Frequently asked questions about the Health Care Complaints Commission

Published by Marshall & Gibson Lawyers on the 12 January 2017

When you receive care from a medical professional, you're entrusting your wellbeing into their hands. You'd assume that doing so will make you better, not worse, but unfortunately this isn't always the case. Whether it was a doctor, dentist, nurse, surgeon, physiotherapist or a healthcare organisation as a whole, sometimes you may be the victim or damage or injuries as a result of a practitioner's negligence. If this has happened to you, you have the option to complain to the Health Care Complaints commission to get an explanation or apology, incite disciplinary action or prevent it from happening to someone else.

Here are some of the common questions we get asked about the commission and the complaints process:

What can the Health Care Complaints Commission do?

The Health Care Complaints Commission does not deal with medical negligence claims to compensate for any costs or suffering you have experienced. Rather, it is in charge of matters relating to the health practitioners themselves. They can suspend or cancel licenses, make recommendations for improvements, issue warnings, make public statements and enforce industry standards to ensure that the safety and quality of health services remains at the highest possible level.

Who is able to make a complaint?

While the affected patients themselves are often the ones making a complaint, numerous other people are free to lodge one with the Commission if they desire to do so. You could be a friend or relative of the patient, a parent or guardian, a representative that the patient has appointed, or any other person who is concerned about the conduct of the health professional or organisation.

How can I lodge a complaint?

You must make your complaint in writing to the Commission either through a letter or email, or by filling out a complaints form online. The complaint must contain the details of what has happened, when and who was involved, any actions that have already taken, and what you would like to see happen. From there, the Commission will assess your complaint and investigate further where necessary, and resolve the issue or prosecute as it sees fit. Your lawyer can help you with this process.

Where can I go for help?

If you're looking to make a complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission and lodge a medical negligence claim to get compensation, it's a good idea to have an experienced solicitor on your side to assist you with the process. Talk to the team here at Marshall and Gibson Lawyers to find out more about how we can help. Strict time limits apply for bringing claims.