Being an Inpatient

Choosing Between Public and Private Health Care 

According to the existing Medicare Agreement, every Australian resident (except those who are receiving treatment in an insurance matter) has the right to elect to be treated as either a chargeable (private) or non-chargeable (public) patient. It is very important that you tell the admissions staff whether you choose to be admitted as a private or public patient.

Patient Liaison Officers are available to discuss the benefits of each option and help you to choose the one which suits you best.


Being Admitted as a Private Patient

If you have private health insurance, there are potential benefits for you and for the hospital. Benefits for you include your doctor of choice and a single room, subject to medical need and if a room is available.

The St George Hospital benefits greatly from patients deciding to be a private patient rather than a public patient as we are able to supplement the funding we get from the State Government by accessing private health funds as well as extra Commonwealth Medicare funding. This helps us to maintain accessible, high quality services.

If you are a potential private patient, the Patient Liaison Officer will discuss this issue with you and seek your consent to be admitted as a private patient. If you have any questions or concerns, a Patient Liaison Officer is available seven days a week and can be contacted via the switchboard on 9113 1111.

Alternatively, ask the clerk on your ward to arrange for them to come and see you. St George Hospital has electronic access to most health funds for the purpose of eligibility checks and is able to provide a printed copy.

A guide to using your private health insurance at St George Hospital


Day Surgery Procedures

If you are booked to undergo Day Surgery at St George Hospital there is important information that you need to know.  Please watch the video below for an explanation on what to expect when you arrive at the Day Surgery Unit until you are discharged following your surgery.


Inpatient Ward Area

Different wards may have different routines and systems. A member of staff will explain your ward layout and routine to you. 

When you are admitted to the hospital you will be given an identification bracelet. You are required to wear this identification bracelet at all times. Please check the details on the bracelet, such as the spelling of your name, date of birth and address. Let staff know if any of the details are incorrect.

At the start of every nursing shift, the nurses who look after you will introduce themselves to you. Staff come on duty at 7:00am, 1:30pm and 9:30pm. At these shift-changing times, a handover should occur at your bedside and you are encouraged to participate in the communication relating to your care.


Inpatient Room Allocations

At St George Hospital, each of our wards have different layouts. Rooms have either one, two or four bed configurations. We try our best to accommodate patients in rooms of a single gender within 24 hours.

Single rooms are allocated on a medical needs basis. If a single room is not required for a medically ill patient, it may be made available to private patients who will be charged for the accommodation. It is important to note that you may be asked to move if a seriously ill patient requires the room.

Each bed has a call button that registers your need for assistance from the nursing staff. Please press the button once only and a nurse will come to you as soon as possible.


Medication Monitoring

The hospital pharmacy will supply you with medications during your stay. Please bring your medications or a current medication list from your General Practitioner or Pharmacist with you. Should you arrive in the evening, overnight or on a weekend you may have to bring your own medications for use until the pharmacy is open. Please hand all medications over to the nursing staff.

Once you have been given medications by your doctor or the nurses, we ask you not to take your own medications. This will help prevent any complications. Make sure you tell the staff about everything you are already taking when you come to hospital. This includes any non-prescription drugs, vitamins or natural therapies you may be taking.


Length of Stay

Advances in medical technology as well as better outpatient services mean that your stay in hospital will probably be much shorter than what it would have been 10 years ago. Many procedures that would previously have needed your admission to a ward can now be done as a ‘day only’ procedure or during an outpatient visit. In general, this means people spend less time in hospital.

The doctors and nurses will discuss your care with you whilst you are in the ward, and they will be able to advise you of your Expected Date of Discharge. This is an estimated date where, following treatment and care, it is expected you would be well enough to return home. Some patients recover more slowly than others, so this is why the date is estimated. If there are any delays in preparing you to leave hospital, the staff will inform you so you know your Expected Date of Discharge has changed.

If you are aware of your Expected Date of Discharge it means that you can prepare your family and/or other support services that you might have for your return home after your hospital admission and it will help you arrange your transportation home on that day. On the morning of your discharge day you may be transferred to the Patient Discharge Unit while you are awaiting any final discharge arrangements. Please read our section on ''Preparing to Return Home”.


Meal Times

Our meal times are:

Breakfast:     7:00am – 8:30am

Lunch:          11:30am – 1:00pm

Dinner:         4:45pm – 6:00pm

You will get a daily menu and be able to select your preferences.

If you need a special diet, you should inform your nurse when you are admitted.

For certain conditions, Dietitians may organise a specialised diet for you.

If you need help with your meal, we encourage your family or friends to help.

Staff will make sure you are in the correct position for meals.


Peritonectomy and Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy Procedures

The Peritonectomy and Intraperitoneal Chemotherapy – A guide for patients and their carers


Tests and Scans

You have the right to be seen regularly by a doctor, who may decide you need some tests such as x-rays or blood tests. As we are a major trauma hospital with many patients and emergencies, sometimes you may have to wait for tests. If this happens, we will do our best to keep you informed.



Staff will answer enquiries about your condition wherever possible. As the morning period is a very busy time for staff we request that enquiries be made after 10am each morning. Staff are only able to discuss confidential information with yourself and your next of kin (with your permission).


Recovery and Wellness

Our knowledge about the best ways to help people get well improves all the time. For example, we now know that people both recover and heal more quickly if they resume their normal activities as soon as possible. With this in mind, staff will encourage you to resume your usual routines such as walking and showering.

You may also be asked to not eat or drink before a procedure or test. Staff will let you know the time you should stop eating or drinking. It is very important that you follow this instruction. If you do not it may affect your procedure or test and may increase your length of stay in hospital.

Permission may be obtained for family or friends to assist you at meal times or to bring familiar dishes provided the nursing staff or dietician have confirmed that the dish is permitted with your condition or treatment and you are not “nil by mouth” for a test or procedure.


Visiting Hours

It is very important that the visiting hours set by the hospital are followed.  Each ward has a maximum number of visitors that are allowed at any one time. This is due to privacy and space limitations along with ensuring patient wellbeing. If you need assistance please discuss with your nurse.


General Ward visiting hours are:

10:00am – 8:00pm


Maternity Unit visiting hours are:

10:00am – 8:00pm – variation in visiting hours are subject to individual patient needs.


Intensive Care Unit visiting hours are:

8:00am – 10:00pm - variation in visiting hours are subject to individual patient needs.


Mental Health Unit visiting hours are:

10:00am - 12:30pm and 3:00pm - 8:00pm


Communicating With Staff

Good communication between you and the staff will ensure that appropriate services are provided to you. If you do not understand, are unsure or have any questions about your medical treatment or stay in hospital, please ask one of the health care team looking after you. You also have the right to request an interpreter. Please notify staff if you require the services of an interpreter and it will be arranged.



The hospital offers a free patient interpreter and sign language service. This is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. If you need one, please inform your nurse for their assistance with accessing this service.


Electrical Items

Please do not bring in or use your own personal plug-in electrical items e.g. hairdryers, shavers. If you have your own electrical medical device e.g. CPAP machine, please check with staff prior to use as the Hospital is required to check electrical devices for electrical safety.


Mobile Phones

If you choose to keep your mobile phone with you, we are not responsible for its safety.  If you are sharing a room, please be mindful when taking a phone call. Also, be mindful that it may interfere with certain medical equipment.


Smoke Free

Smoking on hospital grounds is against the law. Fines may apply. If you need nicotine replacement therapy, please speak to your treating doctor.



Attachment Size
Patient_Guide_Booklet.pdf 4.45 MB