23 September 2022

The Health Care Complaints Commission can now order unsafe health practices to immediately cease operating under significant changes aimed at better protecting patients.

Health Minister Brad Hazzard said that changes to the Public Health Regulation means a prohibition order can be issued for a breach of a new code of conduct that applies to health practices offering services such as massage therapy, naturopathy, osteopathy, chiropractic and other alternative health care.

“These changes enable the HCCC to use their powers to prohibit health organisations from operating where they pose a risk to the health or safety of the public,” Mr Hazzard said.

“This is an important, additional step that enables the HCCC to take firm action to protect the community from health organisations which flout the rules and do not provide services in a safe and ethical way.”

It does not include public health organisations, aged care services, and licenced private health facilities, as they are already governed by other legislation that ensures quality assurance, and as such the HCCC is not responsible for taking action against these entities.

This new code of conduct builds on the existing code of conduct for non-registered health practitioners and requires that health organisations:

  • provide health services in a safe and ethical way
  • have precautions for infection control
  • ensure their employees conduct themselves appropriately in relation to treatment advice, including not dissuading a patient to see another health service
  • do not financially exploit clients
  • do not misinform patients
  • keep client health information confidential
  • safely secure and supply medicines
  • display the code of conduct on their premises.

For more information about the new code of conduct, please visit Public health legislation.