Q. I’m a GP and see hundreds of patients each month. Does that mean there’s a high risk someone will complain about me?
A. NSW has almost 8000 GPs, yet only 8 per cent of GPs attracted a complaint in 2016/17. Given that GPs have thousands of clinical encounters each year, the risk of a complaint arising from any single patient consultation is very low.
Q. What happens to most complaints?
A. All complaints are assessed jointly by the Health Care Complaints Commission and the Medical Council. Most complaints are discontinued at the initial assessment because there is no substantive concern within the complaint, or it is determined that the matter is best resolved via conciliation or referred elsewhere.
The most serious complaints will be investigated by the Commission, with the possibility of a prosecution within the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
Many of the complaints referred to the Council will result in no further action if we are satisfied the medical practitioner acknowledges the issue and is taking steps to change or improve their practice. Sometimes, we may direct the doctor to do something, such as improving their medical record keeping or patient consent forms.
Where possible, remaining complaints will be managed by the Council through our supportive health and performance programs.