Health and medical services in the Northern Territory

Health and medical services are available throughout Australia's Northern Territory (NT). Public and private general practices, clinics and hospitals deliver these services.

Royal Darwin Hospital is the NT’s main hospital. It houses the National Critical Care and Trauma Response Centre and the Alan Walker Cancer Care Centre.

Darwin Private Hospital is for patients with appropriate private health insurance.

All major regional towns have hospitals with general inpatient, outpatient and emergency services.

Royal Darwin and Alice Springs hospitals have a wide range of specialist services. Both are teaching hospitals aligned with Adelaide’s Flinders University.

Many remote health centres have direct contact with specialists in Darwin and around the world using telecommunications.

Private dentists, general medical practitioners, specialists and allied healthcare professionals like physiotherapists, optometrists and pharmacists practise in the major towns. They regularly visit remote communities.

Two health care systems operate in Australia:

  • national public health through Medicare Australia for Australia’s residential population
  • paid private health insurance.

Medicare - Australia’s national health service

Medicare usually provides:

  • free or subsidised treatment by health professionals like doctors, specialists and optometrists
  • in some cases, treatment by dentists and other allied health practitioners
  • free treatment and accommodation if you are a public (Medicare) patient in a public hospital.

Medicare pays 75% of the scheduled fee for services and procedures if you are a private patient in a public or private hospital.

This does not include hospital accommodation and items like theatre fees and medicines.

Most overseas citizens in Australian on temporary visas are not eligible to access Medicare. However, Medicare will pay for health care services for citizens from certain countries.

Private health insurance

If you are on a provisional or temporary visa you must take out private health insurance to cover any medical and hospital expenses you may incur.

Permanent residents may also decide to pay for private health insurance. This provides access to facilities like your choice of hospital, surgeons of choice, dentists, opticians and other specialist services at subsidised rates.

There are two types of private health insurance:

  • hospital policies cover you when you go to hospital
  • general treatment policies, sometimes known as ancillary or extra cover, that cover treatment like dental and physiotherapy.

Most health funds offer combined policies that cover both hospital and general treatment services.

There are a number of private health cover insurance companies in Australia like Medibank and Bupa. The Private Health Insurance Ombudsman can give you more information.

You can find more information at these websites: