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Health complaints

Health complaints

As a first step, you can attempt to resolve the issue directly with the health service provider. You can do this in writing or in person. Keep a record of any communication with the service about your problem.
 

If the complaint cannot be resolved at that level you can complain to the:

What is AHPRA?

APHRA regulates health practitioners in partnership with the following National Boards:     

      • Chiropractic Board of Australia
      • Dental Board of Australia
      • Medical Board of Australia
      • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
      • Optometry Board of Australia
      • Osteopathy Board of Australia
      • Pharmacy Board of Australia
      • Physiotherapy Board of Australia
      • Podiatry Board of Australia
      • Psychology Board of Australia
      • Chinese Medicine Board
      • Medical Radiation Practice Board
      • Occupational Therapy Board
      • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Health Practice Board. 

In the national scheme, a complaint about a registered health practitioner is called a ‘notification’ except in Queensland where the word used is ‘complaint’ (from 1 July 2014). They are called notifications in the law because AHPRA is ‘notified’ about concerns or complaints, which it and the National Boards then manage. 

You can an make a complaint about a registered health  practitioner’s health, performance or conduct.  AHPRA receives complaints for the National Boards and manages the notifications process.

You can also raise a concern about a registered health practitioner with AHPRA.

To make a complaint or raise a concern contact AHPRA:

  • on 1300 419 495
  • by filling in the notifications form and submitting it by post to the WA office  AHPRA GPO Box 9958 Perth WA 6001 or 
  • in person at the Perth office: Level 1, 541 Hay Street Subiaco WA 6008

Note: when complaints relate to a registered health professional, HaDSCO, by law, is required to consult with the AHPRA. This will determine which agency is the most appropriate to deal with the complaint.

What is the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office?

The Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) is an independent statutory authority providing a resolution service for complaints relating to health or disability services provided in WA. This service is free and available to all users and providers of health or disability services.

For information on what health services are covered by HaDSCO, who can make a complaint, what sort of things can be included in a complaint, and the complaint process, go to the HaDSCO website or call (08) 6551 7600 or 1800 813 583. The website also has an online complaint form,

Do time limits apply to complaints to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office?

Yes. You must make a health service or disability service complaint within 24 months of the date the service being complained about was provided. In some cases the time limit can be extended if you have a good reason for the delay.

Are there any organisations that can help with my complaint?

The Health Consumers' Council is an independent community based organisation that may be able to assist you with making your complaint to the health service provider. The Council operates:

  • a health information and referral service, and
  • an advocacy service for people with problems with the health system.

Contact the Health Consumers' Council on (08) 9221 3422 or 1800 620 780.  

What if my complaint is about negligence by the health service?

If the complaint involves an allegation of professional negligence you should get legal advice first. See Finding a lawyer or legal assistance.

I have a complaint about Medicare. What can I do?

If you have a problem with Medicare you should firstly discuss it directly with the Department of Human Services feedback and complaints line on 1800 132 468.

If you are unable to resolve your complaint, you can contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman on 1300 362 072.

I have a complaint about my private health insurer. Where can I go?

If you have a problem with your health insurance arrangements, you should firstly discuss it directly with your health insurer or provider.

If you are unable to resolve your complaint or need advice, contact the Commonwealth Ombudsman on 1300 362 072.

I have a complaint about my personal health information being revealed without my permission. What can I do?

Generally you should make the complaint directly to the hospital or health service first. Keep records of communication about your complaint.

If the complaint cannot be resolved at that level you can complain to the:

How do I find out how to get access to my own medical records?

  • The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner can assist if you want to know about how to request access to your personal health information. The OAIC website provides fact sheets about the management of and access to your health record. State or Northern Territory public hospitals and health services are not covered by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth). Contact the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner on 1300 363 992 (freecall).
  • Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) gives you the right to apply for access to documents held by WA State public sector agencies which includes: government departments, local authorities, statutory authorities and ministers. Contact the Office of the Information Commissioner WA on (08) 6551 7888 or 1800 621 244 (WA landline country callers only) for information on how to access your records.

What if I have a complaint about accessing my own medical records?

See under the heading above I have a complaint about my personal health information being revealed without my permission. What can I do?

What if I have a complaint about a mental health service?

As a first step you can attempt to resolve the issue directly with the mental health service. If the complaint cannot be resolved at that level you can complain to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office as outlined above.

See also Mental health.

What if I have a complaint about mishandling of my eHealth record?

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner's role includes investigating complaints about the mishandling of health information in an individual’s eHealth record. For more information go to the OAIC website.

 

Last reviewed: 08/10/2015
Last modified: 23/08/2017 4:41 PM

Disclaimer

The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.