Health Service Complaints – information for consumers

A large part of the Health Services Commissioner’s work relates to the independent and impartial handling of complaints.

For the Commissioner to deal with a matter, generally a complaint must be made in writing. If relevant, we generally require the consent of the service user in order to proceed.

Making a complaint directly to a service provider

Your first step should be, wherever possible, to approach the provider to discuss your concerns.

If, after approaching the provider you feel that your concerns still haven’t been addressed, or if you don’t feel able to approach them yourself, you may like to contact our Intake Team who are available during business hours. See the ‘Contact us’ section for details.

Making a complaint to the Commission

A person can make a written complaint to the Commission about a health service. If you require assistance to write a complaint, we can help you.

Our complaint form is normally the best way to lodge a complaint, because it contains some important sections. Most importantly, it allows you the opportunity to consent to the Commission obtaining information relevant to the complaint. If we do not have this consent, in many situations we are not able to take action on a complaint.

You can download a complaint form from this page.

What happens after I lodge a complaint?

The Commission may contact you for more information. When the Commission receives a complaint and has sufficient consent and information to proceed, we will determine the best way to progress your complaint. Depending on a range of factors, we may:

  • Investigate the complaint ourselves;
  • Refer the matter to one of our Conciliators;
  • Ask the service provider to respond directly to you;
  • Refer the complaint to a more appropriate agency; or
  • Take no further action on your complaint.

If the Commission does investigate your complaint, we will often send it to the provider for a response within 21 days. The provider’s response to the complaint may then be sent to you for comment. Our investigation process may also involve gathering relevant information from third party and independent sources. If your complaint involves an individual health service provider registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), we will be compelled to notify them about the matter.

You complaint will also be assessed for its suitability for conciliation. Our conciliator will contact you to determine your willingness to participate in that process if it is deemed a suitable path for the resolution of your complaint.