How councils assess your complaint
The first thing a council does is to assess your complaint to decide if they need to do something urgently to keep the public safe. Councils can act quickly to restrict a practitioner’s registration or suspend them while a matter is being dealt with. Read more about what happens when a council takes Immediate Action.
Councils work with the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) to manage complaints. Councils and the HCCC share information and decide together what they should do in response to your complaint. You can find out more about the work of the HCCC.
Complaints that are referred to councils are managed through our heath, performance or conduct pathway, depending on the issue. Each of these processes is slightly different and you can read more about the councils' pathways below.
When a council assesses a complaint, they consider:
- what happened
- practitioner’s response to the complaint, and any other relevant information (including information from other parties and previous complaints)
- the seriousness of the incident
- the practitioner’s ability to reflect on what happened and show that they understand expected standards
- what the practitioner has done to ensure that a similar incident does not recur
- the impact of the practitioner’s health on their practice
You can read more about how councils handle complaints about a health practitioner’s professional conduct here. This includes how councils work with the HCCC, how the disciplinary process works and what can happen as a result.
The Health Program is for health practitioners and students whose health is impaired and could place the public at risk. It is designed to protect the public while keeping impaired practitioners in safe practice, when this is possible. The Health Program is constructive and non-disciplinary. Read more.
The Performance Program applies when a Council has concerns about the standard of a health practitioner’s professional performance. This supportive program is focused on education and retraining, while making sure the public is safe. Read more.
It is an offence to pretend to be – or to hold yourself out as – a registered health practitioner when you are not. Ahpra deals with statutory offences. Read more.