What does it mean to be a public patient?

Under Medicare, Australian residents and 'eligible persons' from countries with reciprocal health care agreements who choose to be admitted as a public patient are entitled to free treatment in a public hospital, including free accommodation, doctor(s) services, diagnostic tests and medications provided while in hospital (but excluding personal expenses such as TV hire, telephone calls and discharge medications). A public patient is treated by a doctor(s) appointed by the hospital.