Consumer involvement, complaints and advocacy
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The Victorian Health Complaints Commissioner is an independent organisation that aims to provide impartial complaints resolution about healthcare and the handling of health information in Victoria. The Commissioner can also investigate matters and review complaints data to help health service providers improve the quality of their service.
In relation to what people can expect from a health service, the Health Complaints Commissioner website notes the following 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.”
Established in 1983, the non-profit Health Issues Centre (HIC) supports and informs consumers and the health sector to partner for health care improvements, through:
- Providing training and support to health services and health-related organisations to advance consumer participation and patient centred care
- Supporting consumers on departmental and health service committees
- Training and mentoring consumers and carers to participate in health
- Influencing government policy through submissions and seats on key committees, ensuring the consumer perspective or experience informs improvements to the health care system undertake health policy-related research and consultancies
- Maintaining a knowledge bank and resource library on consumer perspectives and participation
HIC encourages consumers to use their unique knowledge and experience to participate in their own health care as well as contributing to a better health system with improved outcomes and experiences for everyone. HIC also supports and informs health services to involve and learn from their consumers and contributes to policy and debate to encourage a more equitable and partnership-based health system.
The role of the office of the Victorian Ombudsman is to investigate and resolve complaints concerning administrative actions taken in Victorian Government departments, public statutory authorities and by officers of municipal councils.
For listing of aged care sector advocacy organisations and complaints bodies, including the Aged Care Complaints Commissioner, Elder Rights Advocacy and Seniors Rights Victoria, see the resources section of this website on aged care and palliative care.
The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman considers, investigates and aims to resolve complaints from people who believe they have been treated unfairly or unreasonably by an Australian Government department or agency, including Australia Post, Centrelink, Child Support Agency, and Department of Immigration and Citizenship.