03 Jul 2020

Health Complaints Commissioner launches complaint handling standards to apply to all health service providers in Victoria  

Following a broad-based public consultation involving Victorian health service providers, consumers and other interested organisations and members of the public, complaint handling standards have been made.

The complaint handling standards will apply to all health service providers (including registered practitioners and general health service practitioners) in Victoria, replacing the interim standards in Schedule 1 of the Health Complaints Act 2016.

Health Complaints Commissioner Ms Karen Cusack said, “The standards were developed with input from the healthcare sector and the public and cover the key aspects of complaint handling. The standards ensure complaints are being used to improve quality and safety in our healthcare system. They also provide a common benchmark that all health service providers will meet, offering consistency for consumers, complainants, health service providers and other stakeholders.”

“Handling complaints well means people have a voice and feel heard. It can improve service quality through user feedback and stop minor issues becoming major problems. It can even help restore relationships between complainants and health service providers if there has been a breakdown.” Ms Cusack said.

“The standards reinforce the importance of consumer feedback and person-centred care and will strengthen and improve complaint handling across the Victorian healthcare sector.”

Each of the standards include guiding principles for implementation that aim to provide direction for the design of effective complaint handling processes in all health service providers.

Health service providers should develop their own performance indicators to measure success. Some standards have performance indicators in them, for example within three working days, and others do not and will need to be developed by the health service provider.

Ms Cusack said, “Further consultation will take place over the coming months to assist with the implementation of the standards. We will also be rolling out a training course to help Victorian health service providers to better understand and implement the complaint handling standards.”

Details of consultation and training will be updated on our website as they become available.

View the Complaint handling standards.