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Before you make a complaint

Making a complaint can be a difficult thing to do, especially if you're not sure of the best way to be heard. The following information may help you work out the best solution.

If you are unhappy with the quality of a practitioners service or conduct, it may be helpful to first raise your concerns directly with the person concerned or with the organisation.

Making a complaint to the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC)

If you are unhappy with the quality of the service provided to you and have been unable to resolve the matter directly with the practitioner concerned or the organisation you can lodge a complaint with the Health and Disability Commissioner (HDC) in writing.

The HDC will then investigate the complaint to determine whether any breach or breaches of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumer Rights have occurred.  

You can make an online complaint here (http://www.hdc.org.nz/complaints/making-a-complaint)

Making a complaint to the Medical Sciences Council 

You can make a complaint to the Council about a registered health practitioner at any time. If the complaint indicates that a health consumer has been affected, the Council must refer the complaint to the HDC for first consideration.  The HDC may or may not proceed to investigate the complaint and refer it back to the Council to determine if there has been a breach by the practitioner in respect of their professional or legal responsibilities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act).

When a complaint is referred to the Council by the HDC, they will act promptly to decide what action should be taken. The Council’s primary responsibility when responding to a complaint is the protection of the health and safety of the public.

Please note that if you wish to proceed with a complaint the Council require the name of the health practitioner and a written outline of the nature of your concerns. As part of the Council’s processes and in accordance with natural justice any information received in respect of a practitioner would need to be disclosed to them for their right of response.

How the Council deals with complaints

Concerns and complaints about health practitioners fall into one of three categories:

  • Competence – is the practitioner competent to practise?
  • Conduct – is the practitioner’s conduct appropriate?
  • Health – is the practitioner with a physical or mental health issue fit to practise?

Public safety is the Council’s absolute priority in all cases. Please note the Council does not have any powers to award damages, costs or to impose a punitive measure.

Anonymous complaints

The Council cannot act on an anonymous complaint. The Act and the principles of natural justice require that the complainant participates in the process.