Health Care Complaints Act amended

On 14 May 2013, changes to the Health Care Complaints Act that were included in the Health Legislation Amendment Bill 2013 came into force. 

The amendments generally adopt the recommendations made in the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission’s report 'Operation of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993'.

The amendments included an 'own motion' power allowing the Commission to initiate a complaint in cases where there appears to be a significant issue of public health or safety; or a significant question regarding a health service that affects, or is likely to affect, the clinical care or treatment of a patient; or a case that is likely to result in disciplinary proceedings against a registered practioner or warrant action against an unregistered practitioner.

In addition, complaints to the Commission about health services were previously limited to cases where the treatment or care affected an actual individual patient. This has been broadened to allow the Commission to deal with complaints about conduct that affects or is likely to affect the clinical management or care of patients.

In addition, a set of guiding principles were included in the Act that will also be reflected in the Commission’s Code of Conduct and Code of Practice.

Other changes to the legislative requirements will ensure that the Commission can work more efficiently and effectively.

For further information, the speech introducing the legislation by the Minister for Health can be accessed here, or contact