The Health Complaints Commissioner (the Commissioner) has extended the deadline for public submissions to her Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) practices in Victoria.
Commissioner Karen Cusack said the HCC would accept submissions until Friday 20 September 2019.
Ms Cusack said the extended deadline will allow for the Inquiry to hold a series of consultation sessions in September for fertility treatment providers, consumers and other interested parties.
She said the consultation sessions would provide an opportunity for stakeholders to hear more about the Inquiry and to share their experiences, thoughts and ideas about the provision of ART services (anonymously if they choose).
“The information from these sessions will form part of the more than 80 submissions received to date and will inform any recommendations I may make to the State Government on ART practices in Victoria,” Ms Cusack said.
“From the submissions we’ve already received we know that there are many people, both consumers and providers of these services, who have valuable insight to offer the Inquiry.
“We want to make it as convenient as possible for stakeholders to share their views. We are asking people to register their interest in attending a consultation session via our website at hcc.vic.gov.au/ARTconsultation.
“According to the response, we’ll coordinate a series of consultation sessions throughout Victoria, providing another avenue for stakeholders to speak with us and find out more about the Inquiry. Session dates and locations will be advertised on our website in early September.”
Ms Cusack said the HCC had received a steady stream of submissions since the Inquiry commenced on 25 June 2019.
“Submissions can be anonymous and can include as much information as the person is comfortable with providing,” she said.
“We have submission forms available on our website at hcc.vic.gov.au, which ask a series of questions and provide space at the end for additional comments.”
She said submissions could also be made by calling the HCC on 1300 582 113, or by attending one of the consultation sessions.
“To carry out the Inquiry, it is vital that I have as much information as possible relating to ART and other fertility treatment services.
“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 LGBTIQ+ community.
“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.”
More information about the HCC’s Inquiry into ART practices can be found here.