Frequently asked questions


Who are health service providers?

A health service provider is a person who provides, or claims they are able to provide, a service to a person for the benefit of human health. This includes an administrative service directly related to a health service.

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Who is a consumer?

A consumer is the person who uses or receives a health service.

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Can I complain on behalf of someone else?

Yes. We can accept complaints from a representative of the consumer. These may include:

  • The parent or guardian of a child under 14 years
  • A person appointed by a child over 14 years
  • The donee of a power of attorney
  • A legally appointed guardian, executor or (in some circumstances) a close friend or relative

 Contact us if you need more information.

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Is there a time limit for making a complaint?

Yes. It is two years from the date of the incident or when you first became aware of the circumstances that led to the complaint. The Commissioner may accept a complaint outside this time limit. Contact us for more information.

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I need to find a doctor. Can you help? 

No, we do not refer people to GPs.

If you are having difficulty locating a doctor, you can:

  • Search in the Yellow Pages under suburb/region
  • Access online practice directories:
    • General Practice North
    • General Practice North West
    • General Practice South
  • Perform an internet search   

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Who owns my medical records? 

Your medical record belongs to the health professional, health service or medical centre where it was created. You are entitled to request access to your personal health information. Access can be provided in different ways:

  • looking at the record;
  • asking for a copy; or
  • having the information sent to a new hospital, doctor or health service.

A request to access your medical records is usually required in writing. You should keep a copy of your request. You will need to provide identification and pay a fee if you are requesting a copy of the records.

Access can be declined in some circumstances, such as where giving access would put you or another person at risk. If this happens, the health provider should give reasons for their refusal and let you know which records have not been given.

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Who owns my X-rays? 

X-rays performed outside your GPs practice are the property of the patient. If X-rays are taken at the practice, they usually belong to the provider you pay for the providers interpretation of the X-rays, not the X-rays themselves. However, you do have the right to examine your X-rays and have duplicates made at your expense.

Dental X-rays are kept by the provider. They form part of your medical records and are used for identification purposes.

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Can you provide legal advice? 

No, we cannot provide legal advice or advocacy services. However we can provide information about advocacy services that are available.

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Is the information I give you kept confidential? 

Yes. The Health Complaints Act 1995 contains confidentiality provisions that apply to complaints made to us. Personal information will be used in the management of the complaint, and may be disclosed to the provider or to a relevant registration board. Personal information will be managed in accordance with the Personal Information Protection Act 2004 and you may access it on request.

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What if I am not satisfied with the outcome of my complaint? 

You have the right to request an internal review. This will involve a senior staff member reviewing the file. If you are still dissatisfied, you can complain to the State Ombudsman.

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