Department of Health

Complaints about private health service establishments

Key messages

  • Every private health facility has a complaints officer.
  • The patient, or someone representing them, can make a complaint about a Victorian private health facility.
  • If the patient is not satisfied by the response from the facility, they can then turn to the Health Services Commissioner or the Private Hospitals Unit at the Department of Health & Human Services.

Raising concerns with the facility

Complaints about a:

  • private hospital
  • day procedure centre
  • mobile health service
  • bush nursing hospital
  • cosmetic provider

should be raised with the facility’s complaints officer first.

Every private health service establishment is required to have a complaints officer. The proprietor must take reasonable steps to make sure patients and staff know who the complaints officer is.

Making a complaint can be constructive because:

  • if a patient is not happy with their experience at a private health service establishment, this will alert the facility to a problem they might not know about
  • if something has gone wrong, the facility can use the complaint as an opportunity to make improvements
  • a complaint can not only result in a satisfactory explanation but also lead to improvements in the way the facility staff communicate with patients.

When the proprietor of a private health service establishment receives a complaint, they have to:

  • act on the complaint as quickly as possible
  • deal with the complaint as discreetly as possible in the circumstances
  • tell the patient what action will be taken
  • take reasonable steps to make sure the patient is not adversely affected because they made a complaint.

Dissatisfaction with the private health service establishment’s response

If a patient is not satisfied with the facility’s response to their complaint, they can then direct it to the:

  • Health Complaints Commissioner - an independent Victorian body that investigates complaints about health service providers
  • Private Hospitals Unit, which investigates complaints about the safety of patients and the quality of care in Victoria’s registered private health facilities.

Reviewed 05 October 2015

Health.vic

Contact details

Postal address: GPO Box 4541, Melbourne 3001

Private Hospitals Unit Department of Health

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