Health care complaints
You have the right to give feedback or make a complaint about any aspect of your health care, and to receive a prompt response. This applies whether you are treated in a public or private hospital or treatment centre, or if you see a practitioner in a private clinic.
Complaints will be managed differently depending on the type of concern, and the state or territory you live in.
Learn more about:
- Importance of feedback
- How to give feedback or complain
- Steps for resolving a health care issue
- Making a formal health care complaint
- Health complaints organisations
- Health professional registration
- Medical negligence
The safety of Australia’s health care system requires the active participation of health professionals, patients and carers. Your feedback allows you to be a part of improving health care by supporting what is being done well, highlighting what can be done better, and improving safety. You can provide feedback through:
Compliments – Everyone likes a compliment when a job is done well. Positive comments show health professionals that you value their service and standard of care.
Suggestions – General feedback allows minor problems or difficulties to be dealt with to make things smoother for patients. Often health professionals are so busy treating people that they may overlook practical issues that are easy to solve and can improve everyone’s experience of treatment.
Complaints – If health care services have not met your expectations, negative feedback is important. It can help services and health professionals identify and improve service gaps or problems in treatment, communication, processes and behaviour.
Toni Ashmore, Cancer and Ambulatory Services, Canberra Health Services, ACT; Baker McKenzie, Pro Bono Legal Adviser, NSW; Marion Bamblett, Acting Nurse Unit Manager, Cancer Centre, South Metropolitan Health Service, Fiona Stanley Hospital, WA; David Briggs, Consumer; Naomi Catchpole, Social Worker, Metro South Health, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; Tarishi Desai, Legal Research Officer, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Kathryn Dwan, Manager, Policy and Research, Health Care Consumers Association, ACT; Hayley Jones, Manager, Treatment and Supportive Care, McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, VIC; Victoria Lear, Cancer Care Coordinator, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital, QLD; Deb Roffe, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council SA; Michelle Smerdon, National Pro Bono Manager, Cancer Council NSW.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.
Click below to download a PDF booklet on this topic.
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