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Health service providers

What can be complained about?

Complaints can be made about any health service provided at any place, by any health service provider, including both registered and unregistered health practitioners.

Health services

A health service is any service that is, or claims to be, for maintaining, improving, restoring or managing a person’s health and wellbeing. A health service can be provided anywhere, including a hospital, GP clinic, residential care facility, community health facility or someone’s home.

Health services also include, but are not limited to:

  • support services for the types of services mentioned above
  • public health programs and activities, including those dealing with:
    • ­prevention and control of disease and sickness
    • prevention of injury
    • ­protection and promotion of health
  • services providing alternative or complementary medicine
  • any service prescribed under national regulation to be a health service.

Health service providers

A health service provider can be an individual health practitioner or a health service organisation.

Health practitioners

The Office of the Health Ombudsman can deal with complaints about both registered and unregistered health practitioners.

Registered health practitioners are registered under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (National Law) and are aligned with one of the 14 national health practitioner boards:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board of Australia
  • Chinese Medicine Board of Australia
  • Chiropractic Board of Australia
  • Dental Board of Australia
  • Medical Board of Australia
  • Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia
  • Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia
  • Occupational Therapy Board of Australia
  • Optometry Board of Australia
  • Osteopathy Board of Australia
  • Pharmacy Board of Australia
  • Physiotherapy Board of Australia
  • Podiatry Board of Australia
  • Psychology Board of Australia

Unregistered health practitioners are any other individuals providing a health service, which can include: nutritionists, masseuses, naturopaths, homeopaths, dieticians, acupuncturists, social workers and speech pathologists.


Health service organisations

The Office of the Health Ombudsman can deal with complaints about any public or private organisation or entity, providing a health service. This includes health services aligned with both registered and unregistered practitioners, for example a hospital and massage parlour are both health service organisations.

Other examples of health service organisations include:

  • a corporation providing a health service at a private health facility under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999
  • a Hospital and Health Service established under the Hospital and Health Boards Act 2011, section 17
  • an ambulance service
  • a medical, dental, pharmaceutical or physiotherapy practice.