Aged, Health and Disability

Consumer rights & complaints and advocacy services

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Australian Charter of HealthCare Rights

The Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights describes the rights of patients, consumers and other people using the Australian healthcare system. These rights, endorsed by the Victorian State Government, are essential to make sure that, wherever and whenever health care is provided, it is of high quality and is safe. If you are a consumer – either a patient, carer or family member, then this healthcare rights summary brochure is for you.

For more information visit Australian Charter of HealthCare Rights website. This page has lots of information for consumers including the healthcare rights brochures in audio format and also twenty five languages other than English. This site also has lots of information for staff in the health services sector.

Web link  http://www.health.vic.gov.au/patientcharter/charter.htm
Call  03 9096 0000
Email  patient.charter@health.vic.gov.au

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Consumer Affairs Victoria is part of the Victorian Government’s Department of Justice, their purpose is to assist people be responsible and informed businesses and consumers. The Consumer Affairs Victoria website has lots of advice and assistance relating to renting and accommodation, estate agents, building, avoiding scams, managing debt, shopping and trading and also advice for being in a disaster.

They also have extensive information for consumers with a disability. This includes problems affecting consumers with a disability; how to protect your rights if you have a disability; how consumers affairs can assist; and links to easy English factsheets on key consumer matters.

Web link  https://www.chf.org.au/
Call  02 6273 5444
Email  info@chf.org.au

Consumer Health Forum

The Consumer Health Forum (CHF) is the peak organisation providing leadership in representing the interests of Australian healthcare consumers. They work to achieve safe, good quality, timely healthcare for all Australians, supported by the best health information and systems the country can afford by:

  1. advocating for appropriate and equitable healthcare
  2. undertaking consumer-based research and developing a strong consumer knowledge base
  3. identifying key issues in safety and quality of health services for consumers
  4. raising the health literacy of consumers, health professionals and stakeholders
  5. providing a strong national voice for health consumers and supporting consumer participation in health policy and program decision making

They have lots of information on their website including how to get involved as a consumer representative in local health care committees.

They also operate the Our Health website. This site assists people find health information that will assist with their healthcare and opportunities for people to 'have a say' about their healthcare experience and the way they would like it to change. This site has a very useful listing of national consumer and community organisations that offer services such as information, support and opportunities to get involved.

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres

Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres are information centres for older people, people with disabilities and those who provide care and services. They provide free and confidential information on community aged care, disability and other support services available locally, interstate or anywhere within Australia. Staff will discuss your situation with you, and give you information about the local services available or those you may benefit from.

There are 54 Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres with approximately 65 'walk-in' shopfronts throughout Australia. You can call 1800 052 222 from anywhere in Australia, to get details for your closest Centre or receive assistance over the phone. Or visit the Carelink website.

Web link  http://www.commcarelink.health.gov.au
Call  1800 052 222
Email  commcarelink@health.gov.au

Department of Human Services, Victorian Government

The Department of Human Services plans, funds and delivers community and housing services in line with the government’s vision for making Victoria a stronger, more caring and innovative state. Their website is comprehensive with information split into four main areas: for individuals; for service providers; for business and communities; and about the Department. Key links are

  • http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/disability
  • http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/carers
  • http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/for-individuals/your-rights

Or contact them by phone on 1300 650 172; from a mobile or interstate call (03) 9096 000. For TTY users (03) 13 3677 then ask for 1300 650 172. For speak and listen users 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 650 172.

Web link  http://www.dhs.vic.gov.au/
Call  (03) 9096 000. For TTY users (03) 13 3677 then ask for 1300 650 172. For speak and listen users 1300 555 727 then ask for 1300 650 172
Email  disability.services@dhs.vic.gov.au

Disability Services Commissioner

The Disability Services Commissioner is an independent statutory body that provides a free and confidential service. They can respond to complaints about Victorian disability services including disability services provided by the Department of Human Services.

If you have a complaint that is not about a Victorian disability service they will refer you to an equivalent organisation servicing other areas of Australia. Every disability service must have a way for people who use their service to complain about things they are not happy about. You can ask your service what their complaint process is and they should respond if you raise issues with them.

If you find it hard to complain to your service provider or if you cannot resolve your complaint with them, then the Disability Services Commissioner can provide assistance.

The Disability Services Commissioner website has information on how to make a complaint about a disability service provider; how the Commission can assist; and useful links and details for related matters. Or call 1800 677 342 or TTY is 1300 726 563.

Web link  http://www.odsc.vic.gov.au/
Call  1800 677 342 or TTY is 1300 726 563
Email  complaints@odsc.vic.gov.au

The National Disability Abuse and Neglect Hotline

This Hotline is a telephone service for reporting cases of neglect and abuse of disabled members of the community. Cases of abuse and neglect can include physical, sexual, psychological, legal and civil abuse, restraint and restrictive practices, or financial abuse. It can also include the withholding of care and support which exposes an individual to harm.

Anyone can call the Hotline to report cases of abuse or neglect or to find out more about the service. Visit the Hotline website for more information or call 1800 880 052 or TTY is 1800 301130.

Web link  http://www.disabilityhotline.org
Call  1800 880 052 or TTY is 1800 301130, NRS: 1800 555 677
Email  hotline@workfocus.com

Office of the Aged Care Commissioner

The Aged Care Commissioner’s primary role is to examine complaints against the:

  • Aged Care Complaints Scheme
  • Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency

The Aged Care Commissioner's website has information that assists people who have queries or concerns about the operations of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) or the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency Ltd (the Agency). They aim to deal with matters in an impartial, fair and effective way and their services are free. People with complaints about the operations of the Scheme or the Agency can contact the Aged Care Commissioner on 1800 500 294 or use the online complaints section on their website.

Web link  http://www.agedcarecommissioner.net.au
Call  1800 500 294; TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 1800 500 294, Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 1800 500 294
Email  info@agedcarecommissioner.net.au

Office of the Health Services Commissioner

The Health Services Commissioner:

  • Provides a free and confidential service
  • Helps people make their concerns known to health services providers.
  • Protects your right of access to your health information.
  • Conciliates formally or informally, between consumers and providers of services.
  • Assists in the resolution of complaints.
  • Uses information obtained and lessons learned to recommend improvements to services.

The Health Services Commissioner website contains lots of information for patients and health services staff.

Web link  http://www.health.vic.gov.au/hsc/
Call  03 8601 5200; TTY 1300 550 275
Email  hsc@health.vic.gov.au

Office of the Public Advocate

The Office of the Public Advocate represents the interests of Victorian people with disabilities. They aim to promote the rights and dignity of people with disabilities, and to strengthen their position in society.

The Office of the Public Advocate website has information on activities, programs and services. Or call 1300 309 337 (24 hour emergency service provided) or TTY is 1300 305 612.

Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with a Disability - VALID

VALID aims to empower people with intellectual disability to:

  • Exercise their human rights and citizenship status within their local communities.
  • Inform and influence the policies and practices of disability service agencies, governments and other authorities.
  • Have control and influence over the decisions and choices which affect their lives.

The VALID website has details for the Having a Say Conference; training & workshops; self advocacy; and a complete list of all disability statewide and regional based advocacy services in Victoria.

Web link  http://www.valid.org.au
Call  03 9416 4003
Email  office@valid.org.au

Victorian Disability Advisory Council

The principal purpose of the Disability Advisory Council is to provide advice to the Victorian Minister for Community Services on issues concerning people with disabilities in order to assist the Victorian Government achieve its stated policy objectives as detailed in the Victorian State Disability Plan 2002-2012.

For more information visit the Victorian Disability Advisory Council's website.