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Wednesday 26 April 2017
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Who To Complain To
The Australian health system is generally one of the best in the word. However, things do go wrong from time to time and in those instances, finding out who to complain to can be difficult.

This page provides some general advice about how (and who) to complain to about health matters that may help you:

 

The First Step: Take It Up With Your Health Provider Directly
Most people who work in the health system have the best interests of their patients at heart and sincerely try to do their best at all times. But being human, they may occasionally fail to do this. However it's very rare that they'd ever do so deliberately or maliciously.

So if you feel you have something to complain about, complain to your health provider first.

They'll generally be keen to hear your complaint and will also usually be happy to work with you to fix the problem as quickly as possible.

Quite apart from often being the quickest and simplest way to solve a complaint, it's important that you do this because many complaint mechanisms at higher levels require you to have at least attempted to resolve a complaint directly with your health provider before you approach them.

 

Local Government Health Matters
Not all health complaints have to do with the public health system or are even their responsibility. Local governments (ie councils) are responsible for a small number of health matters that have the potential to affect public health.

These include:
  • ensuring that food establishments and vendors serve foodstuffs in a healthy way
  • ensuring that water and sewerage services operate properly and safely
  • ensuring that noise levels in residential areas are kept at tolerable levels (there are several exceptions to this)
  • carrying out immunisations; and
  • ensuring that activities which could pollute the environment are operated safely.

So if you have a complaint that concerns any of these areas, you should contact your local council and/or a local councillor:

 

Queensland Health Matters
While most professional health practitioners are expected to operate under the control of their relevant professional association (eg: Dental Technicians Board, Occupational Therapists Board etc), in practice any health practitioner paid or funded by Queensland Health is effectively under the State Government's control.

Queensland Health services in the South Burnett are run by the Darling Downs West Moreton Health Service District (DDWMHSD) which is headquartered in Ipswich.

So if you have a complaint that concerns a medical service that you received from a hospital or a medical practitioner working in a hospital (eg: a doctor, nurse, radiologist, pathologist etc) you should direct your complaint to the DDWMHSD by phoning them on (07) 3810-1111.

In other cases (ie where the complaint does not concern a service rendered in a hospital) you may need to seek out the health provider's relevant professional association.

 

Difficult Matters
If you still find it difficult to find out exactly who to complain to (eg: you received a medical service that was not obviously provided by Queensland Health or you're unhappy with Queensland Health's response), you can also bring the matter to the attention of the Queensland Health Quality & Complaints Commission (HQCC).

The HQCC was established in the 1980s to act as an independent ombudsman in resolving health complaints. Since that time they've done quite a lot to raise standards in the State's health systems and they can be useful in difficult situations.

The HQCC will either take up your complaint directly or provide assistance in helping you locate the right organisation to lodge your complaint with.

 

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