How to file a medical complaint in Australia

La di Da has compiled this list for our Australian readers who have complaints about their medical treatment (or lack thereof) –
NB: I am not in any way qualified to give legal advice.
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First take up a complaint with the individual doctor’s practice, clinic or
hospital, preferably in writing–larger clinics and hospitals usually have
a complaints officer. If there is no satisfactory resolution, contact your
state or territory’s Health Commissioner. These Commissions are
independent statutory bodies. You can make complaints about mainstream or
alternative health care providers. The process is generally the same
whether you are a public or private patient, though there may be differing
amounts and types of red tape to deal with.
Each state or territory also has a Medical Board that often works in
conjunction with the health commissioner to resolve complaints, but
sometimes the Medical Board and Commissioner will not handle the same
complaint simultaneously – it varies by state. Most states also have
consumers’ advocates or councils either in general or specifically for
health complaints to which you can also present your case. The Australian
Medical Association represents doctors and is not a consumer/patient body,
so don’t contact them.
You may also be able to make a complaint with the Equal Opportunity
Commission, Human Rights Commission, or Anti-discrimination Board (what
it’s called depends where you live). In Victoria physical appearance
including weight is covered by anti-discrimination legislation, and
gender, disability, sexual orientation, age, pregnancy, marital status and
ethnic origin (and other statuses) are covered by all states and
territories. ‘Disability’ is often broadly defined and may include many
kinds of health conditions. Check websites for the exact details for your
state or territory.
If your complaint is very serious (such as dealing with gross negligence),
you should contact your lawyer or Legal Aid.

–Australian Capital Territory–

Health Services Commissioner
http://www.hrc.act.gov.au/index.cfm?MasterTypeID=3&SectionTypeID=25&MainTypeID=25

Medical Board of the ACT
http://www.medicalboard.act.gov.au/

Human Rights Commission
http://www.hrc.act.gov.au/

–New South Wales–

Making a Complaint or Compliment about NSW health services
http://www.health.nsw.gov.au/concerns/complaint.html

Health Care Complaints Commission
http://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/

New South Wales Medical Board
http://www.nswmb.org.au/

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board
http://www.lawlink.nsw.gov.au/lawlink/adb/ll_adb.nsf/pages/adb_eeo_affirmative_action

–Northern Territory–

The Health and Community Services Complaints Commission (HCSCC)
http://www.nt.gov.au/omb_hcscc/hcscc/index.htm

Medical Board of the Northern Territory
http://www.nt.gov.au/health/org_supp/prof_boards/prof_licensing_auth.shtml

Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission
http://www.nt.gov.au/justice/adc/index800.html

–Queensland–

QLD Department of Health: Consumer complaints advice
http://www.health.qld.gov.au/quality/consumer_complaints/complaints.asp

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC)
http://www.hqcc.qld.gov.au

The Medical Board of Queensland
http://www.medicalboard.qld.gov.au/

Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland
http://www.adcq.qld.gov.au/

–South Australia–

Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC)
http://www.hcscc.sa.gov.au/

Medical Board of South Australia
http://www.medicalboardsa.asn.au/

Equal Opportunity Commission
http://www.eoc.sa.gov.au/

–Tasmania–

Health Complaints Commissioner Tasmania
http://www.healthcomplaints.tas.gov.au/

The Medical Council of Tasmania
http://www.medicalcounciltas.com.au/

Anti-discrimination Commissioner
http://www.antidiscrimination.tas.gov.au/

–Victoria–

Office of the Health Services Commissioner
http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/

Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria
http://medicalboardvic.org.au/

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
http://www.humanrightscommission.vic.gov.au/

–Western Australia–

Office of Health Review
http://www.healthreview.wa.gov.au/

Medical Board of Western Australia
http://www.wa.medicalboard.com.au/

Equal Opportunity Commission
http://www.equalopportunity.wa.gov.au/

Health Consumers’ Council
http://www.hcc-wa.asn.au/

–Federal–

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission
http://humanrights.gov.au/

Consumers Health Forum of Australia
http://www.chf.org.au/public_resources/complaint_mechanisms.asp
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1 Comment

  1. La di Da

     /  June 2, 2009

    I should also add, now that I’ve done even more looking into the topic, that it’s best to contact the state health complaints commissioner or ombusdman (etc) first. Unfortunately I’ve heard reports that some medical boards, being staffed with doctors, are largely sympathetic to…doctors. Some are neutral and professional but it’s ahrd to tell with no experience.

    Reply

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