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Seeking medical assistance for international students

I'm an international student. What do I need to do if I am unwell and unable to complete my exam/assessment?

For information about how to take care of your health and wellbeing during the global COVID-19 pandemic, see COVID-19 updates and advice for students.

If you are unwell, you may find it difficult to undertake your studies and complete your assessment tasks. Special Consideration is available for students who are impacted by unexpected or long-term health conditions, and may enable you to have an exam deferred to a later date, an extension or an alternative form assessment.

Documentation, such as a Health Professional Report, or medical certificate, will be required to apply for Special Consideration.

To seek medical advice and assistance, you can make a confidential appointment through the University's Health Service. International students are required to have Overseas Student Health Cover insurance for the duration of their stay in Australia. Bupa is the University's preferred insurance provider, and you can visit a representative in person at the Health Service, or in Stop 1.

International students can also make appointments at other medical practices throughout Melbourne. These are often referred to as a 'general practice', and will usually charge a fee for each visit. It is recommended that if you need further medical assistance you return to the same medical practice to ensure consistency of care and records.

What to expect from a medical appointment

  • If it is your first visit to a medical practice, you will be asked for your medical history - if you have a specific medical condition or a history of health concerns, it would be useful to take any documents related to previous diagnosis and treatments.
  • Your doctor will examine you to determine what treatment may be appropriate.
  • You may be referred to a specialist medical practitioner for further diagnosis or treatment. For example, if you have injured yourself playing sport, you may be referred to a specialist for physiotherapy.
  • Your doctor may prescribe you medication to treat your illness. You can purchase the medication from a chemist using the prescription.
  • You may be recommended to return for a follow up appointment.

Medical certificates and documents for Special Consideration

If your illness or injury has impacted your ability to work or study and you plan to apply for Special Consideration, your doctor may write you a medical certificate or fill in a Health Professional Report. Documentation from medical practitioners will only be accepted if it meets the appropriate criteria. Documentation which has been fraudulently obtained or altered will be dealt with under the Student Academic Integrity Policy, and may result in termination of enrolment.

Online medical advice

You can seek an online medical assessment and medical certificate by some online providers, however please note that there are some operators who are not recognised as legitimate medical professionals, and documentation sourced from these will not be accepted. This includes online pharmacists, or websites selling medical certificates. The University will seek to verify the authenticity of medical certificates sought online. If your injury or illness is of a serious nature, or needs a complex diagnosis it is recommended you seek advice from a doctor in person.

Alternative medical advice

You may have a preference to seek medical assistance from an alternative practitioner such as a Chinese medical practitioners or naturopaths. For the purpose of sourcing documentation for Special Consideration, a medical certificate or Health Professional Report will only be accepted if it verifies a condition that the practitioner is qualified to authenticate. It is also strongly recommended that for serious or ongoing health conditions that you seek advice from a doctor in person.

Hospitals or emergency departments

It is appropriate to go to the Emergency Department at a hospital if you are seriously injured or ill, particularly if it occurs after usual business hours. You can phone 000 for an ambulance, or attend an Emergency Department at the public hospital closest to you.