In April last year, the Victorian Parliament passed the Health Complaints Act 2016 which replaces the current health complaints legislation. The new legislation creates a new office called the Health Complaints Commissioner (HCC) which will begin operating from 1 February 2017.
Under the changes, anyone will be able to make a complaint to the HCC about a health service with the definition of health service is broader, in an attempt to address the rapidly changing and expanding provision of health in Victoria.
The Health Complaints Commissioner will have greater powers to investigate complaints about unsafe, unethical or impaired non-registered practitioners including the ability to initiate their own investigations.
The new HCC will also be able to make public warning statements and prohibit practise where there is a serious risk to the life, health or welfare of an individual or the public. This comes about to address concerns around non-registered healthcare providers with the introduction of a national Code of Conduct for the delivery of safe and ethical healthcare. It’s also important to know that Victoria will recognise prohibition orders in force in other states and territories.
A set of complaint handling standards for all health services will be developed within the next two years and a practice protocol outlining the standard of service the public can expect from the HCC will be developed within the same timeframe.
Get more information about the changes and follow the latest developments at: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/