Make a complaint to HDC

If you are unhappy about a health or disability service you have received, it is best to talk to, or write directly to, the person who provided the service, or the organisation in charge of the service. Very often they will welcome your complaint, as it helps them to improve their standard of service or uncover a problem.

If you feel uncomfortable doing this, or you would like guidance, you can request the support of an independent Health and Disability Advocate, who is trained to help people in your situation. This service is free of charge.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can complain to HDC about a health or disability service. This includes the person who received the care, a family member or friend of the person who received the care, or a health or disability service provider or other concerned person.

If you intend to complain on behalf of someone else, you should speak to that person first. Unless you are authorised to receive that person's personal health information, we may be limited in the information we can disclose to you at the end of our process.

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Who can be complained about?

You can complain to HDC about any organisation or person in New Zealand who has provided a health or disability service. This includes public and private services, paid and unpaid services, hospitals and rest homes, and individuals such as nurses, doctors, dentists, pharmacists, chiropractors, naturopaths, and caregivers.

How can I submit a complaint to HDC?

There are a number of ways of submitting a complaint. You can use an online complaint form (see boxes above), you can post, fax, email or call us. You can also use the New Zealand Relay Service.

What will happen when HDC receives my complaint?

Senior members of the Commissioner’s staff will review your complaint carefully, and the Commissioner will decide the best way of dealing with it. There are a number of options available to the Commissioner, including referring a complaint to the provider or another agency. The Commissioner may also decide to seek further information from you or the providers involved in your care, or from an expert advisor, before making a decision. 

Why should I complain?

Making a complaint may help to prevent a similar thing happening to someone else, and may lead to an overall improved service.