Does a practitioner have to see a patient?

The only time a practitioner is obliged to see a patient is when a person’s life is in danger and they require urgent emergency treatment. If you have an emergency, let the doctor or the receptionist immediately know that this is an emergency and that you need urgent help.

In non-emergency situations, a doctor or other health practitioner may decline to see a patient. This might be because:

  • They don’t have any free appointments available and taking on a new patient would compromise the care they can provide to existing patients.
  • They don’t feel they have the right expertise to help.
  • There has been a breakdown in the relationship between the practitioner and the patient.
  • There is a risk that professional boundaries could be crossed.

When a practitioner declines to see a patient they will often refer the patient to another provider.

A practitioner cannot refuse to see a patient on the basis of discrimination (race, religion, gender etc.) If you believe a practitioner has refused to see you on such a basis you can lodge a complaint with the Anti-Discrimination Board NSW. The Board can be contacted on 1800 670 812.

Still need more information

If you would like to speak to someone at the Commission for more information before you lodge a written complaint you can contact the Inquiry Line during business hours, Monday to Friday from 9am – 5pm on 1800 043 159 or submit an online inquiry.

Online inquiry

Ready to lodge your complaint

All complaints must be made in writing and we aim to assess complaints within 60 days. Your complaint will be allocated to an assessment officer and we will write to you to explain the outcome of your complaint.

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Track my complaint

You can track the progress of your complaint online.

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