Key messages

  • Every private health facility has a complaints officer.
  • The patient, or someone representing them, can make a complaint about a Victorian private health facility.
  • If the patient is not satisfied by the response from the facility, they can then turn to the Health Services Commissioner or the Private Hospitals Unit at the Department of Health & Human Services.

Raising concerns with the facility

Complaints about a:

  • private hospital
  • day procedure centre
  • mobile health service
  • bush nursing hospital
  • cosmetic provider

should be raised with the facility’s complaints officer first.

Every private health service establishment is required to have a complaints officer. The proprietor must take reasonable steps to make sure patients and staff know who the complaints officer is.

Making a complaint can be constructive because:

  • if a patient is not happy with their experience at a private health service establishment, this will alert the facility to a problem they might not know about
  • if something has gone wrong, the facility can use the complaint as an opportunity to make improvements
  • a complaint can not only result in a satisfactory explanation but also lead to improvements in the way the facility staff communicate with patients.

When the proprietor of a private health service establishment receives a complaint, they have to:

  • act on the complaint as quickly as possible
  • deal with the complaint as discreetly as possible in the circumstances
  • tell the patient what action will be taken
  • take reasonable steps to make sure the patient is not adversely affected because they made a complaint.

Dissatisfaction with the private health service establishment’s response

If a patient is not satisfied with the facility’s response to their complaint, they can then direct it to the:

  • Health Complaints Commissioner - an independent Victorian body that investigates complaints about health service providers
  • Private Hospitals Unit, which investigates complaints about the safety of patients and the quality of care in Victoria’s registered private health facilities.

Contact details