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Inquiry Details

Review of the 1998 report into unregistered health practitioners: the adequacy and appropriateness of current mechanisms for resolving complaints

The Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission is reviewing the 1998 report that it produced entitled "Unregistered Health Practitioners: The Adequacy and Appropriateness of Current Mechanisms for Resolving Complaints" in light of recent developments in other jurisdictions. The following recommendations were made in the 1998 report:

1. That the Health Care Complaints Commission take a greater role in educating consumers about the Commission’s ability to investigate complaints about unregistered health practitioners through the production and dissemination of pamphlets and other information.

2. That the Department of Health and the Colleges support this initiative by encouraging the dissemination of such information through hospitals and Area Health Services.

3. That the Minister for Health consider providing the Health Care Complaints Commission with legislative power to refer matters which concern possible breaches of the Minister’s Acts to the Director General of Health.

4. That the Health Care Complaints Act be amended to create a power which allows the Health Care Complaints Commission to require health professional associations to establish uniform complaints handling and disciplinary mechanisms and grants the Commission power to monitor the functioning of these.

5. That the Minister for Health examine the feasibility of establishing umbrella legislation to cover unregistered health care practitioners which establishes a generic form of registration, generic complaint and disciplinary mechanisms, a uniform code of conduct, entry criteria agreed amongst the relevant professions and an Advisory Board to the Minister.

6. That the Minister for Health consider providing the Health Care Complaints Commission with a naming power similar to the one available to the Department of Fair Trading by s86A of the Fair Trading Act 1987.

7. That the Minister for Health consider either establishing or nominating a body with the power to issue court-enforceable orders to allow health consumers to obtain refunds through the Small Claims Tribunal from unregistered practitioners in circumstances where this body deems it appropriate after receiving recommendations from the HCCC.

The Committee established the review on 30 November 2005.

Resolution passed 30 November 2005, Minutes No 29.

The Committee on the Health Care Complaints Commission is currently reviewing its December 1998 Report, “Unregistered Health Practitioners: The Adequacy and Appropriateness of Current Mechanisms for Resolving Complaints”, in light of recent developments in other jurisdictions. The Terms of Reference for the previous inquiry were:

That the Committee examine the experience of consumers in dealing with unregistered health practitioners (including those practising in alternative health care fields) with a view to establishing:

(a) what complaint mechanisms exist for consumers;

(b) whether these complaint mechanisms are effective;

(c) whether there is scope for strengthening voluntary codes of behaviour or conduct;

(d) whether the provisions in the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 relating to unregistered health practitioners are appropriate or whether they need strengthening;

(e) any other related matters.


 


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