Aged Care Complaints Scheme

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme) provides a free service for anyone to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services subsidised by the Australian Government, including:

  • residential care
  • Home Care Packages
  • HACC services.

Page last updated: 28 March 2014

Do you have a concern or want to make a complaint?

Most Australian aged care providers do their best to provide quality care and services for older Australians. However, issues can occur so it is important to have a way for people to raise their concerns in a constructive and safe way.

If you have a concern about the care you or someone else is receiving, it is important that you talk about it. Complaints can help providers improve the services and quality of care they provide to you or your loved one. Resolving one complaint can help other people too.

On this page:

Raising your concern with the service provider

We encourage you to raise your concern with the service provider first, if you feel comfortable to do so. Resolution at this level can deliver a faster and more sustainable outcome. You can arrange to have an advocate with you to support you at meetings with the aged care provider. Advocacy services are free, confidential and independent. Visit the Frequently Asked Questions page on the Scheme website for more information about Advocacy.
Top of page

Lodging a complaint with the Aged Care Complaints Scheme

If you don’t want to discuss your concern with the service provider or you are unable to resolve your complaint with them, you can contact the Aged Care Complaints Scheme (the Scheme).

Contacting the Aged Care Complaints Scheme:
Phone 1800 550 552 (a free call from fixed lines; calls from mobiles may be charged)
Online lodge a complaint using the online complaint form.

Visit the Raise a concern page on the Scheme’s website to find out your options for lodging a complaint. If you need assistance in contacting the Scheme, the free Translating and Interpreting Service can assist. If you are hearing impaired, you can contact the National Relay Service, also a free service.

Go to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme website for more information.

What can you complain about?

We provide a free service for people to raise their concerns about the quality of care or services being delivered to people receiving aged care services that are subsidised by the Australian Government. This includes quality of care, choice of activities, personal care, catering, communication and the physical environment.

We can refer complaints we are unable to examine to other organisations. If you lodge a complaint with us and we can’t help you, we will tell you why and who you can contact.

Who can make a complaint?

Anyone can make a complaint, including:
  • care recipients
  • their representatives
  • family members
  • friends
  • legal representatives
  • aged care staff
  • volunteers
  • health professionals.

What types of services are covered by the Scheme?

We examine complaints about the following Australian Government subsidised aged care services:
  • residential care
  • Commonwealth funded HACC
  • Home Care Packages.
If you are unsure about whether a service is included in the list above, you can ask the service provider or contact the Scheme. Our contact details can be found on the Raise a concern page page on our website.

What happens after you lodge a complaint?

When you lodge a complaint with us, we will explain the process, your options and what can be achieved through those options. You may be asked to clarify your issues, provide more information and discuss your expectations.

Please provide as much information as you can when you lodge your complaint. This helps us to understand all the issues and determine the most appropriate way to resolve your concern.

The Complaints Principles 2011 made under the Aged Care Act 1997 contain detailed procedures regarding the operation of the scheme.

Follow this link to the scheme's Privacy Statement.
Top of page

Asking for a review of a Scheme decision or process

If you are not satisfied with the Scheme’s decision or how the Scheme handled your complaint, you can request a review. A request for review can only be lodged after a complaint process has been finalised and must be done within 28 days of receiving our decision letter. Your request must state the reasons why you are asking us to review the decision.

You can request a review by contacting the Scheme by telephone or in writing.

Independent review of Scheme decisions

If you are not satisfied with the outcome of the Scheme’s review, and your complaint relates to a Commonwealth HACC service, you may refer the matter to the Commonwealth Ombudsman.

If your complaint relates to any other type of Australian Government subsidised service, you may ask the Aged Care Commissioner (the Commissioner) to conduct an independent review. Your request must be made within 28 days of receiving our decision letter and you must state the reasons why you are seeking a review by the Commissioner.

For more information about review rights, refer to the article on the Scheme website.

Contacting the Aged Care Commissioner (for a review of a Scheme decision):
Phone 1800 500 294 (a free call from fixed lines; calls from mobiles may be charged)
Website www.agedcarecommissioner.net.au
Fax (03) 9665 8026
Email info@agedcarecommissioner.net.au

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

For answers to frequently asked questions about the Scheme go to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme website.

Contacting an advocacy service

You may want to talk to someone independently about your concerns and options. Or, you may feel uncomfortable speaking to the service provider on your own. If so, advocacy may be able to help you.

An advocate can:
  • provide you with information about your rights and responsibilities
  • help you resolve your problem with the service provider, including speaking for you if you want them to
  • listen to your concerns about the complaints process.
Advocacy services are free, confidential and independent. Services are available in each state and territory.

You can call Aged Care Advocacy directly on 1800 700 600 or with your permission we can phone an advocacy service on your behalf to explain your concerns and arrange for the service to contact you. To learn more about what advocacy is and what advocacy agencies do,visit the advocacy section of the Aged Care Complaints Scheme website.

Reforms to the Aged Care Complaints Scheme

The Australian Government has improved the Scheme’s capacity to respond to complaints about Australian Government subsidised aged care services.

Reforms to the Scheme included:
  • expanding the range of resolution options
  • encouraging local resolution, where possible
  • early risk assessment of complaints
  • improved communication,
  • improved internal procedures, and
  • the addition of Commonwealth HACC to the types of services we can examine complaints about.
Reforms are being delivered through to 2013–14.

From 1 August 2013, amendments to the Complaints Principles 2011 have strengthened the role of the Aged Care Commissioner. The Commissioner is now able to direct the Scheme to undertake a new resolution process, taking into account the Commissioner’s views.

HACC services

Since 1 July 2012, the Commonwealth has funded HACC services in all states and territories, except Western Australia and Victoria. This covers people aged 65 and over and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples aged 50 and over.

Where the Commonwealth is funding HACC, and someone is unable to resolve their concern with the HACC service provider, they can contact the Scheme. The process for resolving HACC complaints will draw on the Scheme’s current approach, which includes greater collaboration and more options for resolving complaints.

Latest information about the Scheme

The Aged Care Complaints Scheme website is your best source for up to date information about the Scheme.

Through this website, we aim to:
  • provide easy to understand information about the complaints process
  • address topics of interest for care recipients, families, representatives, service providers and staff.
The website is also an important channel for us to hear from you about what we can do to improve our service and the information we provide.

Order printed products and view reports

We offer a number of printed and online resources for care recipients, families and friends, representatives, service providers and staff. You can view and order resources online.

You can also view the latest Report on the Operation of the Aged Care Act 1997 (ROACA) online.

Top of page