Mental health service complaints

This section includes details about:

How to make a complaint and links to an online complaints form

What information is required when lodging a complaint

Who can make a complaint

What can be complained about

Time limitations

View the HaDSCO Brochure (PDF 279KB) and Helpful tips: raising a complaint information sheet (PDF 398KB).

How to make a complaint

In order to raise a complaint, first read the information on this page. Information supplied here outlines who/what can be complained about and when. Once familiarised with this information, either:

Completing a complaint form

Complaints must be lodged in writing, unless there is a good reason why this is not possible. It is recommended, where possible to utilise the HaDSCO complaints form as it provides an easy to follow format.

Complete a form online

Download a complaint form (PDF)

It is important to note that an assessment of information provided cannot commence until a complaint form is completed and submitted to HaDSCO or a written complaint is received with signed authorisation statements.

Each section of the complaint form requires specific information that is important to the resolution of the complaint. Please ensure forms lodged to HaDSCO are completed in full. This will ensure our staff are equipped with all the information required.

For help completing the form, contact HaDSCO.

HaDSCO, by law, is required to consult with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) when complaints relate to a registered health professional. This will determine which agency is the most appropriate to deal with the complaint.

Preparing a written complaint

If a complaint form cannot be completed, please submit a complaint in writing. Ensure the following information is provided.

  • The name and date of birth of the person who received the service and contact details
  • The name, date of birth and contact details of the person making the complaint if different from above
  • If relevant the relationship between the person who received the service and the person who is lodging the complaint (the person lodging the complaint cannot be paid to make the complaint)
  • The name and contact details of the person or organisation who provided the service
  • The date the service was provided
  • Details of any attempt that has already been made to try and resolve the complaint
  • Details of the complaint
  • The desired outcomes and what is hoped to be achieved by making the complaint
  • Information collected for de-identified statistical use as set out on the complaint form

Ensure any complaint submitted to HaDSCO includes the following authorisation statement. This statement must be signed and dated.

‘I, _______________________________________, authorise the Director of the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) to access information relating to this complaint, discuss this complaint with a relevant organisation and to send a copy of my complaint to the service provider and/or any other relevant organisation.’

Signature: _______________________________________ Date:                /          /

Who can make a complaint

A complaint may be lodged by:

  • The person who received the service
  • A relative, representative or carer
  • A representative of a person who has died
  • A provider, on behalf of the person who received the service from another provider
  • A carer, about a failure to comply with the Carers Charter as set out in the Carers Recognition Act 2004

What can be complained about

Complaints can be made against any individuals or organisations that provide, or claim to provide, a mental health service. These may include:

  • Allied health professionals
  • Community mental health services
  • Mental health nurses
  • Non-governmental organisations that are publicly funded
  • Private hospitals
  • Private psychiatric hostels
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychologists
  • Public hospitals

Complaints may include allegations that a service provider has acted unreasonably by:

  • Refusing to provide a service
  • The manner a service was provided
  • Providing a service
  • Denying or restricting the user’s access to records
  • Breaching confidentiality
  • Charging an excessive fee
  • Not effectively dealing with a complaint

Time limitations

Complaints must be made within 24 months of the date of the service being received or provided. The Director has discretion to accept a complaint outside of this timeframe if there is a good reason for the delay, for example, if you only become aware of the problem that led to the complaint after the 24 month period has expired.

HaDSCO is generally unable to assist with complaints that have already been determined by a court, registration board or tribunal.

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