Health records complaints
If you believe someone has inappropriately handled your health records, such as by inappropriately collecting your health information or disclosing your health information, or you have not been granted access to your health records, you can make an official complaint to the Health Complaints Commissioner. The Health Complaints Commissioner will try to resolve your complaint through conciliation.
If the Health Complaints Commissioner cannot resolve the complaint you can ask them to refer the matter to VCAT.
The Health Complaints Commissioner can refer some complaints to VCAT under this Act. The complaints which can be referred include complaints about acts which amount to an interference with an individual’s privacy such as:
- complaints about obligations about access to health information
- about breaches of principles which apply to the handling of health information.
VCAT can also deal with complaints about a failure to provide access to health information.
Before you apply
You cannot make an application directly to VCAT. You must first contact the Health Complaints Commissioner about your complaint. If the Commissioner is unable to resolve the matter, they may then refer the case to VCAT.
Need help with your application?
VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:
Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?
You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT. If you wish to be represented by a lawyer or a professional advocate, usually you must ask for VCAT's permission.
Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.
Access and privacy
VCAT hearings and files are usually public.
VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.
Legislation that applies to this type of case
Cases VCAT can hear
VCAT can hear complaints referred by the Health Complaints Commissioner under the Health Records Act 2001.
When we know that all parties have received a copy of the referral we schedule a directions hearing, where a VCAT member sets out a timetable for what will happen leading up to the final hearing. All parties must attend the directions hearing. They can attend in person or may have a lawyer or other representative appear on their behalf. Learn more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.
It is your responsibility to attend the hearing. Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time. When your case is called, move into the hearing room. Usually the applicant (known in these cases as the ‘complainant’) gets a chance to state their case and call witnesses first. Learn about what happens on final hearing day.