Make a complaint

The Health Care Complaints Commision manages complaints about health service providers in NSW, including:

Health
Organisations

Such as public and private hospitals

Registered Health
Practitioners

such as medical practitioners, nurses and dental practitioners

Unregistered Health
Practitioners

such as naturopaths, massage therapists, and alternative health care providers

Unregistered Health Practitioners

Is your complaint about a health service provided in NSW?

Yes No

MY COMPLAINT IS ABOUT

The quality of care and treatment provided to a patient

The Health Care Complaints Commission considers complaints made by people who have concerns about the quality of care and treatment provided to a patient. This might be care and treatment provided by a health service like a hospital or clinic, or care and treatment provided by an individual practitioner such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, massage therapist, counsellor etc.

You can read some tips for making a complaint,

or simply visit the portal to lodge your complaint online.

If you have questions you can consult our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact our Inquiry Line on 1800 043 159 to speak to someone in person.

The professional conduct of a health practitioner

The Health Care Complaints Commission considers complaints made by people who have concerns about the ethical or professional conduct of a health practitioner such as a doctor, nurse, dentist, massage therapist, counsellor etc.

You can read some tips for making a complaint, or simply visit the portal to lodge your complaint online.

If you have questions you can consult our Frequently Asked Questions page or contact our Inquiry Line on 1800 043 159 to speak to someone in person.

My health practitioner won’t see me

The only time a doctor is obligated to see a patient is when the person’s life is in danger and they require urgent, emergency treatment. In non-emergency situations a doctor or other health practitioner may decline to see a patient.

You can read more about some possible reasons that a practitioner may decline to see a patient here.

A practitioner cannot refuse to see a patient on the basis of discrimination (race, gender, religion etc.) If you believe a practitioner has refused to see you on such a basis you can lodge a complaint with the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board or phone them on (02) 9268 5555.

Health care fees and charges

If you see a doctor or other health service practitioner privately, there may be a charge. Private practitioners, private hospitals, day surgeries and nursing homes can decide what they will charge for their services in the same way as any other business. The government does not regulate fees charged by private health providers.

You can read more about fees in your healthcare here.

The following organisations may be able to assist with issues related to fees in health care.

Private Health Insurance Ombudsman – If you are a member of a health fund and have questions about your medical bills.

Office of Fair Trading – If you are seeking a refund for faulty goods (i.e. glasses, dentures etc) or for a service if you feel that you did not get what you paid for.

Department of Health – If you are concerned about health practitioners claiming for services or products that weren't provided, contact the Provider Benefits Integrity Hotline on 1800 314 808.

If you are unable to liaise directly with the provider to reach an agreement about any fees, you may wish to seek legal advice.

My health information/medical records

You are entitled to request access to your health information and medical records. Although the information is about you, the documents and records belong to the health service provider who created them. Therefore requests for these records must be made directly with the health service provider.

The Commission is unable to retrieve your health information for you, or direct a health service to provide it to you.

You will usually need to request access in writing and provide identification. You may also be asked to pay a fee for any copies or to have your records transferred to another provider. If having access would put you or another person at risk, the request may be declined. If access is declined the provider must give reasons for refusal in writing.

You can read more about your health information here

If you have concerns about accessing your health information you can contact the Information and Privacy Commission NSW or phone 1800 472 679.

The content of a medico-legal or Family Court report

When visiting a practitioner for an independent medico-legal assessment the assessment is to support an administrative or legal decision. The role of the practitioner is not to treat the patient, but to conduct an assessment and to report to the body that has requested the information.

It is not uncommon for people to disagree with the content of medico-legal or Family Court reports. The content of such reports is weighed up in those processes and the Commission may determine not to take further action on a complaint of this nature, having regard to Section 27(1)c of the Health Care Complaints Act.

In these cases the correct body to make a complaint or appeal to is the body that has requested the report.

The following links may be helpful:

Complaints about Family Reports and Family Consultants

Complaints about reports for Workers Compensation and Motor Accident Injury claims

NSW State Insurance Regulatory Authority

The Commission is unable to assist with complaints about the content of medico-legal reports, however it can consider complaints about the professional conduct of the practitioner carrying out the assessment. If your complaint is about the professional conduct of a health practitioner you can lodge your complaint online

Other types of complaints

The Commission considers complaints about health services and health practitioners in NSW. The Commission considers complaints about the standards of care and treatment provided to patients, and/or the professional conduct of health practitioners.

Sometimes people come to us with concerns about issues which can best be addressed by another body. For example the Ageing and Disability Commission considers concerns about abuse or neglect of older people or people with a disability.

There are many different complaint handling agencies in NSW and the NSW Ombudsman’s website contains a comprehensive list of links that might be helpful if your complaint is not about a health service provider.

Still unsure?

You can talk to one of our Inquiry Officers if you have questions or need more information before you make a complaint. You can read some case studies about the way our Inquiry Service can help. They can be contacted on 1800 043 159 or you can complete an online inquiry form for assistance.

If your complaint is about a health practitioner or health service located outside of NSW the following links may be helpful:

Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) is the organisation responsible for the implementation of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme across Australia.

Australian Capital Territory

Health Services Commissioner within the ACT Human Rights Commission website or phone (02) 6205 2222

Northern Territory

Health and Community Services Complaints Commission website or phone 1800 004 474

Queensland

Office of the Health Ombudsman website or phone 133 646

South Australia

Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner website or phone 1800 232 007

Tasmania

Health Complaints Commissioner website or phone 1800 001 170

Victoria

Health Complaints Commissioner website or phone 1300 582 113

Western Australia

Health and Disability Services Complaints Office website or phone 1800 813 583