Safety, well being and health information for international students University of Newcastle, Australia

Health & safety

Your health and safety are most important to us, because they allow you to study, learn, and enjoy life at the University of Newcastle.


YOUR HEALTH

You can live a healthy life at the University of Newcastle by participating in our many sport and social activities, enjoying fresh food on campus and taking care in the sun and water. We also have medical centres with university doctors on each campus, and are located near hospitals that can handle special illnesses and emergencies. As an international student in Australia, you must have health insurance, also called health cover, which will lower the costs of medical services.

The Australian Government requires all student visa holders to have approved health insurance: Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC). The University works with Allianz Global Assistance to assist students with this process. The University will subtract the cost of your health insurance from your deposit. This way, you will have health cover when you arrive in Australia.

Students on certain scholarships and those with reciprocal health insurance in their home country may not have this requirement. If you are a Swedish or Norwegian student, you will not need OSHC, as your health cover is provided under the National Health Insurance Scheme.

Allianz Global Assistance is a well-known health insurance provider for international students in Australia. Details about the insurance and how students can be repaid for primary health care expenses can be found at OSHC Allianz Assistance [link].

In an emergency, students can call a 24 hour helpline with an interpreter service: The After Hours Assistance Line is 1800 081 233.

A service provider from OSHC is available to meet with students at the Callaghan campus, International Office on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and at the City Hub in Auckland Street on Wednesday afternoons.

CONTACT

allianz 

Kaylene Smith

OSHC Customer Service Representative

International Office and City Hub

University of Newcastle

Callaghan Campus

(Monday – Wednesday 9am to 5pm)

City Precinct

(Wednesday 12pm to 5pm)

Ph 136742

Email: oshcnewcastle@allianz-assistance.com.au

Website: www.oshcallianzassistance.com.au


VISITING A DOCTOR

In Australia, the general practitioner (GP) is usually the first doctor you visit. All GPs see patients with many different conditions. All doctors at our University medical centres are GPs. If you need more tests or treatment the doctor may send you to a specialist either at a public hospital clinic or in private practice. To see a specialist you must have a referral letter from your GP and make an appointment. Payment may be required for private specialists, but treatment at a public hospital is fully paid for by your overseas student health cover or OSHC (unless the health condition is "pre-existing," and treatment occurs in the first 12 months you are in Australia). All doctor visits are private.

Medical services – Newcastle 

Medical services – Central Coast 

Medical services – Sydney 

If you are experiencing a medical emergency you should visit a hospital. You should not visit a hospital for general medical questions or concerns. 


SICK CHILDREN

If your child is very unwell do not wait to see the GP. If you live in the Newcastle area it is best to take your seriously ill child as soon as possible to the John Hunter Hospital as this hospital specialises in paediatrics. If you are unsure about your child's health after hours and wish to speak to a nurse you can call GP Access 


MEDICATIONS

If a doctor gives you a prescription for medication, you need to take this to a pharmacy (chemist shop). Pharmacies are found in most shopping centres. The pharmacy will sell you the medication.

Your doctor may also tell you to buy medicine over the counter without a prescription. This is because it is cheaper for you and some medications do not require a prescription.

If you are taking medicines when you arrive here, (eg asthma inhalers, acne treatment, birth control pills or antidepressants) we can prescribe more for you. You need to make an appointment with a GP for this. Please bring your original medication or prescription and any specialist's letters or test results. Medication available here may be slightly different from the one originally prescribed, and sometimes you may need to see a specialist before getting a prescription.

The weather and waterways are two of Australia's greatest features, however they can also be dangerous.

The Australian sun can be very hot and may be stronger than what you are used to in your home country. Here are some steps you can take to protect your skin:

  • Wear sunscreen protection (such as SPF30+ water resistant sun cream) and apply before you go outside.
  • Apply sunscreen at least 25-30 minutes before swimming and re-apply sunscreen after swimming.
  • Wear a hat and UV protective sunglasses.
  • Avoid long periods of time in the sun between 10am and 3pm. This is when the sun is strongest.
  • Make sure you follow these tips even when it isn't sunny – you can still get burnt on cloudy or overcast days.

Australia has many beautiful beaches, but it is important to take care when swimming. Here are some tips for staying safe in the water:

  • Never dive into a body of water if you don't know how deep it is.
  • Only swim at beaches that are patrolled by lifeguards, and always swim between the red and yellow flags where lifeguards can see you.
  • Many Australian beaches have 'rips'. These are strong underwater currents that can draw you away from the shore quickly. Swimming flags show which areas of the water have no rips. If you do find yourself in a rip, try not to get upset or swim against it. Stay with your surfboard or other floating device if you have one. Swim slowly parallel to the beach out of the rip area, or wave and call for help from lifeguards or other swimmers and surfers.

For more information on water safety visit the Surf Life Saving website.


 YOUR SAFETY

Australia is generally a very safe place to live and study. The 2011 OECD Better Life Index rated Australia 9.3 out of 10 for safety, one of the highest ratings awarded to any country.

But it is still important to know how to avoid danger, and who to ask for help. This is particularly important when you first arrive and are learning about a new place and way of life.

The University of Newcastle Security team keeps students, staff and visitors safe on campus. You can help by knowing where you are and who is around you, planning your routes and transportation, and reporting unusual behavior to University Security. Learn more about campus Security and emergencies, including how to stay safe and how the university responds to emergencies.

For emergencies such as fire or serious injury, you will use the public services of the city and state. Below you will find information about these services and how to use them.


UON Orientation - Beach Safety from UON International on Vimeo.

YOUR SAFETY

Australia is generally a very safe place to live and study. The 2011 OECD Better Life Index [link] rated Australia 9.3 out of 10 for safety, one of the highest ratings awarded to any country.

But it is still important to know how to avoid danger, and who to ask for help. This is particularly important when you first arrive and are learning about a new place and way of life.

The University of Newcastle Security team keeps students, staff and visitors safe on campus. You can help by knowing where you are and who is around you, planning your routes and transportation, and reporting unusual behavior to University Security. Learn more about campus security [link to Security and emergencies], including how to stay safe and how the university responds to emergencies.

For emergencies such as fire or serious injury, you will use the public services of the city and state. Below you will find information about these services and how to use them.

If you experience a fire emergency, follow these steps:

  • Call 000 from any phone or mobile – it is a free call even from a mobile phone.
  • Say the word "fire" to the operator.
  • Don't speak English? Just tell the operator your language and wait for instructions.
  • Answer the questions the operator asks.

TIPS FOR FIRE PREVENTION

  • Make sure your house or room has a working smoke alarm.
  • Wiring and electrical devices can overheat from too much use, especially in older buildings, so don't overload powerboards or double adaptors.
  • Keep electric heaters and radiators at least a metre from your bed, furniture or any curtains.
  • Remember to turn off all appliances when finished cooking. Most household fires occur in the kitchen when grease, oil or other flammable cooking materials are left on the stove and forgotten.

WHAT TO DO IF THERE'S A FIRE

In case there's a fire at home, plan a way to get out in advance. Don't block doorways or windows, and make sure you can open your windows – they can get stuck in older buildings. Have a specific place for keys and your phone, so if you have to leave quickly you will know where they are and can call emergency services.

If you are out in the bush when there is a fire, pay attention to media reports on television, radio and the internet, which will tell you if or when you should evacuate the area.

Fore more information please see the Fire and Rescue NSW website

In an emergency, telephone 000 for:

  • Police
  • Ambulance
  • Fire brigade

Calls to 000 (triple zero) are free. Be prepared to say your name, where you are, the telephone number you are calling from and the type of service you need.

If you cannot speak English, first tell the operator what kind of help you need – say "Police", "Ambulance" or "Fire" – and then say your language. You will be connected to an interpreter, so do not hang up. The interpreter will then help you talk to the police, ambulance or fire service.


POLICE

For non-urgent matters, ring 13 1444 or your local police station. Their numbers are listed under 'Police stations' in the White Pages telephone directory. There is no charge for police services.

In Australia, the police aim to protect people and property, stop and solve crime, and keep peace. The police may get involved in family issues where there is a conflict or concern about physical, sexual or psychological harm. Police are not connected to the military forces. The police do not play a part in politics.

Please see the NSW Police Force website for more information.


AMBULANCE

You may have to pay for using an ambulance depending on where you live, how far you travel by ambulance, the nature of your illness and whether you are eligible for a concession (a lower fee).  You may be eligible for a refund under your OSHC cover.

Please see the Health Ambulance Service of NSW website for more information.


 FIRE BRIGADE

The fire brigade puts out fires, rescues people from burning buildings and also helps in situations where gas or chemicals become a danger.

The services provided by fire brigades in each state and territory are free of charge.

Please see the Fire and Rescue NSW website for more information.

Wherever you are in Australia, if there's a life-threatening emergency, call 000 (zero zero zero). It's a free call, even from your mobile.

Tell the operator what kind of service you need, "Police", "Ambulance" or "Fire." If you don't speak English, tell the operator your language and you will be connected to a translator who will be able to assist.

It is important to remain calm. The operator will ask questions, such as: where are you located, what is the emergency, and how many people are involved.

Here are some examples of when you should call 000:

  • Someone has been seriously injured or is in urgent need of medical help
  • If your life or property is being threatened
  • If you have just witnessed a serious accident or crime

Wherever you are in Australia, if there's a life-threatening emergency, call 000 (zero zero zero). It's a free call, even from your mobile.

Tell the operator what kind of service you need, “Police”, “Ambulance” or “Fire.” If you don't speak English, tell the operator your language and you will be connected to a translator who will be able to assist.

It is important to remain calm. The operator will ask questions, such as: where are you located, what is the emergency, and how many people are involved.

Here are some examples of when you should call 000:

  • Someone has been seriously injured or is in urgent need of medical help
  • If your life or property is being threatened
  • If you have just witnessed a serious accident or crime