Rights and responsibilities of patients and families

The Sydney Children's Hospitals Network (SCHN) is committed to supporting the rights of patients, families, visitors and staff. 

Understanding the rights of children and young people (our patients), their families and carers is vital to ensuring SCHN has a safe and professional hospital environment. 

SCHN endorses the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights (second edition) and the Rights of Children and Young People in Healthcare Services in Australia.  

These rights apply to all people in all places where health care is provided in Australia. 

The charters provide a framework to help empower children and young people, and their families and carers to understand what they can expect from the staff caring for them.

Our hospitals are a safe place for everyone

To help us all partner together in caring for children, SCHN expects that staff, families, patients and visitors act respectfully:

  • treating others with care, consideration, courtesy and respect
  • being sensitive to the needs of others
  • behaving in a manner that is not (and would not be viewed by others as) aggressive or offensive
  • taking care of personal property and respecting hospital property.

To ensure the safety of SCHN patients, families, visitors and staff we ask everyone to:

  • refrain from physical or verbal abuse of patients, families, visitors or staff. Physical and verbally abusive behavior will not be tolerated. If necessary, hospital security will be called, and you may be asked to leave the unit or hospital if this affects others or care of patients.
  • wear footwear in the hospitals at all times
  • respect the hospital’s policies on smoking and alcohol use

Your rights

  • introduce ourselves to you and your child and explain our role
  • give your child safe and high quality health care
  • treat your child and your family with respect and dignity
  • give you and your child care that meets your individual, cultural and social needs
  • involve you as an important part of your child’s health care team
  • give you clear, understandable information about your child’s care
  • listen to your views about your child’s care and answer any questions you may have
  • respect the privacy and confidentiality of your child and your family
  • ensure that you have a say in decisions about your child’s treatment
  • inform you of opportunities to be involved in research and teaching.


Health care services are available to everyone regardless of gender, marital status, disability, culture, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age or income.

Patients have a right to access health services based on a medical assessment and the urgency of their need for treatment.  

Please tell us if your family have special needs or need an interpreter. 


Patients and their families are entitled to safe, high quality health care. We improve the safety and quality of care by partnering with our patients, their families, and carers.

More information on partnering with consumers can be found on the National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards (NSQHSS) website


Patients, families and visitors have a right to be treated with courtesy, dignity and respect while receiving our services, regardless of gender, marital status, disability, culture, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age or income. 

We ask patients and families to show respect towards our staff, volunteers, other patients, families and visitors.


Health care workers will explain the patient’s condition, the recommended treatment, as well as the risks and the alternatives. 

Our hospitals want patients, their families and carers to be partners in their care. Please ask questions and let us know if we need to explain things further.

Give us as much information as possible about your health, including any allergies, medical conditions, or disabilities. We want you to be involved in the decision making related to health care decisions and include the people you want involved in planning and decision making. 


SCHN wants patients and families to receive clear information about the patient’s health condition and be informed about the possible benefits and risks of tests and treatments, so informed consent may be given.

Patients and families have the right to:

  • receive information about services, waiting times and costs
  • be given assistance - when needed - to help understand and use health information 
  • access their health information
  • be told if something has gone wrong during health care including an explanation of how it happened, how it will affect their health and what is being done to make care safe. 

Interpreter services

Patients and families can access an interpreter free of charge. Interpreter services, including Australian Sign Language (Auslan) can be provided in-person or by phone and are available seven days a week. 

Patients and families can ask staff to arrange an interpreter for them. 


It's important that  patients and families understand their healthcare journey, regardless of what language you speak. 

Read the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights in your language or download the our rights and responsibilities brochure in your  language: 


Patient information will be kept in a confidential and secure manner. 

Patients and their families are entitled to request access to health information that is held in NSW Health services. 

Patients and families may be asked to apply for access in writing and provide identification. They may be charged a fee.

SCHN may share patient’s health information with other health care workers who are involved in their care. This ensures good care coordination and gives children and young people the best possible care.

Guidelines for interacting with staff

SCHN acknowledges that patients and families often form meaningful and close relationships with the staff caring for them. However, the Code of Conduct requires that staff must maintain professional boundaries at all times.

This includes not providing patients and families with any personal details including phone numbers, mobile numbers, email addresses or connecting via social media and social networking sites. 

Your feedback is important to us

SCHN encourages feedback from patients, families, carers and visitors so we can make quality improvements from complaints, and prevent other families having unsafe or poor experiences.

Have your say by

  • Talking to their child’s nurse, doctor or staff member they trust. Or to the Nursing Unit Manager who is in charge of the ward, or the Head of Department 
  • Completing a Patient Experience survey  
  • Using the suggestion boxes located on each ward 
  • Raising their concerns with the Patient Friend
    • Randwick Patient Friend: SCHN-SCH-PatientFriend@health.nsw.gov.au or (02) 9382 0680
    • Westmead Patient Friend: SCHN-CHW-PatientFriend@health.nsw.gov.au or (02) 7825 3535
  • Contacting the Research Governance Office SCHN-Governance@health.nsw.gov.au  for feedback related to research 
  • The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) is an independent body that deals with complaints about health services, providers and health workers.
  • The NSW Ombudsman can assist with complaints about service providers
Last updated Wednesday 3rd April 2024