Categories: General
      Date: Jul 26, 2017
     Title: Important information about the new Health Complaints Commissioner
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The office of the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) has now replaced the office of the Health Services Commissioner. This is the culmination of many years work reviewing Victoria’s health complaints framework and developing new legislation, the Health Complaints Act 2016 (Vic), to meet the challenges presented by modern healthcare.

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While our core work of resolving complaints about health services and the handling of health information in Victoria remains the same, there are several important changes of which you should be aware.

The new legislation includes a much broader definition of a ‘health service’, partly describing it as an activity performed “to assess, predict, maintain or improve the person’s physical, mental or psychological health or status”. This means the HCC has jurisdiction over a wide range of non-registered providers we were previously unable to deal with.  In addition, anyone will be able to complain to us, not just consumers themselves.

The new legislation includes a Code of Conduct for non-registered practitioners or those practicing outside their area of registration. This provides a minimum standard that non-registered practitioners will be required to meet, as well as grounds for complaints or investigations.  Any interim or permanent prohibition orders issued with these investigations will be mutually recognised between Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia.  

The new Act envisages a much greater capacity to investigate matters where there is a risk to the health, safety or welfare of individuals or the public. The HCC will conduct follow up investigations into undertakings made by health services within the formal resolution process, the Minister will be able to refer matters for investigation and the Commissioner will be able to conduct own motion investigations, following advice from the President of the HCC Advisory Council.

The new legislation sets out complaints handling standards to which all health services must comply. The interim standards included in the Act will be replaced by a new set to be developed by the HCC, in consultation with health providers and consumers, over the next two years.


Additional Resources

Download a copy of the Code of Conduct: In brief (A4)

Download a copy of the Code of Conduct: Full text (A3)

Download 'Expect safe and ethical healthcare' poster (A3)

Request 'Making a complaint' brochure (DL)

Request 'My health records, my rights' brochure (DL)