www.mhcc.vic.gov.au

Complaints about public mental health services can improve their practices, policies, procedures, infrastructure and more.

In terms of the the 4As of complaint resolution, in 2019-20, for example, over 90 per cent of complaints to the MHCC that were in-scope for resolution resulted in an acknowledgment, action and answers for the person making the complaint. A lower proportion resulted in an apology.

Service and system improvements

The MHCC has broad functions under the Mental Health Act 2014 to:

  • identify and review quality, safety and other issues arising out of complaints
  • provide advice and make recommendations for service and system improvements, which services are expected to follow

In certain circumstances, the MHCC can request formal legal ‘undertakings’ from Victorian public mental health services to take specific actions and issue compliance notices if they do not. We also make recommendations about systemic issues to the Department of Health, Chief Psychiatrist and other bodies including Safer Care Victoria.

More detail on service and system improvements can be found in the MHCC’s annual reports.

Improvements as a result of people’s complaints have included changes to service practices, policies, procedures, and infrastructure. Examples include:

  • strengthening safeguards for the use of restrictive practices. These include identifying ways for services to prevent restrictive interventions from being used, ensuring services meet legal requirements, and improving support and debriefing for consumers when a restrictive intervention is used
  • changing practices to better support recovery. These include increasing access to services and different forms of support (including peer support and advocacy) as well as activities such as music therapy and exercise physiology
  • increasing consumers' understanding of their rights and better ensuring their privacy, dignity and autonomy in various ways
  • improving approaches to support peoples’ holistic needs including physical and medical needs and help for addiction issues
  • training service staff in areas such as trauma-informed care, family violence, Safewards interventions, sexual safety and suicide prevention
  • changes to policies and practices, such as improving training for staff in working with families, carers and nominated persons.

Complaints by numbers (1)

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Complaints by numbers (1)

How many complaints and enquiries were made from 2014-2020?

  • 2014-15: 999 complaints, 457 enquiries
  • 2015-16: 1389 complaints, 340 enquiries
  • 2016-17: 1638 complaints, 118 enquiries
  • 2017-18: 1976 complaints, 170 enquiries
  • 2018-19: 1976 complaints, 219 enquiries
  • 2019-20: 2221 complaints, 148 enquiries

Who made complaints between 2014-2020?

  • 2014-15: 1041 consumers, 340 families/carers, 75 other
  • 2015-16: 1176 consumers, 450 families/carers, 104 other
  • 2016-17: 1229 consumers, 421 families/carers, 105 other
  • 2017-18: 1579 consumers, 440 families/carers, 106 other
  • 2018-19: 1577 consumers, 500 families/carers, 118 other
  • 2019-20: 1728 consumers, 490 families/carers, 151 other
Download Complaints by numbers (1)

Complaints by numbers (2)

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Complaints by numbers (2)

How were complaints resolved from 2014-2020?

  • 2014-15: 55% fully or substantially resolved, 35% partially resolved, 10% not resolved
  • 2015-16: 49% fully or substantially resolved, 33% partially resolved, 18% not resolved
  • 2016-17: 50% fully or substantially resolved, 25% partially resolved, 25% not resolved
  • 2017-18: 55% fully or substantially resolved, 29% partially resolved, 16% not resolved
  • 2018-19: 35% fully or substantially resolved, 47% partially resolved, 18% not resolved
  • 2019-20: 26% fully or substantially resolved, 56% partially resolved, 18% not resolved

Note: In 2019-20, the large percentage reduction in fully or substantially resolved complaints, and large percentage increase in partially resolved complaints, can be attributed to improved MHCC guidelines about how and when to close complaints.

What were the outcomes of the complaints from 2014-2020?

  • 2014-15: 62% actions, 26% answers, 35% acknowledgements, 16% apologies
  • 2015-16: 81% actions, 51% answers, 17% acknowledgements, 8% apologies
  • 2016-17: 88% actions, 42% answers, 39% acknowledgements, 12% apologies
  • 2017-18: 92% actions, 78% answers, 61% acknowledgements, 31% apologies
  • 2018-19: 63% actions, 71% answers, 82% acknowledgements, 28% apologies
  • 2019-20: 98% actions, 93% answers, 99% acknowledgements, 22% apologies

Note: The large percentage increase in action, answer and acknowledgement outcomes can be largely attributed to improved recording of outcomes by the MHCC

Download Complaints by numbers (2)

Reviewed 14 April 2021

Mental Health Complaints Commissioner (MHCC)