Making a Complaint Directly to the Service Provider

Have you, or someone you care for, had a problem with a health or community service in South Australia? For example, perhaps you were refused service, the service was not to the standard you had expected, the service was not provided quickly enough, your needs were not understood, or you were not treated respectfully by the service provider. If any of these things happened to you, you may be thinking about making a complaint. You are in the right place!

What to Do First

The first place to start is with the service provider (the place who provided you with the health or community service). It is usually quicker to try to get an answer or an explanation directly from them first. Your service provider should have their own process for resolving complaints. If you are not sure how to start this conversation, have a read of our tips.
Before you speak with the service provider, have a think about what the service provider can do to solve your issue. Would you prefer them to reconsider a decision, provide the service again, or complete a service which has already begun? It may be that you just want an apology, or want to be sure that the service provider has heard and understands your concerns.

About the Incident

Be as specific as possible. If you can, write down the date and time of the incident, where it happened, the names of the people involved, and any other relevant details. It is best to set a positive tone for the conversation by being as calm and clear as possible. At the end of the discussion, as the provider for a date when you can expect a response and make sure they have your current telephone number, e-mail address, or mailing address.
There is a good chance that this conversation will correct any misunderstandings and lead to a solution. But what if talking it over doesn’t work? Occasionally, these issues aren’t easily solved one-on-one and a third party can help move things along. That’s where we come in.

Health & Community Services Complaints Commissioner (SA)

If the provider does not respond, or you are not happy with the response you do receive, you can lodge a formal complaint with us. To begin this process, fill in the online complaint form here. Or you can print it, then send the completed form to us by fax, email or post. Need help understanding or completing the form? Call us on 8226 8666.
If you would prefer someone else, such as a family member, to make a complaint on your behalf, then complete the authority form. This allows us to discuss information about your complaint with them.
At any time, you can contact us to ask about your complaint or change the person you have nominated as your contact person. You may also withdraw your complaint at any time, however please note that occasionally we may continue to investigate a situation in general if we believe that public safety or well-being warrants it. All information exchanged during the complaint resolution process is confidential and we will not release it to anyone except you and anyone you nominate.

What We Will Do When You Make A Complaint

When we receive your complaint, we will look at it to assess the next steps. We may ask for more information, investigate it ourselves, or refer it to another complaints agency. In some cases we may refer your complaint for conciliation – an alternative dispute resolution process. The parties to a dispute use a conciliator, who meets with the parties separately in an attempt to resolve their differences. If your complaint involves a registered health professional such as a doctor or dentist, we will need to consult with the relevant registration authority.
Whatever happens, we will contact you within three working days of receiving your complaint and we will inform you, in writing, of the outcome as soon as we can.

Complaints about registered health professionals

Is your complaint about a nurse, doctor, medical technician, other health care professional, or student training for one of these professions? If so, special considerations may apply.
On behalf of 14 national health professional registration boards we, along with the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA), are jointly responsible for complaints about nationally registered health practitioners and students. A Memorandum of Understanding between AHPRA and the Health Complaint Entities sets out how we work with AHPRA to decide who will manage each complaint and how to report on the outcomes. We are bound by this agreement.

Unsure or need advice?

Call us between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday on 8226 8666. We will do our very best to help resolve your issues.