Our processes and procedures
We consult with the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) to decide which organisation will manage each complaint. Serious complaints may be investigated by the HCCC. Complaints referred to the Council are managed through the health, performance or conduct pathways. The aim of these pathways is not to punish, but to enhance a practitioner's ability to perform their work.
Depending on the pathway, we may:
- collect information from relevant parties, in writing or via an interview
- require the health practitioner to attend a health and/or performance assessment
- hold a panel or committee meeting to decide whether or not we need to restrict the health practitioner's practice to protect the safety of the public
- direct the health practitioner to attend counselling about professional standards
- the health practitioner's individual circumstances, the complaint, their response to the complaint, and any other relevant information (including information requested from other parties and previous complaints)
- if the incident was serious, or is likely to occur again
- if the health practitioner has reflected and can demonstrate an understanding of why your practice or behaviour may have fallen short of acceptable standards
- the impact of their health on their practice
- if they have taken any action to ensure that a similar complaint does not occur again
The outcome of these assessments will determine the ongoing management of the complaint. Possible outcomes include:
- no further action
- education about specific aspects of practice
- conditions placed on a practitioner's registration
- prescribed treatment for a health condition
- a requirement to have ongoing testing for drug or alcohol use
- suspension of a practitioner's registration while a complaint is further investigated
We will advise Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency of these decisions so it can update the national register of health practitioners. We will monitor a practitioner's ongoing compliance with any orders or conditions on their registration.
The complainant will be kept informed at key points of the process.
Committees and panels
We appoint panel and hearing members to a number of committees and panels which assist the Council’s work. They may include:
- Health, performance and conduct committees: These committees meet monthly to make decisions about individual practitioners being managed within the health, performance and conduct streams.
- Impaired Registrant Panels: Assess whether a practitioner's health problem affects their ability to practice.
- Performance Review Panels: Review a practitioner's performance.
Staff employed by the Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) handles the Council’s day-to-day work. This includes coordinating and supporting hearings by the Council and its committees and panels, as well as monitoring practitioners who have conditions placed on their registration.
How we engage with our partners
We work with different partners and stakeholders in NSW and across Australia to protect the public by regulating registered health practitioners.
Together we manage complaints about the professional conduct, performance or health of practitioners in NSW. Some of the partners and stakeholders we work with include:
- the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC). We consult with the HCCC about complaints relating to pharmacists and students working or studying in NSW. The HCCC can independently investigate serious complaints involving unsatisfactory professional conduct, which can be prosecuted before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
- the Health Professional Councils Authority, an administrative agency of the Ministry of Health, which provides administrative support to all 14 health professional councils in NSW.
- the Health Practitioner Boards of Australia, supported by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), which manage the registration process for health practitioners. We collaborate with the Board in relation to professional standards.
How we engage with the community
Engaging with the community is important to us. Our website enables the public to make complaints or provide us with feedback.
We also engage with the community, and particular groups such as health practitioner students through public presentations about our work. For more information about this service, contact us.
Feedback about our work
We aim to improve public safety and wellbeing through fair, efficient and consistent regulation of health practitioners in NSW. If you have any concerns about the way we do our work, you can make a complaint, provide feedback or make an inquiry about our policies, procedures or processes.
We are always looking for ways to improve the quality of our work and welcome your feedback.
People providing feedback have rights and responsibilities, including:
- providing feedback that is reasonable, lawful and appropriate
- to be treated with courtesy and respect
- to be provided with adequate information in a timely manner.