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How to make a complaint

Any person may make a complaint, including:

  • The person who experienced the problem.
  • A parent or guardian of the person or child concerned.
  • A relative, friend or representative chosen by the person concerned for the purpose of making the complaint.
  • A health service provider or other concerned person.

If a complaint is made on behalf of the person who experienced the problem, written authority from that person will assist Healthdirect Australia to process the complaint. Written authority is also required to access the medical records of the person who experienced the problem. Signed authority from the person who experienced the problem is not required if they are under the age of 18 or deceased.

What can you complain about?

A complaint may be about any health service provider or service associated with Healthdirect Australia.

This includes:

  • Practitioners such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, dietitians, health coaches and others, regarding the clinical care and treatment of a patient, or their professional conduct, and;
  • Health service organisations such as public or private hospitals, clinics, medical centres, day surgery centres, ambulance services, telephony services such as nurse triage and after hours GPs and others, affecting the clinical care or treatment of a patient.
  • Health practitioners who currently do not require registration to practise in NSW, such as naturopaths, psychotherapists, dietitians, massage therapists and others.
  • Information services such as the National Health Service Directory and websites such as Pregnancy Birth and Baby, mindhealthconnect, healthdirect and myagedcare.

How do I lodge a complaint?

A complaint can be lodged directly either:

  1. Via email to our centralised complaints system: clinical.governance@healthdirect.gov.au
  2. By calling Healthdirect Australia - the corporate office on 02 9263 9000 - (business hours only)
  3. By completing the form found on the 'Contact Us' pages on websites managed by Healthdirect Australia, including: mindhealthconnect, Pregnancy Birth and Baby, National Health Services Directory, healthdirect website, and myagedcare. The form may also be found via the 'Feedback' page on The Carer Gateway.

Advocacy

A complainant may have an advocate speak on his/her behalf to assist with their complaint.

An advocate may be a family member, a friend or a health professional such as a family GP. Healthdirect Australia will need to be advised when an advocate is to be used, so that the correct information is shared and privacy is not breached.

What do I need to include in my complaint?

A written complaint should include:

  • Who was involved?
  • What happened and when?
  • What are you concerned about?
  • Have you done anything else to address this matter?
  • What do you want to happen now?

Extra information and copies of other relevant documents should be attached to your written complaint. It is also important that you have the consent of the person who received the treatment to access their health records.

What does Healthdirect Australia do when my complaint is received?

Once Healthdirect Australia receives a complaint, it will be logged in a secure database. You will be sent an acknowledgement and the relevant health service provider will be provided with the details to investigate the complaint.

All service providers, including our information services, have internal medical and nursing advisers who can review the case and provide clinical advice.

Each notification of an incident, complaint or feedback provided is assessed for severity and priority of the response to be provided. Some issues require a rapid response and this is factored in to the response plan.

Healthdirect Australia will acknowledge your complaint within 2 working days. The duration of the investigation part generally depends on how serious the issue is and how what type of investigation is required.

How can I resolve concerns about my health care?

It is a good idea to provide your complaint directly to Healthdirect Australia so we can work with you to resolve the complaint. Here are some tips for resolving your concern about a Healthdirect Australia Service:

  • A complaint that relates to the immediate health or safety of a person should be made without delay.
  • Complaints about sexual or physical assault should be made to the police.
  • Ensure that you are sending your complaint through the right channel.
  • Provide as much information as possible about your contact with the service to enable Healthdirect Australia to fully investigate.
  • Have a clear idea what your expectations are about your complaint, and how it will be satisfactorily resolved for you.

Is there anything else I need to know?

If you are not satisfied with our response you can:

  • Contact your state or territory Department of Health
  • Contact a Healthcare Complaints Commission in your state or territory to discuss your complaint.

Last reviewed: April 2016

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