Chapters

Functions

A major function of the Office of the Health Complaints Commissioner (OHCC) is to receive, assess and resolve complaints about health services in Tasmania. A second function is to identify and review issues which arise out of health complaints and to suggest ways of improving health services and of improving and increasing health rights. Examples of the two are billing, as complaints about health services, and endemic issues, such as poor management structure or procedural guidelines is the latter. The OHCC can provide advice to a practice or hospital about procedural or policy issues, but it cannot enforce their recommendations. Similarly, while the OHCC can investigate an issue, it cannot force conciliation or a remedy. 

The Commissioner may investigate, at his or her own instigation, any health issue of importance within a specific or general health area where this is considered to be in the public interest.

The Tasmanian Office of the Health Complaints Commissioner (OHCC) operates under the Health Complaints Act 1995. It is important to know that the Health Complaints Commissioner does not act as an advocate for the user or the provider — the Commissioner’s role is that of independent investigator.

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Tasmania) Act 2010

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Tasmania) Act 2010 incorporates the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act 2009 (Qld) into Tasmanian law. It provides for the registration and administration of a range of medical fields under one piece of legislation.

The Health Practitioners Tribunal Act 2010 provides for the Health Practitioners Tribunal to hear and decide matters arising in relation to Tasmanian professionals who are registered under one or more of the ten national registration boards.

The Tasmanian Charter of Health Rights and Responsibilities

The Charter is intended to be used as a guideline to help balance the rights and responsibilities of users and providers of health services and to strengthen the relationship between them. This is likely to benefit the health outcomes of all who use health services. An Australian Charter was endorsed by Australian Health Ministers in July 2008, which may mean that the State Charter will become irrelevant. However, the State Charter in Tasmania continues to be of relevance at present as it is far more comprehensive than the Australian Charter.

The State Charter covers:

  • active participation in health care;
  • individualised service that is free from discrimination;
  • confidentiality, privacy and security;
  • access to complaints mechanisms;
  • carers;
  • contribution of health service providers.

Electronic copies of both the Australian and Tasmanian Charters are available from the Health Complaints website.

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