So, we’re all required to undergo a health check as part of the visa application process – this is fair enough. Having a general check-up is not a bad thing anyway, especially when we are aiming to undergo a dramatic and stressful life-changing experience by moving abroad.
The Department of Immigration and Border Protection run a service called ‘My Health Declarations‘ (MHD), which is for clients who have not yet lodged a visa application and would like to do health examinations before lodging a visa application.
We did not do this though, we were already visa applicants as we had registered our ImmiAccount and submitted our visa application payment (but had not yet submitted all the required documents).
If, like us, you are applying for a visa while outside Australia you must be examined by a ‘panel physician’ – a doctor and/or a radiologist who has been appointed to perform Australian immigration health examinations outside Australia.
The slight snag is that there are only a finite number of locations where you can find this panel physicians – London, Midlands and East Anglia, Scotland, South England and Wales have only one centre per region. North England has two and they are both situated in Manchester! Find your panel physicans (Worldwide) here.
When logged into your ImmiAccount you should do a questionnaire about your health and get issued with a document containing your HAP ID code. This is your unique identifier which the clinic performing your medical exam needs you to reference to. When I booked our appointment I simply quoted the HAP ID numbers and that was it. We went for a Saturday morning due to job commitments and I was worried we would have to wait a long time for a weekend slot, but a 3 week wait wasn’t too bad for us.
We went to the Medmigration Clinic at the Private Bridgewater Hospital in Manchester where it cost us £270 each (in 2015) for our examinations.
I’m not used to going to using private hospitals, or any for that matter, ‘touches-wood’ I’m been lucky health-wise in life so far! So I felt a little nervous on the day – we both did to be honest as we didn’t know what to expect – but having gone through the process, I’m happy to report that there is nothing to worry about (well, apart from having a blood sample taken if you’re needle-shy). There were three aspects to the examination; each with their designated room and medical professional.
Room 1: The Physical Exam (and Urinalysis)
I cannot stress how pleasant the whole experience was – we were greeted by lovely, happy, smiley pleasant staff who made us feel as if they had all the time in the world for us, despite being such a high-demand centre.
Having done our business for the protein, blood and glucose Urinalysis, (pee in a cup job and Girls, this can’t be done during ‘that time’ of the month) we went in for our physical exam. FYI – You have to strip down to your undies! You can request a chaperone to be present in the room if you wish. The GP was very pleasant and informative, checking us over for muscle, skin, joint, bone impediments etc. You also have to read a few lines for an eye test (but wearing your specs/lenses). They also record the standard stats like height and weight and blood pressure.
Room 2: Phlebotomy
They need to take a blood sample to test for HIV and Hepatitis. Some may find this the horrible bit, but not to worry it was over in a flash – again the Phlebotomist was absolutely lovely and highly professional.
Room 3: Chest X-Ray
Surprise, surprise – the Radiologist was also lovely. Honestly, I’ve never been to such a medical centre – it was practically bursting with positivity and happiness. Even the family of five who had driven down from Newcastle and were following behind us in the process all seemed happy to be there. Perhaps it was because (a) private medical professionals probably get a decent wage, the level that all medical professionals should be entitled to and (b) before now this process had been all about paperwork. Now we were actually physically being asked to do something that will contribute to us moving to Oz! It made it more visceral, more real.
I digress… so in preparation for the chest x-ray, the bras have to come off but you still wear a top. You then face the screen and in the matter of seconds, your x-ray has been acquired. Simples 🙂
After making the payment, we were all done – and we weren’t even there for just under an hour! The medical team would forward the results directly to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection. They said if anything untoward came up in the results, we would know within a matter of days – but if not then we would not hear from them again.
The following week we were contacted by email from an Immigration Officer to notify us that they had received the information.
If you want to read more about our journey, here are the links to our other posts so far:-
Getting Extra Points For Your Australian Visa English Language Ability
Getting Started with the SkillSelect Skills Assessment
Which Visa? Seeing the Wood For the Trees
First Steps – Making the Decision