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.
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

Medical Board of the ACT

Human Rights Commission

–New South Wales–

Making a Complaint or Compliment about NSW health services

Health Care Complaints Commission

New South Wales Medical Board

NSW Anti-Discrimination Board

–Northern Territory–

The Health and Community Services Complaints Commission (HCSCC)

Medical Board of the Northern Territory

Northern Territory Anti-Discrimination Commission


QLD Department of Health: Consumer complaints advice

The Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC)

The Medical Board of Queensland

Anti-Discrimination Commission Queensland

–South Australia–

Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC)

Medical Board of South Australia

Equal Opportunity Commission


Health Complaints Commissioner Tasmania

The Medical Council of Tasmania

Anti-discrimination Commissioner


Office of the Health Services Commissioner

Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

–Western Australia–

Office of Health Review

Medical Board of Western Australia

Equal Opportunity Commission

Health Consumers’ Council


Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

Consumers Health Forum of Australia

Leave a comment

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.


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