Update: Victorian Health Complaints legislation
The Victorian Health Complaints Act 2016 came into full effect on 1 February 2017.
The Victorian Act has caused contentious debate within natural medicine, particularly in Victoria, as it extends a comprehensive complaints procedure to any newly defined “General Health service”. This definition is deliberately broad enough to cast a wide net, and is stated to be intentionally designed to cover all previously “unregistered health practitioners”. Whilst the legislation is not designed to target Natural Medicine as such, there would appear to be little doubt that the intent of the legislation is to cover Natural Medicine across all modalities, with the complaints jurisdiction and procedures to cover Natural Medicine services provided.
As the Act now applies to all practitioners providing services in Victoria, all members who are covered should ensure a practical understanding as it will apply to your services. ATMS has been given permission by Russell Kennedy Lawyers to reproduce their client Health Alert for ATMS members.
The Russell Kennedy Health Alert provides a good background to the new law as it now applies in Victoria, and can be found here.
For all members, this new Victorian legislation is part of the ongoing implementation by Health Ministers in each state and territory of the 2015 National Code of Conduct for health care workers. The National Code of Conduct for health care workers was agreed at the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council. The implementation of the National Code has to be made by legislation in each state and territory.
With the commencement of the Victorian legislation, substantial changes have now been made to the complaints procedures for health care workers in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.