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A study of people who have lodged a complaint with the Health Services Commissioner
The Commissioner has recently sent letters inviting people to participate in a public consultation process about a review of legislation associated with the Commissioner’s role. The research study is not directly related to the public consultation process but is occurring at a similar time to make sure that people who have lodged a complaint, and had it closed, have opportunities to contribute their views about how to improve the complaints process.The research will be undertaken during October 2012 and a research report will be published on the website during the first part of 2013.
Understanding more about the consumer experience of the Victorian Health Services Commissioner complaints system can help improve how complaints are handled and how health service organisations and health practitioners can learn from the complaints that consumers lodge.The survey questions are designed to give you an opportunity to express your views about how your complaint was handled and whether there is anything that the Health Services Commissioner can do to improve the complaints process. Questions cover areas such as whether you think the process was impartial, if it was easy for you to make contact, and if you were kept informed of what was happening with your case. There are no questions about your health information.
All the information that participants provide is confidential and privacy is protected. The Social Research Centre has been contracted to conduct the survey and data provided back to the Health Services Commissioner for analysis will be completely non-identifiable, which means that no individual can be identified. There is more information about the approach to safeguarding participants’ confidentiality and privacy in the section below titled: Information about research participants’ confidentiality and privacy.If you have any queries or would like to check the bona fide of the research company, you can contact the principal researcher for this study, Dr Clare Carberry at the Commissionerís office on the following phone number 1800 451 776
Informed consentIf you agree to be interviewed by us, we will ask you to give us what we call ‘informed consent’ – this means that you are providing us, the Social Research Centre, with permission to speak to you and ask you questions about your experience of the Commissioner’s complaints process.
Once consent for the interview is provided:There are a few other things I need to tell you at this stage.
It is really important for us to fully understand your experiences of complaining to the Commissioner so we want to make sure we have enough time – the survey may take up to 45 minutes so it is probably better for you if we make an appointment for us to call back.
Please remember that everything you tell us is confidential and you will not be identified. As I mentioned earlier, you don’t have to take part if you don’t want to, and you are free to end the survey at any point.
What steps do we take to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the data you provide?Your privacy is important to us and we take it seriously. There are a number of steps we take to make sure that the information you provide when you answer questions in the study remains private.
If you have a complaint about the conduct of the study you may contact the Secretary of the Human Research Ethics Committee:
What happens to the data and how is it used?The information collected from those who participate in the study is used to inform future change or for research purposes. For example, the data will be used to help the Health Services Commissioner improve the operation of the health complaints service provided to the Victorian public. The Commissioner will also be able to provide the final report from the study to the Expert Review Panel undertaking the review of the Health Services (Conciliation and Review) Act 1987 that is currently underway.
The survey involves asking people who have made a complaint to the Health Services Commissioner during the last three years about their experience of the complaints process and what suggestions they have for improvement. Anyone participating in the survey is not asked questions seeking health information.The main findings from the study will be made available at: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/ All the results are reported at a summary level only (for example, by age group or by rural/metropolitan residency). No individuals are identified and no individual’s responses are reported.
The Health Services Commissioner is the data custodian for the data from the study. It is the duty of the custodian to ensure that the data are used responsibly and respectfully, and that privacy is safeguarded.Other government departments, statutory agencies and researchers may request access to the data as an extension of this study or in the same general area of research. Such access to the data is not automatic. It is granted on a case-by-case basis.
Further informationPrincipal researcher
Health Services Commissioner Complainants Study
Health Services Commissioner
30th Floor, 570 Bourke Street
Melbourne 3000 VIC
Phone: 1800 451 776
Last updated: 9 October, 2012
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