There is no ONE formulated approach to the complaints process in Australia.
It is important to take the opportunity to provide feedback to the hospital or health facility if you have had an issue with your care.
Many feel too unwell emotionally to deal with such things, but unless you do, the same thing may repeat to you, your loved ones, and the next person in a similar situation. Without consumers voicing their concerns, hospital, health facilities, governing bodies may not be aware that there is an issue.
Complaints can be made in many forms such as verbally, written, over the phone, electronically, some have even videoed themselves and forwarded the complaint. The important thing is that you are heard, validated and the health facility lets you know what they will be doing about it accordingly.
There are many ways to raise your concerns about treatment. If the treatment was while you were in hospital, you may wish to contact your hospital and ask for the Complaints person and speak to them. You can also choose to put your concerns in writing. Usually the hospital will acknowledge your response with an indication of what you can expect. ie. Your concerns will be investigated and we will get back to you within xx days.
If your complaint is about a particular doctor or surgeon, you can put the complaint into the hospital/medical practice, and or the Australian Health Practictioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) here >>> AHPRA’s complaint process here
Not satisfied? You can escalate your concerns.
If you are not happy with their response, or the time it took for them to get back to you, you can take your concerns higher.
In each state, there are different organisations that deal with escalated complaints in healthcare:
New South Wales – NSW HCCC
Victoria – VIC Health Complaints Commission
Queensland –QLD Health
Western Australia – WA Health
South Australia – SA Health
Northern Territory – NT Health
Tasmania – TAS Health
New Zealand Health Ministry
Complaints – references and other material
- ISO (2004), International Standards 10002: 2004(E) Quality management: Customer satisfaction
— Guidelines for complaints handling in organizations, Switzerland: ISO.
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (2008), Australian Charter of
Healthcare Rights, https://www.safetyandquality.gov.au/national-priorities/charter-of-healthcarerights/
- Australian Human Rights Commission (2014), Good practice guidelines for internal complaint
processes, Sydney: Australian Human Rights Commission.
- New Zealand Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner, Statement of Performance
Expectations 2017/2018, Auckland: Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner.
New South Wales
- Ombudsman Western Australia (2009), Guidelines: Procedural fairness (natural justice).
- Ombudsman Western Australia (2017), Guidelines: Effective handling of complaints made to your
organisation: An overview.