Complaints about individual registered health practitioners where the investigation has found sufficient evidence to consider disciplinary action are referred to the Director of Proceedings. Such complaints may involve allegations of impairment, unsatisfactory professional conduct and/or professional misconduct.
As a first step, the Director of Proceedings independently determines whether a complaint should be prosecuted. The independence of the Director of Proceedings is set out in section 90D of the Health Care Complaints Act. The Director of Proceedings is required to consult with the relevant health professional Council about its views before determining whether to prosecute a complaint before a disciplinary body.
Public statements and warnings
The Commission can issue public statements in relation to unregistered health practitioners where it finds a breach of the code of conduct for unregistered health practitioners.
The Commission can also warn the public about a treatment or health service where it believes that this service poses a risk to public health and safety.
In NSW, complaints about medical practitioners and nurses and midwives can be prosecuted before two disciplinary forums - the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or Professional Standards Committees. Complaints about other registered health practitioner may be prosecuted before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or can be the subject of an inquiry of the relevant NSW health professional Council. The Commission is not a party to an inquiry of a Council.
In general, the Commission’s decisions in relation to individual complaints are confidential and not made public. The persons and bodies involved in a particular complaint are notified of the Commission’s decision in writing.
When an investigation has substantiated significant issues in relation to a registered health practitioner, the Commission may consider disciplinary proceedings. Practitioners may be prosecuted before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal or a Professional Standards Committee. The outcomes of disciplinary proceedings before both disciplinary bodies are generally publicly available.