Everybody has the right to complain about the service or conduct of a health service provider or practitioner. Yet you might not be aware that you can make a complaint. You might think it won’t make a difference or that no-one will follow it up or investigate it. You may even be eager to avoid conflict and think making a complaint will complicate your life. But you’re entitled to have your health complaint investigated. It may even help others. This blog explains how you can go about making a complaint, and why you should.
Why are complaints important?
Complaints can stop the same issues from occurring again and help service providers to improve their services. If you’ve had an issue with a particular service practitioner or provider, it’s likely that others have as well.
What can I complain about?
A health service is any service that claims to be for the benefit of one’s health, be it improving, restoring or managing it. In Australia there are two broad categories of health practitioners. Registered practitioners are overseen by a national board that every practitioner must be registered with (e.g. Psychology Board of Australia). This category includes doctors, nurses, chiropractors, dentists etc. Unregistered practitioners can include nutritionists, naturopaths, speech pathologists etc.
You can complain about any aspect of their service regarding the quality of the treatment or service or the behaviour of the practitioner.
How to Make a Complaint and Governing Bodies
Speaking directly with your health provider can be the quickest way to resolve your problem. However, you may not be happy with their response, or may feel uncomfortable speaking to them directly in the first place.
In that case, the best course of action is to make a complaint with your state’s government health complaint agency:
- Queensland: https://www.oho.qld.gov.au/health-consumers/the-complaints-process/assessing-a-complaint.
- Victoria: https://hcc.vic.gov.au.
- New South Wales: http://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au.
- South Australia: http://www.hcscc.sa.gov.au.
- Western Australia: https://www.hadsco.wa.gov.au/home.
- Tasmania: https://www.healthcomplaints.tas.gov.au.
- Australian Capital Territory: http://hrc.act.gov.au/health/health-service-complaints.
- Northern Territory: https://www.hcscc.nt.gov.au.
You can also report the health provider to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). AHPRA is responsible for the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia and the organisation that supports the National Boards in implementing the National Scheme.
To make a complaint with AHPRA visit: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/Notifications/Make-a-complaint.aspx.
If a medical practitioner doesn’t take reasonable care in their treatment and things go wrong, this is called medical negligence. If you or a loved one has suffered injury due to medical negligence, you may be eligible to make a claim for compensation.
Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: February 1, 2019.