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Health is an important issue in the community and NSW Health is committed to ensuring that it provides the best care possible to patients.
It is important for you and your family to say what you think about the health services you receive in New South Wales - especially if you were not satisfied with them.
There are four ways you can raise any questions or concerns about your treatment in hospital or community health service:
1. Let the hospital know about your concern in the first instance
Experience shows that complaints are best resolved locally. This helps people to maintain a good relationship with their health service provider. If you have a concern or a complaint we suggest that in the first instance you should discuss the problem with the health service provider – either in person or on the telephone. Tell the health service provider about your concerns and ask if they can help.
We understand that in some cases the issues to be discussed are upsetting or distressing but it is more effective if you can be calm and clear about your concerns and what you would like to happen to address them. You might like to keep a note of the time and date of your discussions, what was discussed, the outcomes of the conversation, and what, if any, agreement was reached.
2. Contact the hospital complaints officer
If you don't feel comfortable discussing your concern with the manager or those involved, you can contact the hospital's designated complaints officer. The complaints contact officer will:
- identify the main concerns you have about the care you received
- assist with any specific needs you may have whilst in hospital
- answer any questions you have about services, hospital policies and procedures
- ensure your complaint is treated confidentially
- keep you informed about the process and outcome of your complaint.
Complaints contact officers are available Monday to Friday, during business hours. For assistance outside of these hours, contact the Director of Nursing and Midwifery or senior nurse on duty.
To find a hospital or health service, go to Health Services on our website. If you are contacting by telephone, ask to speak with the designated complaints officer for the hospital.
3. Contact the Local Health District directly, preferably in writing
To complain about a community or non hospital-based service or if you are not satisfied with how a complaint has been managed, you can put your concern in writing to the Director of Clinical Governance of your Local Health District.
In your letter, set out clearly and accurately what happened, when it happened and what your concerns are. Tell the health service provider what you would like them to do about your concerns. Keep a copy of the letter for your records.
4. Lodge a complaint with the Health Care Complaints Commission
The Health Care Complaints Commission is independent of the public health system. It receives and assesses complaints about health care practitioners and health care services (generally referred to as health service providers). Anyone can lodge a complaint with the Commission.
The Commission will explain the process of making a complaint and provide assistance if you need it. Complaints must be in writing and may be made about the professional conduct of a health service provider that affects the care and treatment of an individual.
If you prefer a language other than English ring the Commission via their Telephone Interpreter Service on 131 450.
Private Health Care Complaints
If you have a concern about treatment that you or someone you know has received from health services other than the public health system, the following list of contacts will help you decide how to proceed.
For treatment in a private hospital find the relevant private hospital
NSW Health Services Directory
For healthcare in a Commonwealth-funded aged-care service
Aged Care Complaints Resolution Scheme
For treatment by a general practitioner (GP) in private practice
Medical Council of New South Wales
For treatment by other health professionals in private practice
These may include:
- Dentists, dental hygienists, dental prosthetists, oral health therapists and dental therapists
- Nurses and midwives, including enrolled nurses
NSW Health Professional Councils Authority