Consumer feedback

Consumer feedback is welcomed in the WA health system. Encouraging consumers to provide feedback about their health care experience offers a source of valuable information to hospitals and health service organisations. In the WA health system certain types of feedback are captured within the Datix Consumer Feedback Module (CFM), the enterprise system used for complaint management in the WA public health system. There are three kinds of feedback that are recorded within Datix CFM:

  • Complaints, which are an expression of dissatisfaction by, or on behalf of, an individual consumer or carer regarding an aspect of service where a response or resolution is explicitly or implicitly expected or legally required. The Complaints Management Policy outlines the requirements for the collection, recording, reporting and management of consumer complaints in the WA health system. Aggregate information about complaints received is also reported to the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) (external site) on an annual basis by each Health Service Provider.
  • Contacts and concerns, which are an enquiry or feedback from a consumer or carer regarding an aspect of a service that is inquisitorial in nature rather than an expression of dissatisfaction, or the consumer or states they do not wish to lodge a complaint, or the issue is minor and can be resolved immediately without going through the complaints process.
  • Compliments, which are an expression of satisfaction or gratitude made by, or on behalf of, a consumer or carer regarding an aspect of a service.

Other avenues of consumer feedback in the WA health system include Care Opinion (external site) and surveys based on the Australian Hospital Patient Experience Question Set (external site) delivered by Health Service Providers.

Complaint management

This information refers to consumer complaints relating to the provision of health care. It is not related to health care staff complaints. Staff with a complaint should proceed through the relevant grievance process.

Who can make a complaint?

Complaints about provision of health care (or lack of it) can be made by anyone. Health care consumers, their family, carers and visitors can make a complaint about the health system. For more information visit HealthyWA (external site).

When can a complaint be made?

A complaint can be made at any time after the problem has occurred.

What is complaints management?

Effective complaints management is an important strategy to ensure that services in need of improvement are identified.

Consumer feedback assists health services to make changes so that patients do not experience the same problems again or similar problems do not occur with other patients.

As part of their safety and quality obligation, the Department of Health and health services are required to:

  • manage complaints in a timely and appropriate manner
  • review their complaint data
  • identify systemic and recurring problems
  • develop strategies to improve clinical practice and the delivery of health care services across the organisation.

Policy and resources for complaints management

Complaints Management Policy pack:

Complaints management resources:

External resources

Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO)

The Health and Disability Services Complaints Office (HaDSCO) provides an impartial complaint resolution service for complaints relating to the WA health system. HaDSCO generally do not deal with matters that are more than 2 years old. Consumers are encouraged to raise their concerns with the site first with HaDSCO becoming involved where a resolution is not able to be achieved or the consumer remains dissatisfied with the resolution achieved.

Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

Concerns about individual registered health practitioners can be made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) (external site).

Advocacy services

The Health Consumer’s Council (external site) provides support and advocacy services for consumers in the WA public health system, including in the complaint management process.

The Mental Health Advocacy Service (external site) provides support to certain consumers of mental health services in the WA health system, including in the complaint management process.

Complaints involving children and young people

National Principle 6 of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations requires that processes to respond to complaints and concerns are child focused. The Commissioner for Children and Young People WA has developed resources (external site) to assist health services deliver child friendly complaint processes.

More information

Patient Safety and Surveillance Unit

Last reviewed: 04-07-2023
Produced by

Patient Safety Surveillance Unit