What to do if you have a complaint, compliment or suggestion
If you want to provide feedback to a particular health service or health care provider, there is a range of ways to do this. Choosing how to give your feedback will be a personal decision and may depend on whether you have a suggestion, compliment or complaint and what you would like done about it. All of these types of feedback are important and valued by health services.
Direct feedback to a health care provider
“If you are concerned about a health service provided, we recommend that you first talk to the provider directly. Often this is the fastest and most effective way of resolving concerns.” NSW Health Care Complaints Commission
Contacting a health care provider (for example a general practitioner, specialist or nursing unit manager) directly can be an effective way of providing feedback. You can do this by telephone, however writing a letter or requesting a meeting may be more effective. The Health Care Complaints Commission of NSW (see below) recommends trying this approach before moving towards lodging a formal complaint. It is also an effective approach for compliments and suggestions.
Use the feedback or complaints system of the health service
All health services in NSW are required to have a system for receiving feedback or complaints. You can either look on the service’s website for an online feedback system or call the service and ask who to speak to about making a complaint/providing feedback. Some services have a person employed as a complaints officer. Most services also have a paper feedback form available on site that can allow you to provide your feedback without providing your name (anonymously).
Feedback from consumers is taken very seriously by health services and you should hear back from the service about any complaint made.
Lodge a complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission
The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) acts to protect public health and safety by dealing with complaints about health service providers in NSW. Formal written complaints can be made about health service providers or health services involved in clinical care. The Commission has a duty to respond to inquiries, assess and investigate complaints, resolve complaints or prosecute serious complaints.
The Commission provides guidance to consumers thinking about making a complaint. In particular the Commission has produced a brochure and web page about Resolving Concerns about your Health Care or download from here.
Share your experience on “Patient Opinion”
The Patient Opinion website (www.patientopinion.org.au) is a free service that allows consumers to share their experiences – good or bad – with Australian health services. You can submit your stories without providing your name (the website requires you provide an email address and postcode however these are not shared publicly or with the health service in question).
After you share your story, Patient Opinion sends your story to staff of the service so that they can learn from it. You might get a response via Patient Opinion and importantly, your story might help staff to change services for the better. Patient Opinion is an independent not for profit organisation.
Next: Speak up for better treatment or management of a specific condition