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Complaints Involving The Hunter New England Local Health District

Complaints involving the Hunter New England Local Health District

We read with interest the article by journalist Gabriel Wingate-Pearse in the Newcastle Herald on 6 January 2016 regarding complaints involving the Hunter New England Local Health District (HNELHD).

In the article she points out that the “Hunter’s public hospitals remain the most whinged about in NSW”. Certainly, many of our clients come to us regarding issues that have arisen during the course of their treatment in the HNELHD.

All of the hospitals within HNELHD have an obligation to deal with adverse incidents that occur and are also subject to the New South Wales Health Open Disclosure Policy, which guides hospitals through the process of apologising for “patient safety incidents” and addressing patient concerns.

However, the open disclosure process is not always satisfactory for patients and many feel that their complaints have not been adequately dealt with, hence they take the further step of complaining to the Health Care Complaint Commission (HCCC) – see related article here.

Whilst the open disclosure, internal complaints and/or HCCC processes are very helpful for many patients, they do not always fulfil patients’ expectations where there has been substandard treatment or adverse occurrences. Furthermore, these avenues do not entail any form of compensation for the harmed patient.”

It is at this point that clients will often come to our firm seeking further advice as to their options, possibly for a claim in medical negligence. If you feel that this is an avenue you may wish to explore, please feel free to telephone our office on 4929 3995 or email us at

By Belinda Epstein

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