2019-20 Mental Health Complaints Commissioner annual report released

Thursday 7 January 2021 1:01am

1 year: 2221 complaints...

The MHCC’s annual report for 2019-20 has just been tabled in the Victorian parliament. Our report and a summary document are available in the publications section of our website. 

In 2019–20 more people contacted the MHCC to raise concerns or queries about their experiences than in any previous year. We received 2,221 new complaints, an increase of approximately eight per cent from 2018–19.

Throughout this challenging year, the MHCC continued to work constructively with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), mental health services, and people making complaints to ensure people’s rights were upheld and mental health principles applied particularly throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions.

Of the new complaints we received:

  • 1,558 complaints were about people’s experiences in Victorian public mental health services (called ‘in-scope complaints’)
  • the most commonly raised issue was treatment, including where people disagreed with compulsory assessment or treatment and where people felt their views and preferences weren’t heard
  • the next most commonly raised issues were communication, conduct and behaviour (often about staff manner), and medication
  • complaints about the impact of COVID-19 included concerns about managing risks of infection, changes to access and service delivery, and restrictions both on visitors to and leave from inpatient units
  • 82% of complaints had positive outcomes and actions for consumers, families and carers, either through being fully or partially resolved by the MHCC or through the MHCC assisting in directly resolving complaints with services.

The complaints and investigations resulted in:

  • 148 service improvements as outcomes of complaints
  • 121 recommendations to mental health service providers
  • 4 formal undertakings from services to take specific actions in response to complaints
  • 3 systemic recommendations to the Chief Psychiatrist, DHHS or Safer Care Victoria

767 in-scope complaints were reported by public mental health services between July and December 2019. We deferred our requests to services for January – June complaints data to avoid additional pressures on services while they were responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2019–20 our education and engagement activities continued to focus on ensuring that the MHCC is accessible, inclusive and safe for all Victorians. Actions included:

  • 4684 people reached through direct engagement activities
  • 80 stakeholder meetings and events attended
  • 34 direct education and engagement activities
  • 27 contributions to sector consultations, projects, submissions and formal feedback
  • 19 sector events attended
  • 6 memberships of advisory and reference groups

We also completed our Driven by Lived Experience Framework and Strategy which sets out our approach and commitment to being driven by lived experience, and the actions we will take over the next three years to continue to strengthen our approach.

The MHCC will continue to work with consumers, families and services and the Department to support rights-based, recovery-oriented and trauma-informed practices to be truly embedded in service provision.

If you have any questions or feedback about the MHCC’s 2019–20 annual report or summary, please contact us.

Reviewed 28 June 2021

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