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The latest news, information and resources at your fingertips.

A Notice to Health Service Providers regarding the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners

The Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner has been approached by a number of service providers requesting information about the Code of Conduct for unregistered health practitioners and whether it applies to the services they provide.
In responding to such queries, service provider’s attention is drawn to the definition of the Health and Community Services Complaints Act (2004). That definition says in part that:
health service means –
  • a service designed to benefit or promote human health; or
  • a service provided in association with the use of premises for the care, treatment or accommodation of persons who are aged or who have a physical disability or mental dysfunction; or
  • a diagnostic or screening service; or
  • an ambulance service; or
  • a service to treat or prevent illness, injury, disease or disability; or
  • a service provided by a health professional; or
  • a service involving the provision of information relating to the promotion or provision of health care or health education; or
  • a social, welfare, recreational or leisure service if provided as part of a health service; or
  • an administration service directly related to a health service.
Whilst the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner is not authorised to provide legal binding advice, the Commissioner suggests that any provider who is supplying services that are consistent with the definition, and where a reasonable person, could reasonably claim that they are seeking and receiving health services, then the Code applies to that practice.
In the Commissioner’s view services such as those provided by counsellors, massage therapists, homeopaths, iridologists, naturopaths, reflexologists and Reiki healers are just a small number of examples of unregistered health service providers.
Posted 14 March 2013

Report on HCSCC’s role in contributing to improving the safety and quality of disability services provided to vulnerable people

To read a copy of the report – click here
Posted 8 March 2013

Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners

From 14 March 2013 health practitioners who are not within the ambit of the Australian Health Practitioners’ Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will have to comply with a Code of Conduct and display certain information where they practise.
The Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners establishes:
  1. A range of minimum standards for unregistered health practitioners
  2. Additional powers to HCSCC if an unregistered health practitioner is found to have breached the Code.
To download a copy of the plain English version of the Code of Conduct – click here
To download a copy of the SA Government Gazette – click here
Further information about the Code of Conduct is available on the SA Health website – click here
Posted 8 March 2013

HCSCC priority project

Towards Safety and Quality in Disability Services

HCSCC launched the context paper: Towards Safety and Quality in Disability Services: Confronting the “corruption of care” on Friday, 30 November 2012.
To read the report – click here.

HCSCC’s position on various matters of public interest

Home birth

HCSCC recognises the rights of women to choose arrangements for the births of their children, including the right to home birth when it is safe to do so.
Women planning home births should ensure they have qualified clinicians advising them. SA Government guidelines state that home births within the public system are attended by at least two health practitioners, usually including a registered midwife.
All births carry risks and when women choose a home birth, their birth plan should include transferring to a health facility to access obstetric and other hospital services if complications arise.
HCSCC also recognises the role of support workers including doulas who offer non-clinical support and information to women during pregnancy, childbirth and after birth.

Colloidal silver

HCSCC has received information that colloidal silver is being suggested by unregistered health service providers as a complimentary medicine. Colloidal silver is a liquid suspension of microscopic silver particles.
Colloidal silver is an unsubstantiated treatment and there is little evidence to support therapeutic claims that drinking colloidal silver can benefit human health. In fact, there is a risk of silver toxicity to any person who ingests colloidal silver. The Therapeutic Goods Administration has not approved any colloidal silver products for use as a therapeutic good in Australia.
HCSCC recommends that:
  • Colloidal silver should not be recommended by health service providers
  • Colloidal silver should not be consumed as a complimentary medicine

HCSCC’s comments on the draft SA Health restraint & seclusion policy (Mental Health)

To read HCSCC’s comments on the draft – click here.

HCSCC’s Section 55 Report

HCSCC’s Section 55 Report into home birthing services provided by Ms Lisa Barrett is available in PDF format – click here.

HCSCC’s 7th Annual Report

HCSCC’s seventh Annual Report 2011-12 was provided to the Minister for Health and Ageing, the Hon John Hill, on the 10 September 2012. The Minister tabled the report in the SA Parliament on 18 October 2012.
The 2011-12 HCSCC Annual Report is now available in PDF format – click here.
If you would like a copy in an alternative format, please phone 8226 8652 or email info
We welcome your feedback.

HCSCC website redevelopment

We are currently redeveloping the HCSCC website to:
  • improve your access
  • provide helpful information to service users, carers, advocates and service providers
  • simplify navigation – so information is quick and easy to find
  • have the capacity to add new functions – such as new ways to communicate.
HCSCC is anticipating that our new website will be ready to launch sometime in the next couple of months – so watch this space!
In the meantime, if you have comments or suggestions that you think may help us in the development of the new website, please send us email at info.

HCSCC Charter in an Easy Read format

To help meet the diverse literacy needs of people living in South Australia, HCSCC has developed two Easy Read versions of the HCSCC Charter – Know Your Rights brochure. One of the booklets is for general use, while the other has been designed to be culturally sensitive towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) people.
In general, easy read documents:
  • present information in a way that is easy to understand
  • use simple language, contain images to support the text, use larger font sizes and include plenty of white space
  • are most commonly used with people who have a disability
  • are becoming more widely used with people who have low literacy, are elderly or where English is a second language.
HCSCC would like to thank everyone who contributed towards the review of the draft documents. Your feedback and suggestions for improvement were very valuable and has enabled us to develop two very practical resources – aimed at helping more people to know their rights, when using most health or community services in South Australia.
These new resources are now available to download:
Please be advised that at this point in time, these resources are not available to order in a printed format.

Translations of the HCSCC Charter – Know Your Rights brochure

With the support of SA Health, HCSCC is very pleased to announce that the HCSCC Charter – Know Your Rights brochure is now available to download in the following 11 languages (PDF format only):
 

More HCSCC resources now available to order

In response to demand for some of HCSCC’s specialist resource, the following brochures are now available to order in a printed format:
  • Know Your Rights -a guide to the HCSCC Charter of Health and Community Services Rights in South AustraliaPDF
  • Disability service complaintsPDF
  • Making complaints about health or community services as a carerPDF
To request bulk quantities of brochures please complete the product order form and send it to hcscc. We will do our best to meet your order, but please be aware that stocks are limited.

Progress with the new law – complaints involving registered health professionals & student health professionals – update

On 1 July 2010 the law about HCSCC consultation with health professional registration boards changed, except for occupational therapists.
New arrangements for consultation and referral of a complaint about an individual registered health professional, or a student undertaking studies to become a registered health professional, were developed.
HCSCC and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), on behalf of 10 national health professional registration boards, are jointly responsible for complaints about individual nationally registered health practitioners.  A Memorandum of Understanding sets out how HCSCC and AHPRA work together click here to view
In May 2011 the South Australian Parliament changed the Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004, expanding what HCSCC must include in the annual report from 1 July 2011.
Among the expanded reporting obligations, HCSCC is required to report the outcome of any action taken by AHPRA, about any complaint HCSCC refers to AHPRA concerning a registered health practitioner (section 16(1a)).
HCSCC’s 2010-11 annual report included a summary outlining how HCSCC and AHPRA dealt with complaints about nationally registered health professionals in the first year of the new scheme in South Australia, based on manual spreadsheet record keeping:
HCSCC – AHPRA summary report 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011PDFRTF
AHPRA’s 2010-11 annual report also included information about the AHPRA SA state office (page 30) and notifications and complaints about registered health practitioners (pages 53-70)
More information about the AHPRA complaints process is available at http://www.ahpra.gov.au/About-AHPRA/Complaints.aspx
If you have any questions concerning complaints about registered health practitioners please contact:
HCSCC Enquiry Service Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm
P 08 8226 8666 Toll free from a landline in country SA 1800 232 007 F 08 8226 8620
E info
AHPRA P 1300 419 495 or email direct from http://www.ahpra.gov.au/ 

Unregistered practitioners

Update
Please note that the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners is now in an advanced stage of development, and HCSCC is currently assisting in drafting the associated regulations. It is anticipated that at the latest, the new Code will come into effect as of March 2013.
Unregistered practitioners – what to expect and what to do if you have concerns about an unregistered practitioner
Health and community services in South Australia – public, private and non government – are provided by a wide range of different practitioners, registered and unregistered.
Most health and community service practitioners provide safe, good quality services ethically. They also understand their legal obligation to respond to complaints.
Complaints to HCSCC about unregistered practitioners have highlighted a lack of public information to help people decide if a service being offered by an unregistered practitioner is likely to be safe or good quality.
An HCSCC Information Sheet Unregistered practitioners – what to expect and what to do if you have concerns about an unregistered practitioner aims to help people know what to expect if they choose an unregistered practitioner. It also provides information to help people make a complaint if they are not satisfied with the service provided by an unregistered practitioner.
In March 2011 the SA Parliament made changes to the Health and Community Services Complaints Act 2004 to strengthen HCSCC’s powers to better protect the public against substandard unregistered health practitioners.  SA Health completed public consultation about the draft Code of Conduct for unregistered health practitioners, based on the NSW Code, in December 2011. The Code and changes to HCSCC powers will come into effect in 2012, after the appointment of the next Commissioner.
The Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) public consultation about options for the national regulation of unregistered health practitioners closed on 15 April 2011. HCSCC understands that AHMAC considered a report of the national consultation on 30 September 2011. HCSCC also understands that the Australian Health Ministers’ Council (AHMC) considered the report of the national consultation and recommendations in late 2011, and that a public document likely to be released in early  2012.  Further information about national regulation of unregistered health practitioners is available here.

Advance Care Planning

Advance care planning lets people know what is important to you, even if you become too sick to speak for yourself. HCSCC has developed a booklet about advance care planning to help people:
  • think about what it means
  • talk to their family and the other people most likely to be involved in making decisions for them if they become very ill
  • talk with their doctor about their wishes for future medical treatment.
Knowing about your rights can help you and your family to think about and plan for your future medical care, and to get help if your decisions are not respected.
The aim of advance care planning is to keep your “voice” heard so that people know what is important to you, even when you are too sick to speak for yourself.
HCSCC Advance Care Planning bookletPDFRTF
To request bulk quantities of the booklet please complete the product order form and send it to hcscc.
If you would like to learn more about advance care planning, please use the links the below:
 

HCSCC Media Releases

Helping older South Australians to speak up 22 February 2012PDFRTF
Respecting my choices about future medical care 22 December 2011PDFRTF
Protecting human rights – Your right to be heard in South Australia 8 December 2011 (A joint media release with other SA statutory authorities)   PDFRTF
“Your Right to be Heard” brochurePDF
HCSCC 2010-11 Annual Report: Complaints up, rights on the move!  10 November 2011   PDFRTF
HCSCC Charter of Health and Community Services Rights 27 June 2011   PDFRTF
Helping Braille readers speak up in SA 29 May 2011PDFRTF
HCSCC doing critical valued work & facts sheets 3 March 2011
Fact Sheet   PDFRTF
Media Release   PDFRTF
Disability complaints up 1 Feb 2011PDFRTF