The MHCC’s annual report and its summary for 2018-19 are available in publications. This article is an update on the MHCC’s complaints work since the beginning of the new financial year: July-November 2018-19.
The MHCC’s Resolutions team supports people to speak up about their experiences with public mental health services and to make a complaint directly to the service or to our office. The team works with service providers and people who use mental health services, along with their carers and families, to safeguard consumers’ rights under the Mental Health Act 2014, ensure its principles and the Victorian Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities 2006 are upheld and make recommendations for service improvements.
In July-November 2019, the MHCC received 91 enquiries and 970 complaints (1,061 in total) and closed 703 in-scope complaints (those about a Victorian public mental health service)
Of the 1,061 enquiries and complaints, consumers made 777 (73 per cent), family members/carers made 261 (20 per cent), others (including service provider staff, friends/associates and advocacy/legal representatives) made 43 (four per cent) and the source of 25 (two per cent) was unknown. This is consistent with who made complaints in 2018-19
Of the 970 complaints received from July-November, 693 were in-scope (about 138 in-scope complaints received each month), an increased monthly number of complaints compared to 1,508 in-scope complaints received in 2018-19 year (about 126 each month)
Of the 693 in-scope complaints, 666 (96 per cent) were about a designated mental health service, 22 (three per cent) were about a mental health community support service and for five (one per cent) the service type was unknown.
Complaints raised with the MHCC often involve more than one issue. The figure below shows the percentage of all in-scope complaints received in July-November 2019 in which at least one of the following issues was raised:
Of all in-scope complaints in July-November 2019:
- Complaints about treatment most commonly related to inadequate consideration of the views and preferences of consumers, both compulsorily and voluntarily treated (17 per cent), disagreement with treatment orders (10 per cent) and lack of care/attention (eight per cent)
Complaints about communication most commonly related to inadequate/incomplete/confusing information (nine per cent) and inadequate communication with family members/carers (six per cent).
Complaints about conduct and behaviour most commonly related to rudeness/lack of respect/discourtesy (seven per cent) and lack of empathy/compassion (five per cent). There continues to be smaller, but very concerning, proportions of complaints about alleged threats, bullying, harassment, assault, discrimination or sexual safety violations by staff or other consumers.