Client rights and responsibilities

The Illawarra Women’s Health Centre is a Women Only Safe Space.

In the interests of comfort and safety for all women who visit the Centre, we ask clients to ensure that men who accompany them are aware of our policy. If you would like to have a male relative or friend present during any consultation or procedure, we ask that you let your practitioner know in advance, and make special arrangements at reception.

We ask men to respect our policy and make alternative arrangements while waiting.

Thank you for your consideration.

Client rights

The Illawarra Women’s Health Centre is committed to assisting women to be aware of their rights as health care clients, and to helping women put these rights into action.

You have the right: to:

  • A welcoming environment in the Centre
  • A safe and supportive environment
  • Professional and prompt service
  • Be treated with dignity, courtesy and respect, including respect for your culture
  • Receive service in a non-discriminatory manner at all times.
  • Confidentiality and privacy
  • Know the name of the staff member/s assisting you
  • Have the services of an interpreter
  • Receive information to assist health choice
  • Make decisions about your own health care
  • Accept or reject advice or treatment
  • Read your health records with your health care worker, and be given a copy upon written request
  • Refuse to take part in research and experiments (?), or to allow data from your health record to be used for research
  • Refuse services from students
  • Receive fair investigation of complaints

Client responsibilities

Rights also come with responsibilities. Those we would like you to be aware of include the responsibility to:

  • Be on time for appointments and contact the Centre if you are unable to keep your appointment
  • Ask questions about your health condition and any suggested treatments
  • Know your personal medical history, including details of any medications currently being used
  • Inform Centre workers if you are seeing someone else for the same problem
  • Respect the rights of other women using the Centre, including their right to privacy and confidentiality
  • Treat the staff of the Centre with courtesy and respect
  • Assist in seeking a fair resolution to any complaint you make of the Centre
  • Help make this Centre a safe place for all women


Please speak to a staff member or the manager if you have any complaints about the service you receive.

Complaints policy

You can be confident that:

  • The Illawarra Women’s Health Centre wants to resolve your concerns to your satisfaction
  • Your complaint will be dealt with quickly
  • Your complaint will remain confidential and will not affect the service you receive

To make a complaint:

If you are unhappy with our service please let us know. We will do our best to try and fix the problem. It is important to us to hear what you have to say.

If you want to make a complaint, talk to one of our staff members. They will try to sort out the problem straight away. If they can’t, they will arrange for our Manager to talk with you. Our manager will talk with you at the first opportunity (within 3 working days). Resolution of the problem may take longer, as an investigation may need to be considered. You will be kept up to date with progress on the matter. Alternatively, you can fill out a Consumer Feedback Form, located in the waiting room and place it in the suggestion box.

If things are not resolved to your satisfaction, there are several options you can consider. For example, the Manager can assist you to bring the complaint to the Council of Women (the governing body of the Centre) for consideration, or offer other suggestions.

Bringing children to appointments

Babies, toddlers, and children (boys are to be under 12 years of age) are very welcome in the Centre. We can offer private space for breast-feeding, and we have baby-change facilities and disposable nappies.

We seek your consideration regarding children’s safety whilst they are here, as the Centre is very busy and reception staff are not always able to keep an eye on children who are in the waiting room.

If you aren’t able to make arrangements for child-minding at home, younger children and babies may have to be taken into your consultation room (this is not ideal, as Mums need to be free to concentrate).

Your health record

Your health record is a legal document. It is kept securely locked on the premises. You are welcome to read your record at any time, in the company of a staff member, and can be given a copy of any part of it (including results) with a written consent form (signed by you).

On your first visit, we ask you to complete a client registration form. You can choose not to answer some questions but we do need your name, date of birth and telephone number. The information in your notes may be shared by more than one worker if, for example, you see the nurse and a counsellor. Each health professional writes into the one record. This helps us to provide you with the best co-ordinated care. If you choose, any sensitive information can be restricted to a particular health care worker and the written notes in respect of this can be kept in a sealed envelope in your file.

From time to time the health records are audited by staff members or external assessors to ensure that appropriate standards of record keeping are met. All care is taken to preserve the confidentiality of clients.

It is possible at some stage that we may undertake some research or data collection which will involve examination of health record data. If this occurs we will not allow the use of any information which would identify you or link with you in any way.

Please inform your health care worker if you do not wish your record to be included in the data.


Your information remains confidential to our health care team. If it is necessary to refer you to another service, we will always ask your explicit consent, in writing, before we transfer any information verbally or otherwise, to another service. Similarly, if you have been referred to this service by someone else, we will not give them any feedback about you without your written consent.

Limits of confidentiality:

There are specific instances where confidentiality around a particular matter cannot be maintained, namely, the case of child abuse or neglect, stated intention to harm self or others, or disclosure regarding a serious crime. In these instances, staff are required by law to notify the appropriate authorities.

Your medical record can also be subpoenaed to court, as can individual members of staff who are bound to be truthful witnesses.

Our fees policy

Our philosophy is to provide a variety of health and well being service or activity choices for women.

Our policy is to provide low cost or no cost services to women in recognition of the difficult financial circumstances many women experience. (?)

Small donations towards tea and coffee are very welcome and can be placed in the tea/coffee box in the kitchen. (?)

Alcohol and other drugs policy

The Centre has a Duty of Care to all women who attend the Centre.

Women who attend and are noticeably intoxicated with any drug may not be in a position to participate meaningfully in their health care planning. They will not receive service and will be asked, respectfully, to leave.

Women may also be offered the Drug and Alcohol Service phone number: 1300 652 226.