University clinics as an affordable option

The cost of services you need to manage your disability or that your loved one with disability needs to live their best life, can add up quickly.

Key points:

  • Many universities around Australia run clinics for healthcare services which are used to complete the training of students

  • Students all have an appropriate level of qualification before starting at the clinic, but the services may cost you less because they are delivered by students in not-for-profit clinics

  • Students will always be suitably supervised while providing your care

An alternative to services provided by private health services can be university clinics. While getting access to the supports you need, it gives students the opportunity to build their experience while providing a more affordable service to members of the public.

Students are supervised by fully qualified professionals, also called clinical educators and all students have a high enough level of qualification to be able to deliver the service to an appropriate standard.

Pros of a university clinic providing your service

  • Services may be cheaper than services provided by private businesses, as university clinics are usually not-for-profit

  • The university will ensure best practice is upheld by all students

  • University clinics will use the most modern standard of care, informed by the most recent research

  • A variety of services might be available to you at the same university campus

  • Clinics can often accept regular referrals for assessments and self referrals

  • Some university clinics are set up to fill gaps in the services provided in your area, for example they may have specific offerings for children with development delay which aren’t offered by other clinics in your area

Cons of a university clinic

  • The service will likely need to be delivered at a university campus or a hospital in a specific location, which may not be convenient for you to visit
  • The university nearest to you might not deliver all the services you need, for example they may only run a psychology clinic and not a physiotherapy clinic

  • There might be less appointment times offered than at a regular clinic, particularly if it is exam time for students

  • You won’t be able to see the same person every time you visit, if you need ongoing support, as students will deliver the service for a limited amount of time before completing their qualification

  • People with severe mental health conditions such as active psychosis who could pose a risk of harm to others may be excluded from accessing clinics

What kinds of services are offered?

Universities will run clinics for selected services which they want their students to be able to have practical experience.

This could range from allied health services like speech pathology and occupational therapy through to legal services or accounting help with your tax.

Within each field of study the university might also run more specific clinics, such as for chronic diseases, a breast cancer service or sleep clinic.

Many universities offer psychology services and mental health clinics, which provide a variety of group and individual sessions for children right through to adults, including parents and young adults.

Clinics might run programs for people with anxiety or depression, people who have experienced trauma or children who have experienced bullying.

Referrals for cognitive and diagnostic assessments could be made for learning disorders, support needs, brain injury or stroke and dementia.

It’s worth contacting the universities which are accessible to you to ask what community clinics they offer.

Where can I go?

Below is a list of some of the universities around Australia and the services they offer. Visit their websites for more information.

Australian Capital Territory

  • University of Canberra – speech pathology, psychology, physiotherapy, physiotherapy for Parkinson’s Disease, optometry, occupational therapy, nutrition and dietetics, exercise physiology, counselling, cancer wellness centre


  • University of Queensland – exercise physiology, nutrition, dietetics, podiatry, optometry, psychology, counselling, social work, nursing

  • Bond University – Physiotherapy, psychology, exercise and sports science, nutrition, dietetics, legal services

  • Griffith University – dentistry, dietetics, exercise physiology, physiotherapy, psychology, speech pathology, tax help, legal services

New South Wales

  • University of Newcastle School of Psychological Sciences – psychology assessments and programs

  • Macquarie University – acute spine, breast health and implants, cancer service, cardiology, chiropractic, endocrinology, exercise physiology, GPs, haematology, kidney and hypertension, lymphoedema, medical imaging, neurology, ophthalmology, physiotherapy, plastic and reconstructive surgery, psychology, respiratory and sleep, skin cancer, speech and hearing, urology

  • Southern Cross University – speech pathology, exercise physiology, podiatry, osteopathy, mental health care social work, remedial and sports massage, GPs, mental health nurse practitioners 

South Australia

  • University of South Australia – dietetics, exercise physiology, GPs, legal advice, mammography, marketing, midwifery, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, podiatry, psychology, speech pathology, tax help

  • Flinders University – Psychology, sleep, speech pathology, nutrition, midwifery, physiotherapy, vision and optometry, disability support, cognitive behaviour therapy, hearing, legal advice

  • Adelaide University – psychology, legal services



Western Australia

  • University of Western Australia – podiatry, psychology

  • Curtin University – physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech pathology, exercise and sports science, nursing, professional psychology, counselling psychology, social work, pharmacy, dietetics, legal advice, tax help

  • Edith Cowan University – dietetics, exercise and sports science, exercise physiology, psychology, occupational therapy, speech pathology, podiatry, children’s health

Have you been looking for low cost options for health or disability related services? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

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