Our complaint-handling process

When we receive a complaint, the first step we take is to comprehensively assess the information we have received from you. We may decide to seek further information from you or from AHPRA to enhance our understanding of the complaint issues.

Following assessment, we generally have three options available to us.

We can:

  • proceed to investigate the complaint
  • transfer the complaint directly to AHPRA for management (a ‘warm transfer’)
  • decide not to investigate the complaint.

If a complaint proceeds to an investigation, we seek to determine whether the relevant administrative action was reasonable, whether applicable policies and procedures have been followed, and whether all relevant considerations have been taken into account.

The NHPOPC may decide to conduct an investigation into a matter on her own motion (that is, without receiving a complaint).

At the conclusion of an investigation, we may:

  • determine that the actions were reasonable in all of the circumstances and take no further action
  • provide (or recommend that AHPRA provide) a better explanation of the decision or process to you
  • expedite delayed action
  • recommend that an apology be offered to you
  • recommend that processes or policies be reviewed or changed, and/or
  • recommend that a decision be reconsidered.

Irrespective of the outcome, we openly explain the reasons for our decision so you can understand our approach and the result. We welcome further discussion if you are dissatisfied with our decision, and you can request an internal review if you believe we have incorrectly assessed your complaint in the first instance.

The complaint-handling process of the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner

Timeliness benchmarks

We aim to:

  • Acknowledge receipt of your complaint within three working days
  • Decide whether your complaint is in the jurisdiction of the office within 14 working days
  • Finalise your complaint within three months
  • Deal with more complex cases within nine months

While your matter is open with this office, we aim to:

  • Provide you with a progress update every six weeks, unless there are circumstances when it is not practical or appropriate to do so
  • Return any telephone calls from you within three working days
  • Respond to written communication from you within 14 working days

We regularly monitor our performance against our service standards, and carefully consider feedback in order to identify areas where we can improve our services.

For more information about our standards of service you can download a full copy of our service charter here: