What to expect from a health service

Health service principles

You should expect safe and ethical healthcare from every health service you use. This applies in all healthcare settings, including public and private hospitals, community health services and individual practitioners' rooms.

All Victorian health services must:

  • Be accessible
  • Be safe and of high quality
  • Provide their services with appropriate care and attention
  • Treat consumers and their carers with respect, dignity and consideration
  • Provide adequate and clear information about treatments, costs and other options
  • Apply an inclusive approach with consumers when making decisions about healthcare
  • Respect the privacy and confidentiality of personal information
  • Ensure comments or complaints about the service can be made easily and that any comments or complaints are addressed.

You can view the full set of health service principles in section 4 of the Health Complaints Act 2016.

Code of Conduct for general health services

There is also a Code of Conduct for general health service providers. This applies to the many health professionals who are not regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, such as counsellors, massage therapists, paramedics and alternative therapists. These are known as general, or non-registered, health services.

Under this code, general health services:


  1. Provide safe and ethical healthcare
  2. Obtain consent for treatment
  3. Take care to protect you from infection
  4. Minimise harm and act appropriately if something goes wrong.
  5. Report concerns about other practitioners
  6. Keep appropriate records and comply with privacy laws
  7. Be covered by insurance
  8. Display information about the Code of Conduct and making a complaint.

Must not

  • Mislead you about their products, services or qualifications
  • Put you at risk due to their own physical or mental health problems
  • Practice under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Make false claims about curing serious illnesses such as cancer
  • Exploit you financially
  • Have an inappropriate relationship with you
  • Discourage you from seeking other health care or refuse to cooperate with other practitioners if you do.

You can view the full Code of Conduct in schedule 2 of the Health Complaints Act 2016.

If you think your health service has breached these standards in any way please let them know so they can try to resolve the issue. If you cannot approach the provider or are not satisfied with their response, make a complaint to us.