Accessing medicines you need

There are changes to the way medicines are managed in public hospitals called pharmaceutical reforms, which make it easier and safer for you to access the medicines you need.

Making it easier – better access

Hospital doctors can write Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) prescriptions for you when you attend an outpatient clinic, are discharged from hospital, and also for a range of chemotherapy medicines.

Hospital pharmacies will provide the same quantity of medicine for the same cost as your community pharmacy. This means you will be able to choose a convenient time to visit your doctor after leaving hospital.

Making it safer – expert advice

By using the same pharmaceutical scheme as the community – the PBS – there should be less confusion and more help in preventing health problems due to under-use or over-use of medicines.

Hospitals are introducing new ways to make sure you leave hospital with a better understanding of the medicines you take.

What you need to do

To supply a PBS prescription, the hospital needs to record your Medicare card details. If you hold a Concession or Safety Net card you are entitled to an additional government subsidy. To ensure you receive this entitlement, the hospital needs to record these card details.

The co-payment is the amount you pay towards the cost of your PBS medicines. Many PBS medicines cost a lot more than you actually pay as a co-payment. The current co-payments can be found on the PBS website.

What to bring to hospital

  • Your Medicare card (and any current Concession card, Prescription Record form and Safety Net card that you have)
  • Your current medicines and a list of all the medicines you are taking (including over-the-counter and herbal)

How to pay for your medicines

  • On discharge: Payment can be made by cash, EFTPOS, credit card or cheque (check with the hospital) – you may ask the person collecting you to bring one of the above rather than keeping it with you during your stay.
  • Outpatients: Payment on the day can be made by cash, EFTPOS, credit card or cheque (check with the hospital).

Fact sheets and brochures

Selected fact sheets are available in languages other than English. For copies of these, please contact the SA Health's Medicines and Technology Programs Branch. Languages include:

  • Chinese
  • Dari
  • Dinka
  • Greek
  • Italian
  • Persian
  • Vietnamese