RISA is a big fan of the wonderful work of our medical professionals and we are aware of how much more difficult the lives of our babies and kids would be without their ongoing efforts. Further, we’re also aware that paediatric gastroenterology is a relatively young profession and that knowledge of it throughout the rest of the medical profession is not as thorough as other areas. That is improving and RISA is doing its best to contribute to that education effort. We hear lots of stories of parents involvement with the medical system – both exceptionally good and sometimes not so good.
We would encourage you to keep records and to sleep on it before lodging your complaint. The most effective complaints are made in the spirit of constructive criticism rather than in the heat of the moment. So minimize emotive language, stick to the facts of the case and try to be as fair as possible in your understanding of how things should have worked.
On this page we’ve listed information you need to know about how to complain about poor treatment. Complaint systems exist in all of our hospitals and medical systems across Australia to allow you to complain about poor treatment. We’re sure you won’t treat them lightly.
Complaint systems exist for a reason. They alert hospitals and medical systems to systemic failures and allow medical professionals to reflect on their treatment in a particular set of circumstances. It may not change what has happened to you, but it may change the treatment of the person after you.
The challenges facing reflux parents are serious and deserve to be treated seriously.
Health care professionals are only human and, by its nature, their work is often stressful and difficult. Further, their workplaces can be busy and resources stretched. Sometimes, with all the best intentions in the world, things are overlooked. But neither the health systems or the people who work in them can fix what is wrong, unless they know it is happening. So your constructive criticism can be invaluable.
Remember too to compliment staff where you find them to be good. And do it formally if you have the energy. Part of being parents who are engaged in the health of our children and the health system is also praising the good as well as alerting people to the bad. There are plenty of excellent people in the health system doing a wonderful job for our kids and holding them up for praise can be as powerful as criticising the failings of some.
The usual process is that your complaint be lodged with the individual hospital first. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, lodge next with the area health service. If not satisfied with that outcome, you may then lodge with the Health Department in your state and / or its independent oversight body usually called a “Health Care Complains Commission” or equivalent.
Each hospital has complaints handling procedures. Some of them are listed below. Each health system across Australia also has complaints procedures.
Complaints procedures provided by health systems:
ACT – Health Services Commissioner
NSW Health Care Complaints Commission
NT – Health and Community Services Complaints Commission
Qld – Qld Health Dept – Compliments and Complaints
Qld – Health Quality and Complaints Commission
SA – Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner
Victoria – Office of the Health Services Commissioner Queensland – Health Quality and Complaints Commission
Victoria – Department of Health
WA – Health and Disability Services Complaints Office
WA – Department of Health Tas – Health Complaints Commissioner
Complaints procedures offered by individual hospitals districts (and some hospitals) by state (Childrens’ Hospitals Listed separately). Where contact details only are listed, we would suggest using the format of a different area health service to guide the structure of your complaint and submit it to your area health service.
There are now 15 Local Health Districts in NSW – 8 in Sydney and 7 in rural and regional NSW. In addition, there are 3 Child Health Networks covering the same area. Contact details or complaints access for each are listed below.
Central Coast Local Health District – contact information only
Far West Local Health District
Hunter New England Local Health District
Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District
Mid North Coast Local Health District
Murrumbidgee Local Health District
Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District – contact information only
Northern NSW Local Health District
Northern Sydney Local Health District
South Eastern Sydney Local Health District South
Western Sydney Local Health District – contact information only
Southern NSW Local Health District
Sydney Local Health District
Western NSW Local Health District
Western Sydney Local Health District
Child Health Districts – NSW
Greater Eastern & Southern Child Health Network including:
Sydney Childrens Hospital Randwick; and
Sydney Childrens Hospital Westmead
Northern Child Health Network
Western Child Health Network
Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service
Cape York Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
Central West Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service
Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service
Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service
Mackay Hospital and Health Service
Metro North Hospital and Health Service
– The Prince Charles Hospital
– Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
– Redcliffe Hospital
Metro South Hospital and Health Service
North West Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
South West Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service
Torres Strait-Northern Peninsula Hospital and Health Service – contact details only
Townsville Hospital and Health Service
West Moreton Hospital and Health Service
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service
North Metropolitan Health Service
Princess Margaret Hospital for Children
South Metropolitan Health Service
WA Country Health Service
Royal Perth Hospital
Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital
Feedback for all health services – Dept of Health