clinic, please check this list of metropolitan hospital services in Perth. But pay attention: If there’s the word “private” in the hospital name, Medicare will not cover the full cost of treatment at this clinic.
  • If you need a dentist in the metropolitan area of Perth, then search on Western Australia’s Department of Health website.  
  • The ambulance services in Western Australia are provided by St John, a charity based in Perth. St John offers an ambulance cover insurance program for rural area residents. For a monthly fee, you can sign up for this plan. If you should ever need emergency transportation service in a St John ambulance, it will be free of charge. However, this does not apply to anyone living in metropolitan Perth. So, do make sure you have a private insurance policy which includes ambulance services. It’s better to be safe than sorry!



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



Harald Waibl

"After I moved to Australia, InterNations helped me connect with some compatriots in Perth and thus start enjoying the expat way of life. "

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