Enhancing the rights-based approach to health care complaints in NSW: Alternative formats available on request to PIAC - Contact PIAC
PIAC submits that the most pressing issue regarding the NSW health complaints system is the proposed changes to that system if a system of national registration of health professionals is introduced. PIAC submits that the role of the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) would be greatly reduced if the model canvassed in the recent discussion paper on a national health complaints regime were introduced. PIAC calls on the Joint Parliamentary Committee to take an active stand in defending existing rights of health consumers in NSW. PIAC advocates that there should be an independent body that assess, investigates and prosecutes complaints about health professionals as part of a national scheme of registration of health professionals or that the existing NSW health complaints regime should be retained as part of a national system, including all the existing functions of the HCCC.PIAC also submits that there are several areas where the functions, structures and procedures of the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) could be strengthened to the benefit of health consumers. The first would be to implement the suggestion made by The Hon Deirdre O’Connor in her Review of the Medical Practice Amendment Bill 2008 , that is, to give the HCCC power to initiate its own complaints. The second would be to strengthen the assessment and investigative powers from a consumer perspective by mandating the provision of written reasons to all parties for all critical decisions made by the HCCC in the complaints process. PIAC also suggests that internal review processes under the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 be codified introducing a more arms-length merits-review process.Third, PIAC submits that the effectiveness of the NSW health care complaints system could be enhanced by express reference being made to the National Charter of Healthcare Rights in the Health Care Complaints Act 1993.