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Health service providers

Referring a complaint

Referring a complaint to another entity

After assessing a complaint, the Office of the Health Ombudsman may make the decision to refer the complaint to another agency. When referring a complaint we will consult with the other agency and provide them with all relevant information.

We can refer complaints about a health practitioner to a relevant Queensland Government department, to the police or the Crime and Corruption Commission, to another state government or the Commonwealth Government. Complaints about registered health practitioners can be referred to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), for it and/or the relevant national board to resolve.

Serious complaints, such as those involving professional misconduct or that form grounds for the suspension or cancellation of a practitioners registration, will not be referred and will only be dealt with by the Office of the Health Ombudsman.

Referring a complaint to the Director of Proceedings

The Director of Proceedings is a statutory position within the Office of the Health Ombudsman, responsible for independently assessing complaints and other matters from a legal standpoint and deciding whether to take them before the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT).

The Health Ombudsman can refer a complaint to the Director of Proceedings. Generally, this is for serious complaints that may require legal review or referral to the QCAT.

After reviewing a matter, the Director of Proceedings will decide to either refer the matter to QCAT or refer the matter back to the Health Ombudsman for further action.

Referring to QCAT

If referring a matter to QCAT, the Director of Proceedings is guided by:

  • the fundamental principle of the Health Ombudsman Act 2013—that the health and safety of the public are paramount
  • the seriousness of the matter
  • the likelihood of proving the matter before QCAT
  • any orders that QCAT make.

The Director of Proceedings may consult with a relevant national board, if the complaint is about a registered practitioner.

Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009, the Health Ombudsman must refer certain matters directly to QCAT. The Director of Proceedings must refer any such matters immediately.

Referring to the Health Ombudsman

When referring a matter back to the Health Ombudsman, the Director of Proceedings may recommend a particular course of action, such as gathering further evidence or conducting further investigations.

Once a matter is referred back to the Health Ombudsman, the health service provider and complainant (if there is one) will be advised of the decision and anything more that is required of them.