Citizens Committee on Human Rights

The Mental Health Watchdog

Australian National Office

Where to Lodge Complaints About Psychiatrists, Psychiatric Hospitals and Other Mental Health Workers

Where to lodge psychiatric complaints.This page was created as a resource to assist with the locating of the correct authority in each state of Australia concerning where to lodge complaints regarding psychiatric abuse and side effects from psychiatric drugs. It includes where to lodge complaints to the applicable licensing board for psychiatrists.

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Some complaints agencies have time limits and will not accept complaints after a certain time. Some have discretion if there is a good reason for delay. If you are unsure if this applies to your situation or not after viewing the agency’s website, contact them directly.

You can also contact your local Member of Parliament or both the Health and Shadow Health Minister in your state to request assistance with rectifying a complaint. You can also ask them to take action to stop further psychiatric abuse in their state by asking them to call for/conduct investigations and either amend laws or put in new laws that protect people from psychiatric abuse.

If your life or the life of another person is under threat, please dial 000 emergency immediately.

Freedom of Information envelope.At the bottom of this page is information on how to obtain copies of medical records and information held by government under the Freedom of Information Act.

CCHR provides a list of legal organisations on this website as a service to make obtaining legal representation easier.

You could also talk to your lawyer if required about the possibility of what actions could be taken to assist in preventing future psychiatric treatment through the use of a Living Will, Power of Attorney, Medical Guardianship (some states of Australia have Advance Health Directives or similar). State governments will also have information on this area.

Australian Capital Territory

Australian Capital Territory - Parliament House.If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, wards or services: Can be made directly to ACT Health. http://www.health.act.gov.au Private facility complaints can be made to the Health Services Commissioner who can also address complaints about the provision of health services, particularly if your approaches directly to the service provider have not resolved your complaint. A complaint to the Commission must be submitted in writing for the Commissioner to act on it. http://hrc.act.gov.au

ACT Official Visitor Scheme: Official Visitors assist people being treated under the Mental Health (Treatment and Care) Act. They visit psychiatric wards and institutions, talk to entitled persons, inspect records, report on the standard of facilities and report to the operational Minister of government and other public authorities. https://www.ptg.act.gov.au/resources/visitor-scheme

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

New South Wales

Sydney Harbour bridge at dusk with fiery sky in background.

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the NSW Health Professionals Councils Authority by phoning 1300 197 177 or via their website. When they receive a complaint both the Council and the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission do a preliminary assessment and the complaint may be managed by either organisation. http://www.hpca.nsw.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Can be lodged with the NSW Health Care Complaints Commission. http://www.hccc.nsw.gov.au/Complaints/How-To-Make-a-Complaint

NSW Official Visitor Program: Official Visitors make monthly visits to inpatient psychiatric wards and institutions across NSW, talk to patient being treated under the NSW Mental Health Act, inspect records and registers, and report on the standard of facilities and services. http://www.ovmh.nsw.gov.au

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Northern Territory

Parliament House of Northern Territory Australia

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Organisations to lodge complaints to include the following: If you are not satisfied with the outcome of a complaint made directly to a service provider or do not want to contact the service provider you can lodge a complaint with the Health and Community Services Complaints Commission. They also accept complaints about all kinds of practitioners. http://www.hcscc.nt.gov.au/complaints/making-a-complaint/what-you-can-complain-about/ NT Department of Health. http://www.health.nt.gov.au/Hospitals/Royal_Darwin_Hospital/Complaints_and_Compliments/index.aspx

NT Community Visitor Program: Was set up for people being treated under the Mental Health and Related Services Act. They visit psychiatric wards and institutions, have power to inspect facilities without notice, can view documents and records and can work to resolve complaints with the person and the facility. https://cvp.nt.gov.au

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Queensland

Brisbane, Queensland Australia.

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Should be lodged with the Office of the Health Ombudsman. http://www.oho.qld.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Lodge a complaint with the Office of the Health Ombudsman. For private facilities, complain directly to them and then if not resolved to the Office of the Health Ombudsman. A complaint can also be made directly to a public facility and if not resolved ask them to refer you to the Hospital and Health Service (HHS) complaints coordinator who reviews complaints for facilities in their area, then to the Office of the Health Ombudsman if not resolved. http://www.oho.qld.gov.au

Qld Community Visitors: Can visit authorised psychiatric wards and institutions without notice. The have legal power to access all areas of the site, require staff to answer questions, look at and copy documents and talk to staff. They can make inquiries and lodge complaints as well as refer complaints to external agencies. http://www.publicguardian.qld.gov.au/adult-guardian/adult-community-visitors

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

South Australia

Adelaide, South Australia

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Complaints can be made directly to the service provider and then to the Health and Community Services Complaints Commissioner (HCSCC) or directly to the HCSCC telling them why a complaint was not made directly to the service provider. http://www.hcscc.sa.gov.au/online-complaint-form/

SA Community Visitor Scheme: Community Visitors regularly visit and inspect acute psychiatric institutions and can visit by request, can refer concerns to relevant people and agencies and assist with resolution of complaints. https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/citizens-and-your-rights/feedback-and-complaints/community-visitor-scheme

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Tasmania

Mt Wellington Hobart, Tasmania

If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Lodge complaints to the Health Complaints Commissioner Tasmania. They will not usually accept complaints if more than 2 years ago. http://www.healthcomplaints.tas.gov.au/home

Tas Official Visitor Program: Official Visitors visit psychiatric facilities at least once a month, receive complaints and report contraventions of the Mental Health Act 2013. http://officialvisitors.tas.gov.au/mental_health_official_visitors_program/our_role

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Victoria

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.If you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au. Office of the Health Services Commissioner. http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/patient/complaint.htm

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Complain to the Office of the Health Services Commissioner. http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/patient/complaint.htm

Victoria Community Visitors: Are empowered by law to visit psychiatric wards and institutions without notice, inspect documents and practices. http://www.publicadvocate.vic.gov.au/our-services/community-visitors

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Western Australia

Perth, Western AustraliaIf you have information or suspect a crime is being, or has been committed please contact your local police department.

Complaints about psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, psychologists: Can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency who are responsible for the registration of all doctors, nurses, psychologists and other professions. https://www.ahpra.gov.au. Complaints can also be made about individuals to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO). Complaints to HaDSCO must be made within 24 months. Some discretion exists if there is a good reason for the delay.

Complaints about psychiatric hospitals, psychiatric wards or services: Are made to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO). Complaints to HaDSCO must be made within 24 months. Some discretion exists if there is a good reason for the delay.

WA Mental Health Advocacy Service: Advocates have powers under the Mental Health Act, to advocate for people in psychiatric wards and institutions and other facilities. They can look at medical records with the persons permission. https://mhas.wa.gov.au

Report side effects of psychiatric drugs: If you have experienced side effects from psychiatric drugs they can be reported to Australia’s drug regulatory agency, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Anyone can do this by phone, mail or on-line: https://www.tga.gov.au/reporting-problems

Freedom of Information Acts – Obtaining Medical Records and Government Information

Freedom of information act government documents unsealed envelope.All states of Australia have Acts of law which allow for patients to obtain their medical records as well as for the public to obtain information from government agencies. Medical records can greatly assist with lodgement of complaints and legal actions.

The name of the law, what can be obtained and from where does vary from state to state and federally. Below are links that provide information for each state on this law and how to make a freedom of information request. The hospital or agency where it is known/thought the records are can also be contacted directly and asked for assistance to make the request.