Our services

What we do

We provide an independent complaint-handling service for members of the public and registered health practitioners in relation to Australia’s national health practitioner regulation scheme.

We can investigate the administrative actions of AHPRA and the 14 National Health Practitioner Boards. This office also deals with complaints about breaches of privacy by AHPRA, and complaints about a decision made by AHPRA in relation to freedom of information requests.

An investigation may occur as a result of receiving a complaint, or as a result of the National Health Practitioner Ombudsman and Privacy Commissioner deciding to investigate the action on her own motion.

Our investigations seek to determine whether the action that is the subject of the investigation was lawful and reasonable, whether due process has been followed and whether all relevant considerations have been taken into account.

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 the relevant body 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 re-considered.

 

What we don’t do

Our jurisdiction is focused on the administrative actions of AHPRA and the 14 National Health Practitioner Boards in respect of their regulation of Australian health practitioners.

In general, we cannot:

  • force AHPRA or a National Health Practitioner Board to review or change a decision it has made (although we can recommend that it reconsider its decision or take some other course of action)
  • provide legal advice or act as an advocate for you
  • recommend or order that compensation be paid to you (except if your complaint is about an interference with your privacy, in which case a declaration may be made that you are entitled to compensation for any loss or damage suffered)
  • force AHPRA or a National Health Practitioner Board to release a document determined to be exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (Cwlth)
  • recommend that AHPRA or a National Health Practitioner Board take action that is not legally available to it.

We generally do not deal with complaints relating to the handling of notifications (or complaints) against health practitioners located in New South Wales or Queensland, as notifications in these states are typically handled with by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commissioner and the Queensland Office of the Health Ombudsman.

 

What you can expect from us

When you contact us, you can expect to be treated in a courteous and respectful way.

You can expect that we will:

  • give careful attention to your concerns in order to ensure that we understand your complaint
  • communicate in a clear way about how we can assist you and what we require from you in order to proceed with your complaint
  • provide you with the name of a contact person at the office and keep you regularly informed about the progress of your complaint
  • promptly assess all the information provided by you, the entity you complained about, and any other relevant third parties, in a fair and impartial way
  • effectively explain to you what we can and cannot do about your complaint and provide reasons for our decisions
  • refer you to the most appropriate alternative complaint-handling body if we are unable to assist you with your complaint.

 

What we expect from you

When dealing with us, we expect that you will be courteous at all times. Our ability to provide you with a high level of service depends on mutual respect.

There are a number of ways to make it easier and quicker for us to assist you, including that you:

  • raise your concerns directly with the body that you are dissatisfied with before lodging a complaint with this office
  • provide us with accurate information and respond to our requests for information in a timely way
  • tell us if you have special requirements, such as requiring assistance from an interpreter
  • inform us as soon as possible if you need to correct or update any information you have provided us, including if you wish to withdraw your complaint
  • be polite and willing to listen.