Information for patients
The Norfolk Island Healthcare Scheme was a medical fund established in 1989 to assist with the payment of medical expenses for the residents of Norfolk Island. From 1 July 2016, the Australian Government integrated Norfolk Island with the mainland tax and social security systems, including access to Medicare and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
Medicare usually covers free or subsidised treatment by health professionals such as doctors, specialists, optometrists and, in specific circumstances, dentists and other allied health practitioners; free treatment and accommodation as a public patient in a public hospital; 75 per cent of the Medicare Schedule fee for services and procedures if you are a private admitted patient in a public or private hospital.
The lack of medical facilities available in most remote communities has a major impact on the health care of Norfolk Islanders. As is consistent with other extremely remote regions, many older residents find it impossible to remain on the island when their health falters, many have to leave their homes and live in New Zealand or Australia to get medical care.
The decision to purchase private health insurance is a personal choice. Medicare provides for universal access to affordable, high-quality health care for all citizens and permanent residents. However, there are some health services that are not covered by Medicare.
Private health insurance can give you more health care options and help to cover the cost of some services that are not part of Medicare. People who are Medicare eligible can choose to take out Australian private health insurance with registered private health insurers. Benefits and premiums vary between health insurers, so if you are exploring options it is important to compare policies.
To make the best decision about private health insurance, you need access to clear and impartial information. The Australian Government has established the Private Health website, an impartial source of information on every aspect of private health insurance in Australia.
Information for travellers
Norfolk Island Hospital is the only medical centre on the island. Emergency medical treatment is covered by Medicare or a private health insurer. Although the hospital can perform minor surgery, serious medical conditions are not permitted to be treated on the island and patients are flown back to mainland Australia. Air charter transport can cost as much as A$30,000, which is covered by the Australian Government. For serious emergencies, medical evacuations are provided by the Royal Australian Air Force. The island has one ambulance, staffed by St John Ambulance Australia volunteers.
Link to Ministry of Health: https://norfolkislandhealth.gov.nf/