Feedback and complaints
Have you or a family member experienced outstanding or unsatisfactory healthcare?
We do not offer a personal advocacy service and we don’t handle personal complaints about a health service you received. But we can help you to find the right person to talk to. There are a number of ways you can provide feedback or lodge a complaint.
If you have experienced criminal action such as violence or sexual abuse while receiving healthcare you need to contact the police and report the incident.
The feedback process
The first place to begin is locally by expressing a concern or praise with the health service or doctor where the care was received. Hospitals often have complaint processes and units that will explain how to make a complaint. So ask them how. If the matter is resolved here, this is often the most satisfactory experience for consumers and their loved ones.
If the issue is not adequately resolved, consumers have a right to pursue resolution of their complaint through their independent, state-based healthcare complaints authority. In NSW, this is the Health Care Complaints Commission.
- receives and assesses complaints relating to health service providers in NSW
- resolves or assists in the resolution of complaints
- investigates serious complaints that raise questions of public health and safety
- prosecutes serious complaints.
There is also a national body which receives complaints (called ‘notifications’), which is the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). Notifications can be made to AHPRA only concerning a registered health professional on issues of unprofessional conduct, health impairment or professional performance.
AHPRA deals with serious issues of unprofessional conduct or performance.
The most appropriate organisation will depend on the nature of your complaint and what you hope to get from your complaint. Other organisations who might be able to help you are consumer organisations that offer personal advocacy services for people like you. For example, if you are a Vietnam Veteran the Vietnam Veterans Association of Australia might be able to help you. Please contact us if you you are unsure whether there might be another consumer organisation that could help you.
Online feedback - good and bad
Patient Opinion Australia is a website where the public can publish their experiences of local health services. The website allows health service staff to then get back and interact with the patient to help improve the care experience for future patients or pass on great feedback to the particular health staff involved.
On this website, you can make a complaint about health services you received and if the health service is connected to the site, they will get back to you, but only then. Making your complaint is as easy as clicking the tell-your-story button.
Patient Opinion is a not-for-profit charitable organisation. Their mission is to help improve dialogue between patient and health service providers and to improve health services.
Our health, our community is the Consumer Health Forum's of Australia (CHF) consumer website. It includes a 'have your say' section and an ideas wall. The CHF is interested in what could be different about your healthcare experience so that healthcare improves. You would need to describe your issues (without names) and what could have been done better. All information is confidential.
Your comments will then be shared with other consumers, consumer advocates and consumer organisations to help make things better in healthcare. Your comments might help another consumer understand the health system, tell consumer advocates about an idea or a service that is working very well in your local community, or contribute to an important knowledge base of consumer issues and experiences that can be used to improve healthcare for all Australians.