The Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) is calling for public submissions as part of an Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) practices in Victoria.
Commissioner Karen Cusack has released a discussion paper inviting submissions from:
- Consumers of ART and other fertility treatment services (including submissions from family/friends).
- Providers of ART and other fertility treatment services (including current or former staff).
- Other interested stakeholders.
Ms Cusack said the discussion paper provided information about the Inquiry and included a series of questions. Responses to the questions would form submissions to the Inquiry.
“To carry out this Inquiry, it’s vital that I have as much information as possible relating to ART and other fertility treatment services,” Ms Cusack said.
“It’s important that we gather information from both people who have utilised these services as well as providers themselves, and any other interested stakeholders.
“I urge members of the public to make a submission via our website. I want to hear from people of all backgrounds, including those residing in rural and regional Victoria, and people from diverse communities, including people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, people living with physical or intellectual disabilities, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and members of the LGBTQI+ community.”
She said submissions to the Inquiry could be anonymous.
“I understand that it may be distressing for people who have used ART or other fertility treatment services to discuss their experiences, however I can assure anyone who contacts my office that they will be treated with sensitivity and confidentiality. We will ensure absolute anonymity of any person’s identity if they express their desire to remain confidential."
Ms Cusack said that if, as part of the Inquiry, individual cases were identified that the HCC believed should be investigated, then a separate investigation may be conducted and, where appropriate, action could be taken against individual providers. She said the HCC would work with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) on any consumer law matters arising out of the Inquiry, such as matters of false, misleading and deceptive conduct, which fall under CAV’s jurisdiction.
Ms Cusack said the HCC would deliver a final report to the Victorian Government following the conclusion of the Inquiry, which the Minister for Health referred to the HCC in March under section 103 of the Health Complaints Act 2016.
The report may include recommendations to the Minister, she said.
Anyone seeking more information about the Inquiry, or about making a submission, is invited to contact the HCC on 1300 582 113.
A full copy of the discussion paper Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment Practices - Discussion Paper can be found at www.hcc.vic.gov.au.