Making a complaint as a patient
Complaints from patients will be referred to the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)
If you make a complaint directly to the Medical Council, we are required by law to refer your complaint directly to the HDC. If the HDC starts a formal investigation, they will advise us and we will determine whether to begin our own process alongside theirs.
Do you want to make a complaint about treatment you have received from a doctor? If you are a patient, or a family member or support person to a patient, you have a number of options.
Think about contacting the doctor or practice/hospital
If you want to make a complaint about the treatment you have received from a doctor your first option might be discussing the matter directly with your doctor or the relevant practice or hospital. If you feel this is not appropriate, or doing so does not resolve the issue, you may wish to consider contacting the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service (the Advocacy Service) for advice.
Complaints to the Nationwide Health and Disability Advocacy Service
The Advocacy Service is free of charge and independent from all health and disability service providers and government agencies. They will put you in touch with a local patient advocate who will help you understand your rights and advise you on the best way to make a complaint. You can contact the Advocacy Service via their website or by calling 0800 555 050.
Complaints to the Health and Disability Commissioner
You can make a complaint directly to the HDC. The HDC's role is to promote and protect your rights as set out in the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights (The Code).
The HDC tries to resolve complaints fairly and quickly. If they decide the Code has been breached,the HDC may require the practitioner to make changes to the way they practise., for example making improvements to their informed consent material and procedures. The HDC may also refer the matter to us.
In some circumstances, the HDC may refer the matter to the Director of Proceedings. If this happens, the doctor may have to answer charges in front of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal. For more information about this please contact the HDC directly.
You can contact the HDC via their website or by calling 0800 112 233.
Complaints to the Medical Council
If you make a complaint directly to the Medical Council, we are required by law to refer your complaint directly to the HDC.
If the HDC starts a formal investigation, they will advise us and we will determine whether to begin our own process alongside theirs. However, if an HDC investigation concerns a doctor’s professional conduct, we are unable to investigate this at the same time.
Please note the HDC and the Medical Council cannot:
- award compensation
- review Accident Compensation Corporation decisions
- assist with access to health services or funding